Role of Universities on the Level of Regional Growth in Portugal

Role of Universities on the Level of Regional Growth in Portugal

Vitor Miguel Ribeiro (Universidade do Porto, Portugal), Celeste Varum (University of Aveiro, Portugal & GOVCOPP, Portugal) and Ana Dias Daniel (Departamento de Economia, Gestão, Eng.ª Industrial e Turismo, Universidade Aveiro, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0174-0.ch010
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Universities nowadays are considered key players in the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems and, thus, may impact regional development. This chapter analyzes the role of the university as a determinant of regional economic growth in Portuguese NUTS III regions, from 2004-2017. One-step and two-step system GMM estimation results show a statistically significant and positive impact of universities upon regional growth. Moreover, the magnitude of effects is transversely stronger in the long run, which requires the need to avoid structural breaks in public actions previously initiated in the past.
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Theoretical Background

There is a vast literature supporting the argument that universities have a relevant role in the dynamics of regional growth (Caffrey & Isaacs 1971; Elliot et al. 1988; Benneworth & Charles 2005; Arbo & Benneworth 2007; Benneworth & Hospers 2007; Goddard & Vallance 2011, 2013; Carayannis et al. 2018; Wakkee et al. 2019).

On the one hand, universities are large economic agents with a direct impact on local economic activities (Benneworth & Charles 2005; Benneworth & Hospers 2007). At the basic level, universities act as anchor institutions of local economies by ensuring employment across a wide range of occupations and consumption of goods and services (Elliot et al. 1988; Arbo & Benneworth 2007). Moreover, universities contribute to the cultural life and natural environment of the region where they belong to (Carayannis et al. 2018).

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