Are universities good for our cities?

Do universities and polytechnics lead to better economic outcomes in their local city? Eyal Apatov and Arthur Grimes have just released their study which sees higher education institutions as a form of infrastructure – with the potential to improve local productivity and amenities, attracting people and jobs.


Eyal Apatov and Arthur Grimes, Higher education institutions and regional growth: The case of New Zealand, Motu, Wellington, 2016

Using a sample of 57 NZ Territorial Local Authorities between 1986 and 2013, the researchers found that Local Authorities with a greater share of equivalent full time students to working-age population experience faster population and employment growth. This is particularly true for universities, and holds even after controlling for a range of other factors that affect population and employment growth. The researchers consider higher education institutions as a form of infrastructure which has the potential of improving both the local level of productivity and the local stock of amenities, leading to an inflow of people and jobs.

See the full report and an executive summary on the Motu website

This research is part of the Resilient Urban Futures programme.