July 31, 2006

Higher education; time for coordination on a European level?

Beperkte rol Europa bij versterken hoger onderwijs

Press release
Onderwijsbeleid wordt voornamelijk op nationaal niveau bepaald. Er is weinig reden om dit naar Europees niveau te tillen. Een grotere markt is geen garantie voor hogere kwaliteit van het hoger onderwijs. Ook de effecten van internationale kennisoverdrachten door studenten lijken niet groot.

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This paper aims at answering the question if these arguments exist. We find no support for economies of scale, i.e. larger countries do not necessarily provide higher quality education; nor do larger schools. Empirical evidence for human capital externalities through student mobility is scarce. Concluding, we find little support for European coordination of higher education. However, there is evidence that student mobility is a precursor for labour migration.

Uniformizing the structure of higher education in the EU, and making educational programs more transparent, may therefore be defended from this perspective. Quality does matter for students, and student mobility is increasing. This may be beneficial to labour mobility.


Laura Thissen
Sjef Ederveen