Teaching, research, and transfer of knowledge are the three traditional functions of universities. To these, a fourth function of social responsibility can be added. This is understood as a search for the maximum wellbeing of actors associated with universities.
Catalan public universities have far reaching effects through their various functions (economic, social, cultural, and environmental), which foster growth in their local regions. At first universities have an immediate effect on a region’s growth, in that they contribute to GDP by generating expenditure. Universities and their students, and even delegates at conferences organised by them use goods and services from their regions (office materials, laboratory ￼materials, transport services, restaurant and hotel services, etc.) This demand brings additional income, employment and GDP.
Apart from this immediate demand, universities also contribute to the long-term economic development of their local region, in that they affect the endowment of factors of production. So, using a production function of an exonomy, the triple function mentioned above of teaching, research and knowledge transfer undertaken by universities augments the technological capital (technological progress) and the endowment of human capital in the region, thus fostering growth.