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Is the University Model an Organizational Necessity? Scale and Agglomeration Effects in Science

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  • Brandt, Tasso

    ()
    (Fraunhofer ISI)

  • Schubert, Torben

    ()
    (CIRCLE, Lund University)

Abstract

In this paper we argue that the emergence of the dominant model of university organization, which is characterized by a large agglomeration of (often loosely affiliated) many small research groups, might have an economic explanation that relates to the features of the scientific production process. In particular, we argue that there are decreasing returns to scale on the level of the individual research groups, which prevent them from becoming to large, while we argue for positive agglomeration effects on the supra-research-group-level inside the university. As a consequence an efficient university organization would precisely consist of tying together many small individual research groups without merging them. Basing our empirical analysis on a multilevel dataset for German research institutes from four disciplines we are able to find strong support for the presence of these effects. This suggests that the emergence of the dominant model of university organization may also be the result of these particular features of the production process, where the least we can say is that this model is under the given circumstances highly efficient.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy in its series CIRCLE Electronic Working Papers with number 2012/1.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 27 Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lucirc:2012_001

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Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46 (0) 46 222 74 68
Web page: http://www.circle.lu.se/
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Related research

Keywords: agglomeration effects; scientific production; returns to scale; university organization; efficiency;

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  1. Andersson, Roland & Quigley, John M. & Wilhelmsson, Mats, 2004. "University Decentralization as Regional Policy: The Swedish Experiment," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt81n6b8fb, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
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  6. Shih-Fang Lo & Wen-Min Lu, 2006. "Does Size Matter? Finding The Profitability And Marketability Benchmark Of Financial Holding Companies," Asia-Pacific Journal of Operational Research (APJOR), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 23(02), pages 229-246.
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  12. Cohn, Elchanan & Rhine, Sherrie L W & Santos, Maria C, 1989. "Institutions of Higher Education as Multi-product Firms: Economies of Scale and Scope," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(2), pages 284-90, May.
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  14. Schön, Lennart & Kander, Astrid, 2007. "Industrial dynamics and innovative pressure on energy - Sweden with European and Global outlooks," CIRCLE Electronic Working Papers 2007/5, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
  15. Lewis, Danielle & Webb, James R., 2007. "Potential cost synergies from banks acquiring real estate brokerage services," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2347-2363, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Andrea Bonaccorsi & Luca Secondi & Enza Setteducati & Alessio Ancaiani, 2014. "Participation and commitment in third-party research funding: evidence from Italian Universities," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 169-198, April.
  2. Schubert , Torben, 2013. "Are there Scale Economies in Scientific Production? On the Topic of Locally Increasing Returns to Scale," CIRCLE Electronic Working Papers 2013/43, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.

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