Universities, students and regional economies: a symbiotic relationship?

Andre Carrascal Incera, Anastasios Kitsos, Diana Gutierrez Posada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The paper is part of the project ‘The West Midlands Regional Economic Development Institute (WM-REDI) @ The Exchange’ funded by the UKRI Research England Development (RED) Fund.


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


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