Knowledge, Diversity and Performance in European Higher Education

Knowledge, Diversity and Performance in European Higher Education

A Changing Landscape

Edited by Andrea Bonaccorsi

For the first time, data on individual European higher education institutions (rather than data aggregated at the country level) is used in order to examine a wide range of issues that are both theoretically challenging and relevant from policy-making and societal perspectives. The contributors integrate statistics on universities and colleges with other sources of information such as patents, start-up firms and bibliometric data, and employ rigorous empirical methods to address a range of key questions, including: what is the role of non-university tertiary education, such as vocational training? How important is the private sector? Are European universities internationalized? Are they efficient from the point of view of costs and educational output? Are there pure research universities in Europe? How do universities contribute to economic growth?

Chapter 5: The internationalization of European higher education institutions

Marco Seeber and Benedetto Lepori

Subjects: business and management, management and universities, economics and finance, economics of education, economics of innovation, education, economics of education, management and universities, innovation and technology, economics of innovation


The notion that higher education has become more international, and should become even more, has been repeatedly affirmed in the recent debate. However, studies on this issue have been limited to analyses at aggregate country level or to case studies of small samples of higher education institutions. The EUMIDA project provides an opportunity to fill a gap in our knowledge of the internationalization phenomenon. By focusing on microdata it is possible to investigate which factors are associated with high and low levels of internationalization, at the country level but also at the level of individual institutions. Internationalization is a complex construct, which requires careful definition and can be measured through several indicators (Horn et al., 2007). Several studies, as well as public policies, have focused on temporary mobility. Instead, we focus on indicators of long-term mobility such as the share of foreign undergraduate students, PhDs and academic staff. These indicators reflect pivotal effects in academic activity; thus, any relevant process affecting their composition is also likely to affect institutional functioning. The chapter is organized as follows. In the first section we introduce the conceptual framework by describing the main rationales for internationalization and discussing several explanatory variables at country and institutional level. The empirical section describes the level of internationalization of European higher education institutions, while the conclusions discuss the main findings and the open issues for further research.

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