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Authors of the article aim to show what role higher education play in economic development. They argue that modernization and transformation of the economy mostly depend on knowledge-based economy. Smart, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth are based and strongly related to higher education. When analyzing higher education, the share of the population with tertiary education (in the total population aged 15–64 years) was chosen to study. For the evaluation of these relations in Lithuania and the EU-28 the period of 2005–2013 was analyzed, and the year 2005 was chosen as the base year. The research results and calculated Pearson correlation coefficient revealed that the share of the population with tertiary education (in the total population aged 15–64 years) has a significant impact on the share of human resources in science and technology, research and development expenditure and real adjusted gross disposable income of households per capita in Lithuania and most other countries of the EU-28..
Keywords: Economic development, economic modernization, higher education, research and development expenditure;
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