Learning to Grow? Connecting Higher Education and Economic Development
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Across the United States today, various groups of people are asking similar questions regarding the state of higher education policy. Policy makers at state capitals are questioning the value of higher education in their state, university administrators at campuses across the country are questioning how much it should cost, and families sitting at dinner tables are questioning whether the costs are worth it to them. As higher education policy has become an increasingly relevant debate in politics and our daily lives, it has become clear that many policy questions are worth investigating further. This research explores an important aspect of the national higher education debate by investigating the connection between higher education and economic development at the U.S. state level. Using panel data from 1992-2006 on all 50 U.S. states, this paper examines whether the conferral of different types of college degrees leads to economic development and growth in U.S. states. The results indicate that associates’ degrees have a positive and significant impact on GSP growth. In contrast, bachelors’ degrees have no effect on GSP growth and may exhibit diminishing marginal returns for state economies. Lastly, advanced degrees have a negative and significant impact on GSP growth.
Hutchinson, Annabelle (2015). Learning to Grow? Connecting Higher Education and Economic Development. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from