Productivity, R&D Spillovers and Educational Attainment


  • The authors thank Antonio Alvarez, Chiara Criscuolo, Lisa De Propris, Jonathan Haskel, Pramila Krishan, Helen Simpson, Rachel Griffith, Mary O'Mahony, Sergio Perelman, Fernando Galindo-Rueda for useful comments. However, the usual disclaimer applies. Financial support from BIS and the Leverhulme Trust is gratefully acknowledged. This work contains statistical data from ONS which is Crown copyright and reproduced with the permission of the controller of HMSO and Queen's Printer for Scotland. The use of the ONS statistical data in this work does not imply the endorsement of the ONS in relation to the interpretation or analysis of the statistical data. This work uses research data sets which may not exactly reproduce National Statistics aggregates.


Economists have long agreed that the local availability of a more qualified workforce generates significant spillovers. This study suggests that these externalities may arise because plants by having access to a more qualified workforce at a regional level, can benefit more from R&D spillovers than those located in areas with less qualified workforce. This hypothesis is tested on a sample of British establishments drawn from the Annual Business Inquiry over the period 1997–2002. The main results are consistent with our expectations that the regional differences in the industry-level educational attainment of the workforce available to a plant will condition its capability of absorbing R&D spillovers.