Universiteten och kompetenslandskapet : Effekter av den högre utbildningens tillväxt och regionala spridning i Sverige
Sammanfattning: Important goals in Swedish higher education policy, from the late 1960s all through the 1990s, have been to increase the accessibility to higher education and to increase the supply of newly educated labour in all parts of the country. These goals are based on the assumption that geographical distance matters. Geographical distance to universities is thought to act as a barrier to university entrance. Apart from the pure distance-based geographical bias in student enrolment, it is also often maintained that geographical distance contributes to the social and age biases. It is frequently also assumed that geographical distance persuades graduates to stay in their respective study regions after graduation, thus increasing the level of education in the region. These assumptions imply that a geographical decentralization of the higher education system is desirable from a regional policy perspective. The objective of this study is to assess what influence the location and scope of education institutions exert on the regional recruitment of students to higher education, on the choice of institution and educational programme and on the regional supply of highly educated labour. An overall aim of the study is to discuss whether the expansion of higher education during the 1980s and 1990s did affect the regional recruitment to higher studies and the supply of highly educated labour at a regional level. The study is based partly on regionally aggregated statistics, partly on data on university entrants and graduates at an individual level. The study shows that the accessibility to higher education is of significant importance in explaining regional recruitment patterns. In regions where the accessibility is high a greater share of the population entering higher education. Furthermore the increase in recruitment density over time is larger in regions where the relative accessibility to higher education increased more. The study provides but weak empirical support for the assumption that geographical distance constitutes a greater barrier for those from non-academic homes. A general conclusion is that the differences between social groups are small, smaller than e.g. the differences between age groups. Rather it is more likely that in each social group, there are individuals on the margins when it comes to grades and educational ambitions, and for which geographical distance may present a greater barrier. The location and scope of universities is also proven to be of importance in explaining the regional distribution of highly educated labour.
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