NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

What Does Global Expansion of Higher Education Mean for the US?

Richard B. Freeman

NBER Working Paper No. 14962
Issued in May 2009
NBER Program(s):   LS

This study documents the rapid spread of higher education around the world and the consequent reduced share of the US in the world's university students and graduates. It shows that the proportion of young persons who go to college has risen in many advanced countries to exceed that in the US while human capital leapfrogging in the huge populous developing countries has produced massive increases in their university educated work forces. One result of the expansion of higher education overseas is that the US has come to rely extensively on the immigration of highly educated persons to maintain a lead position in science and technology. International students make up roughly half of university graduate immigrants to the US, which makes policies toward those students a key determinant in the country's success in attracting immigrant talent.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14962

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