Universities, students and regional economies: a symbiotic relationship?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


This paper examines the heterogeneous effect of student spending in UK NUTS-2 regions. Impact analyses of the more than £45 billion students spend each year have so far been agnostic of the regional absorptive capacity to benefit from this expenditure. Building a multi-regional input–output model for the UK and combining it with data on student expenditure, domicile and level of study, the paper finds significant regional heterogeneity in gross value added and employment multipliers as well as in interregional spillovers. The analysis shows how important student expenditure is for regional economies and the symbiotic relationship between student spending and regional industrial structures that produce varying impact outcomes.

Bibliographic note

Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalRegional Studies
Early online date25 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Jun 2021


  • higher education institutions, impact multipliers, multi-regional input–output model, regional industrial structures, student expenditure, university impacts