The Social Returns to Higher Education, R&D and Innovation

Editor: Colm Harmon, University College Dublin


The private returns to education, including higher education, have been well researched both in terms of the theory and empirics. The social rate of return, on the other hand, is less well described. This is particularly true for research that underpins the drive for investment in R&D and tertiary education that has become prevalent in policy circles over the last decade, as phrases such as 'knowledge society' and 'technology transfer' become embedded in policy debates. While research by pioneers such as Griliches has outlined reasons why the investment in R&D might be suboptimal without Government assistance, the causal relationship between research investment, and higher education investment generally, has not been well proven. This special issue of the journal encourages papers that examine the core relationship between higher education, research investment (public and private), and the real economy focusing on such issues, inter alia, as: the relationship between employment and R&D investment that underpins the so-called 'high skills' strategies of many Governments; the relationship between investment in postgraduate education and training and the labour market (including skills mismatch, overeducation, skills-led productivity change); the relationship between government and private sector R&D investment (does one encourage the other, or does one 'crowd out' the other).

Please notice: O2 will award a prize of 5,000 euros for an article in the field of health, education, and welfare. The prize is to be awarded in summer 2011. Articles published in the special issue will be considered for the prize.

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