The Growing Allocative Inefficiency of the U.S. Higher Education Sector
AbstractThis paper presents new evidence on research and teaching productivity in universities. The findings are based on a panel that covers 1981-1999 and includes 102 top U.S. universities. Faculty size grows at 0.6 percent per year, compared with growth of 4.9 percent in the industrial science and engineering workforce. Measured by papers and citations per researcher, productivity grows at 1.4-6.7 percent per year and productivity and its rate of growth are higher in private than public universities. Measured by baccalaureate and graduate degrees per teacher, teaching productivity grows at 0.8-1.1 percent per year and growth is faster in public than private universities. A decomposition analysis shows that growth in research productivity within universities exceeds overall growth. This is because research shares grow more rapidly in universities whose productivity grows less rapidly. Likewise the research share of public universities increases even though productivity grows less rapidly in public universities. Together these findings suggest that allocative efficiency of U.S. higher education declined during the late 20th century. Regression analysis of individual universities finds that R&D stock, endowment, and postdoctoral students increase research productivity, that the effect of nonfederal R&D stock is less, and that research is subject to decreasing returns. Since the nonfederal R&D share grows and is much higher in public universities, this could account for some of the rising allocative inefficiency. The evidence for decreasing returns in research, which are greater than in teaching, suggests limits on the ability of more efficient institutions to expand and implies that differences in the scale of the teaching function are the primary reason for differences in university size. Besides all this the data strongly hint at growing financial pressures on U.S. public universities.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics in its series Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics with number 0611.
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- James D. Adams & J. Roger Clemmons, 2009. "The Growing Allocative Inefficiency of the U.S. Higher Education Sector," NBER Chapters, in: Science and Engineering Careers in the United States: An Analysis of Markets and Employment, pages 349-382 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- James D. Adams & J. Roger Clemmons, 2006. "The Growing Allocative Inefficiency of the U.S. Higher Education Sector," NBER Working Papers 12683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
- L3 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise
- O3 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-06-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-EDU-2006-06-03 (Education)
- NEP-EFF-2006-06-03 (Efficiency & Productivity)
- NEP-SOG-2006-06-03 (Sociology of Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- James D. Adams, 2002.
"Comparative localization of academic and industrial spillovers,"
Journal of Economic Geography,
Oxford University Press, vol. 2(3), pages 253-278, July.
- James D. Adams, 2001. "Comparative Localization of Academic and Industrial Spillovers," NBER Working Papers 8292, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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, June.
- John M. de Figueiredo & Brian S. Silverman, 2002.
"Academic Earmarks and the Returns to Lobbying,"
NBER Working Papers
9064, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lucia Foster & John C. Haltiwanger & C. J. Krizan, 2001.
"Aggregate Productivity Growth. Lessons from Microeconomic Evidence,"
in: New Developments in Productivity Analysis, pages 303-372
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John Haltiwanger & C J Krizan & Lucia Foster, 1998. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons From Microeconomic Evidence," Working Papers 98-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- 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.
- Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2002. "Studying Ourselves: The Academic Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 8965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Raul Ramos & Vicente Royuela & Jordi Suriñach, 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.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (John Heim).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.