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The expenditure impacts of individual higher education institutions (HEIS) and their students on the Northern Irish economy : homogeneity or heterogeneity?

Hermannsson, Kristinn and Lisenkova, Katerina and McGregor, Peter and Swales, John (2011) The expenditure impacts of individual higher education institutions (HEIS) and their students on the Northern Irish economy : homogeneity or heterogeneity? Discussion paper. Strathclyde Discussion Papers in Economics.

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Abstract

This paper replicates the analysis of Scottish HEIs in Hermannsson et al (2010a) for the case of Northern Ireland in order to provide a self-contained analysis that is readily accessible by those whose primary concern is with the regional impacts of Northern-Irish HEIs. When we treat each of the four Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that existed in Northern Ireland in 2006 as separate sectors in conventional input-output analysis, their expenditure impacts per unit of final demand appear rather homogenous, with the apparent heterogeneity of their overall impacts being primarily driven by scale. However, a disaggregation of their income by source reveals considerable variation in their dependence upon funding from the devolved Assembly and their ability to draw in income/funding from external sources. Acknowledging the binding budget constraint of the Northern Ireland Assembly and deriving balanced expenditure multipliers reveals large differences in the netexpenditure impact of HEIs upon the Northern Irish economy, with the source of variation being the origin of income. Applying a novel treatment of student expenditure impacts, identifying the amount of exogenous spending per student, modifies the heterogeneity of the overall expenditure impacts. On balance this suggests that the impacts of impending budget cut-backs will be quite different by institution depending on their sensitivity to public funding. However, predicting the outcome of budget cutbacks at the margin is problematic for reasons that we identify.