Picture of two heads

Open Access research that challenges the mind...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

Discover more...

The importance of graduates to the Scottish economy : a “micro to macro" approach

Hermannsson, Kristinn and McGregor, Peter and Swales, John and Lecca, Patrizio and Lisenkova, Katerina (2010) The importance of graduates to the Scottish economy : a “micro to macro" approach. Discussion paper. Strathclyde Discussion Papers in Economics.

[img] PDF
10_26.pdf - Preprint

Download (530kB)


There have been numerous attempts to assess the overall impact of Higher Education Institutions on regional economies in the UK and elsewhere. There are two disparate approaches focussing on: demand-side effects of HEIs, exerted through universities’ expenditures within the local economy; HEIs’ contribution to the “knowledge economy”. However, neither approach seeks to measure the impact on regional economies that HEIs exert through the enhanced productivity of their graduates. We address this lacuna and explore the system-wide impact of the graduates on the egional economy. An extensive and sophisticated literature suggests that graduates enjoy a significant wage premium, often interpreted as reflecting their greater productivity relative to non-graduates. If this is so there is a clear and direct supply-side impact of HEI activities on regional economies through the employment of their graduates. However, there is some dispute over the extent to which the graduate wage premium reflects innate abilities rather than the impact of higher education per se. We use an HEI-disaggregated computable general equilibrium model of Scotland to estimate the impact of the growing proportion of graduates in the Scottish labour force that is implied by the current participation rate and demographic change, taking the graduate wage premium in Scotland as an indicator of productivity enhancement. We conduct a range of sensitivity analyses to assess the robustness of our results. While the detailed results do, of course, vary with alternative assumptions about future graduate retention rates and the size of the graduate wage premium, for example, they do suggest that the long-term supply-side impacts of HEIs provide a significant boost to regional GDP. Furthermore, the results suggest that the supply-side impacts of HEIs are likely to be more important than the expenditure impacts that are the focus of most “impact” studies.