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Are there Scale Economies in Scientific Production? On the Topic of Locally Increasing Returns to Scale

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  • Schubert , Torben

    ()
    (CIRCLE, Lund University)

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    Abstract

    In this paper the question of returns to scale in scientific production is analyzed using nonparametric techniques for multidimensional efficiency measurement. Based on survey data for German research groups from three scientific fields it is shown that the multidimensional production possibility sets are weakly non-convex and locally strictly non-convex. This implies that the production functions for the groups in the sample are characterised by increasing returns in some regions and at least constant returns to scale otherwise. This has two implications for organization of scientific research: first, at least some groups in our sample have suboptimal size and could benefit from growing. Second, specialisation on certain tasks in science (e.g. transfer-oriented groups vs. research-oriented groups) would increase output of the overall system.

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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 Papers in Innovation Studies with number 2013/43.

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    Length: 27 pages
    Date of creation: 20 Dec 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:lucirc:2013_043

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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: Research Units; Specialisation; Production; Efficiency; Returns to scale; DEA;

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    1. Susanne Warning, 2004. "Performance Differences in German Higher Education: Empirical Analysis of Strategic Groups," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 393-408, 06.
    2. Johnes, Jill, 2006. "Data envelopment analysis and its application to the measurement of efficiency in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 273-288, June.
    3. Brandt, Tasso & Schubert, Torben, 2012. "Is the University Model an Organizational Necessity? Scale and Agglomeration Effects in Science," CIRCLE Electronic Working Papers 2012/1, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    4. David N. Laband & Bernard F. Lentz, 2003. "New Estimates of Economies of Scale and Scope in Higher Education," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 70(1), pages 172-183, July.
    5. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
    6. Léopold Simar & Paul W. Wilson, 1998. "Sensitivity Analysis of Efficiency Scores: How to Bootstrap in Nonparametric Frontier Models," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(1), pages 49-61, January.
    7. Susanne Warning, 2004. "Performance Differences in German Higher Education: Empirical Analysis of Strategic Groups," Working Papers of the Research Group Heterogenous Labor 04-09, Research Group Heterogeneous Labor, University of Konstanz/ZEW Mannheim.
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