The University and the Economy
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The University and the Economy

Pathways to Growth and Economic Development

Aldo Geuna and Federica Rossi

This book provides readers with an in-depth understanding of the many ways in which universities contribute to economic development and growth. It demonstrates the causal interactions between universities’ activities and economic outcomes, and presents up-to-date quantitative and qualitative data in support. The authors present the theoretical tools and evidence to explain the manner and degree to which universities’ activities impact the economy, as well as analysing the comparative strengths and weaknesses of specific university systems.
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Chapter 3: Higher education and economic welfare

Mauro Sylos Labini


Economic history teaches us that, at least from the first half of the nineteenth century, with the advent of the modern university and the Humboldt model, scientific and technological progress of industrialized nations took place hand in hand with the development of university institutions committed to academic research and education. In recent decades, in the wake of the effect of the growth in investments in research and development (R & D), the diffusion of communications and information technologies as well as the inception of what is now known as the knowledge economy, it has also become almost commonplace for experts and policymakers to remind us in their speeches that university institutions are of fundamental importance to the wealth of nations and thus to the well-being of their citizens. Less easy, however, is identifying precisely the specific channels through which universities contribute to economic progress and whether the benefits impact upon society as a whole or only those who have gained university education.

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