Elise Stenholt Sørensen

Elise Stenholt Sørensen

PhD Student

I am a PhD student in the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management. I am also affiliated with Kraks Fond – Institute for Urban Economic Research. The title of my PhD project is “Urbanization, mobility and educational choice”. I have Lars Winther as my supervisor.

Current research

The objective of my PhD project is to get a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between urbanisation, mobility and educational choices at different stages of a person’s life-cycle. The aim is twofold: a) to study how geographical location of education institutions affect people’s educational choices and, b) to examine the relationship between educational choices and geographical mobility. More specific, does geographic proximity to secondary school impact young people’s educational choice? Does the presence of a local university increase the educational level in the local area? And do people’s choices of education influence their geographic mobility and settlement patterns later in life? I will examine these relationships by conducting a comprehensive longitudinal study on individual data from 1981 – 2014.


A) Proximity to school and educational choice

Although, there is a general idea that young people move to enrol in education, the opposite hypothesis is also present: That distance may act as a deterrent to enrol and that local educational institutions are essential to ensure that young people get an education. The aim of this project is to examine whether proximity to educations influence people’s educational choice at different stages in life, e.g. after primary school and after secondary school.

B) Educational choice, mobility and settlement decisions

This project examines the relationship between choice of education and interregional migration. More specific, I examine how young people’s educational choices, after primary school, affect their geographic mobility later in life. Knowledge about mobility of young people is valuable, when deciding where to locate new educational institutions.

C) University proximity, urbanization and local productivity

This project will evaluate the consequences of geographical decentralization of higher education institutions. In recent decades, there has been an increased political focus on boosting smaller cities’ economies by placing universities outside major Danish cities. This could attract students and boost the local labour market with higher skilled workers, if graduates choose to stay after graduation. However, if the jobs for skilled labour are mostly found in the bigger cities, graduates will most likely move. The project will focus on two questions a) where will graduates of the less urban institutions eventually locate? b) what is the effect of these institutions on the local economy?

Primary fields of research

  • Urbanization and interregional migration
  • Distance to school and educational choice
  • Spillover effects from local universities
  • Applied econometrics and analysis of administrative data

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