Erasmus Impact on Economy



By Gerry O Sullivan

Posted: 30 October, 2018

Erasmus+ is for sure one of the most successful EU programmes. It promotes international mobility, increases the sense of belonging to the European community and enhanced learning opportunities and valuable experiences abroad.

But can Erasmus+ also have a positive effect on the economy of a country? The answer is yes and the Austrian case clearly shows it. A recent study highlighted the effects that the EU programme had on the economy in 2014.

In fact, although the positive effects of Erasmus+ concern primarily the education field, they can also impact the economic situation. In 2014, Austria accounted for about 14,000 incomings from all over Europe. Most of them came from Germany; their preferred destination was Vienna. Though more than half of the incoming participants were students in higher education, Erasmus+ covers not only universities but also pupils, trainees as well as teaching staff in all fields of education.

The study’s results can be summarized as follows:

  • The incomings from all over Europe spent their grant from Erasmus+ (and more) during their stay in Austria. Their consumption amounted to 37.1 million Euros in 2014. Concerning spending behaviour, there is a difference between those who stay for a longer period and those whose visit ends after just a few days.
  • Besides these consumption effects, there are more aspects to consider that influence the economic calculations. Both incoming and outgoing participants have travel expenses of which 2.1 million Euros might apply to companies in Austria. Furthermore, about 5.7 million Euros have been paid to Austrian education facilities for the organisation of mobilities. Such aspects are included in the analysis.
  • There would be no incomings without outgoings: Participants who leave Austria for a certain period will not be available for domestic consumption. However, the economic balance is still positive in Austria as there were fewer outgoings than incomings in 2014. Furthermore, outgoings will still have certain expenses in Austria, even though they are abroad for a few weeks.
  • Altogether, Austria benefits considerably from its Erasmus+ incomings. The value added effect in 2014 was 12.4 million Euros, even after correcting for outgoings and other aspects. About 151 full time equivalents were needed. The public budget claimed 5.0 million Euros in taxes. A full fiscal analysis has not been conducted. Assuming, however, that Austria is a rather rich country in the EU, it seems plausible that its share in the financing of Erasmus+ exceeds the fiscal reflux.