This paper looks at a little-explored role that universities can play: that of representing a channel for brain gain, enabling regions to attract bright students who may decide to stay after they have graduated. In this way, universities can be a source of selective migration processes and possibly of diverging development paths, by augmenting the capability of economically dynamic regions to attract bright people from the lagging regions. In this paper, we argue that student mobility behaviour is a function not only of the quality of universities, but also of local labour market conditions in the destination locations. The paper relies on a gravity model, and shows that graduate migrations respond to several determinants, among which graduate job vacancies (that is, the dynamism of the local labour market) appear to be essential.

With Ugo Fratesi, Camilla Lenzi and Marco Percoco, published in Spatial Economic Analysis.

While R&D activities are known for being unevenly distributed across space, how EU policy contributed to their regional dynamics is less explored. Since the 1980s, the EU Framework Programmes (FP) have promoted and supported transnational R&D projects through open and highly competitive calls for funding driven by ‘scientific excellence’ regardless of location. This paper aims to show the drivers of this spatial distribution and evolution of FP participations, arguing that this depends on cumulative effects of regional economic development and growth, while scientific specialization rarely is the best strategy to improve regional competitiveness in terms of FP participations.

With André Spithoven, published in Papers in Regional Science.

 

With André Spithoven, published in Environment and Planning A.