Universities as engines for regional growth? Using the synthetic control method to analyze the effects of research universities

Are research universities important for regional growth and development? We study the impact on the regional economy of granting research university status to two former university colleges in two different regions in Sweden. We analyze the development in the treated regions compared to a set of control regions that are created using the synthetic control method. We find small or no effects on the regional economy. Our findings cast doubt on the effectiveness of research universities in fostering regional growth and development. We contribute to the existing research by using a more credible identification strategy in assessing the effects of universities on the regional economy compared to what has usually been used in previous studies.
Parole chiave:


  • Carl Bonander
  • Niklas Jakobsson
  • Federico Podestà
  • Mikael Svenso


Publication number: Working Paper 2016-03
Date: 2/2016
JEL Classification: H52, H75, O18, R11
  • Higher education,
  • Local economy,
  • Regional development,
  • Research,
  • University
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