Handbook of Regional Growth and Development Theories
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Handbook of Regional Growth and Development Theories

Edited by Roberta Capello and Peter Nijkamp

Regional economics – an established discipline for several decades – has gone through a rapid pace of change in the past decade and several new perspectives have emerged. At the same time the methodology has shown surprising development. This volume brings together contributions looking at new pathways in regional economics, written by many well-known international scholars. The most advanced theories, measurement methods and policy issues in regional growth are given in-depth treatment.
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Chapter 8: Human Capital and Regional Development

Alessandra Faggian and Philip McCann


Alessandra Faggian and Philip McCann 8.1 Introduction Over the last two decades, the analysis of human capital has taken on a progressively more central role in discussions regarding the growth and success of nations and regions. This is primarily because advanced societies have increasingly evolved towards what has been called a ‘knowledge-based economy’ (OECD, 2006), whereby tertiary-level human capital is seen to be a crucial feature of economic growth. However, the links between human capital and national economic development may not necessarily be the same as those between human capital and regional economic development. The reason for this is that there are two quite distinct sets of human capital impacts on regions, the first of which mirrors the national impact, while the second differs markedly from the national impact. Firstly, as with national economies, the human capital in a region has an impact on the aggregate productivity in the economy, via the externalities associated with it. Secondly, and rather differently to national economies, human capital in a region can also result in a major spatial reallocation of factors. These two impacts do not always operate in the same direction, because the mechanism by which externalities spill over into a local region and the mechanisms which determine labour mobility are not necessarily congruent. In circumstances where these two impacts coincide, regions will flourish, whereas in situations where they do not coincide, regions will struggle. As we will see in this chapter, the impacts of human capital on regional development...

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