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The Growing Allocative Inefficiency of the U.S. Higher Education Sector

In: Science and Engineering Careers in the United States: An Analysis of Markets and Employment

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  • James D. Adams
  • J. Roger Clemmons

Abstract

This paper presents new evidence on research and teaching productivity in universities using a panel of 102 top U.S. schools during 1981-1999. Faculty employment grows at 0.6 percent per year, compared with growth of 4.9 percent in industrial researchers. Productivity growth per researcher is 1.4-6.7 percent and is higher in private universities. Productivity growth per teacher is 0.8-1.1 percent and is higher in public universities. Growth in research productivity within universities exceeds overall growth, because the research share grows in universities where productivity growth is less. This finding suggests that allocative efficiency of U.S. higher education declined during the late 20th century. R&D stock, endowment, and post-docs increase research productivity in universities, the effect of nonfederal R&D is less, and the returns to research are diminishing. Since the nonfederal R&D share grows and is higher in public schools, this may explain the rising inefficiency. Decreasing returns in research but not teaching suggest that most differences in university size are due to teaching.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Richard B. Freeman & Daniel Goroff, 2009. "Science and Engineering Careers in the United States: An Analysis of Markets and Employment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free09-1, October.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11627.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11627

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    1. Rothschild, Michael & White, Lawrence J, 1995. "The Analytics of the Pricing of Higher Education and Other Services in Which the Customers Are Inputs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 573-86, June.
    2. De Figueiredo, John M. & Silverman, Brian S., 2002. "Academic Earmarks and the Returns to Lobbying," Working papers 4245-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    3. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2002. "Studying Ourselves: The Academic Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 8965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & C.J. Krizan, 1998. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons from Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg, 2005. "Patents, Citations, and Innovations: A Window on the Knowledge Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026260065x, December.
    6. James D. Adams, 2001. "Comparative Localization of Academic and Industrial Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 8292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:
    1. Goodall, Amanda H., 2009. "Highly cited leaders and the performance of research universities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1079-1092, September.
    2. Raul Ramos & Vicente Royuela & Jordi SuriƱach, 2006. "An analysis of the determinants in economics and business publications by spanish universities between 1994 and 2004," IREA Working Papers 200602, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Dec 2006.

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