Regional human capital and university orientation: A case study on Spain

Mabel Sánchez-Barrioluengo, Davide Consoli
Science and Public Policy

This paper explores the relationship between regional human capital (HC) and the processes of knowledge creation and mobilisation due to higher education institutions. Although the nexus between these dimensions emerges frequently in both scholarly and policy discourses, to date no study has explicitly investigated how their connection works. Using occupations as a proxy for the skill content of jobs, we analyse individual (gender, schooling and age) and regional (university orientation) factors that influenced the HC employment structure in Spanish regions in the period 2003–2010. The main finding is that the teaching aspect of a university’s mission is a robust predictor of high-skill employment, while the impact of engagement (research and knowledge transfer) activities is more sensitive to the structural characteristics of the regional socio-economic context.