She states that higher education increases the productivity of a business, and that it also pays off at the individual level in the form of higher wages. At the regional level, she shows that the number of new businesses increases in regions with higher levels of education.
However, there are significant regional differences, and in rural regions it is very important to have good transportation with neighbouring regions and major cities, in order to take advantage of the availability of well-educated people. Regional differences also mean that general policy decisions will work poorly, and that policy decisions made at the regional level will have a better effect.
In the last chapter of the thesis Backman focuses on the importance of banks for start-ups. It is clear that in municipalities with higher banking competition there are more new ventures, because the access to capital is better. Closings of local bank offices can dampen new business ventuers in a region.
In her future research, Mikaela Backman would like to focus on why people are drawn to certain regions, and what a region can do to increase the proportion of highly educated people.
Faculty examiner was Professor Todd Gabe, University of Maine. The examining committee consisted of Associate Professor Michaela Trippl, Lund University, Associate Professor Laura Resmini, Universita della Valle d’Aosta, and Professor Ghazi Shukur, JIBS. Chairperson at the defence was Professor Charlie Karlsson, JIBS.