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Performance-related Funding of Universities – Does more Competition Lead to Grade Inflation?

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  • Thomas K. Bauer
  • Barbara S. Grave

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Abstract

German universities are regarded as being under-financed, inefficient, and performing below average if compared to universities in other European countries and the US. Starting in the 1990s, several German federal states implemented reforms to improve this situation. An important part of these reforms has been the introduction of indicator-based funding systems. These financing systems aimed at increasing the competition between universities by making their public funds dependent on their relative performance concerning different output measures, such as the share of students obtaining a degree or the amount of third party funds. This paper evaluates whether the indicator-based funding created unintended incentives, i.e. whether the reform caused a grade inflation. Estimating mean as well as quantile treatment effects, we cannot support the hypothesis that increased competition between universities causes grade inflation.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0288.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0288

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Keywords: Grade inflation; higher education funding; university competition;

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  1. Manuel Bagues & Mauro Sylos Labini & Natalia Zinovyeva, 2008. "Differential Grading Standards and University Funding: Evidence from Italy," Working Papers 2008-07, FEDEA.
  2. Reback, Randall, 2008. "Teaching to the rating: School accountability and the distribution of student achievement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1394-1415, June.
  3. Kocher, Martin G. & Luptacik, Mikulas & Sutter, Matthias, 2006. "Measuring productivity of research in economics: A cross-country study using DEA," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 314-332, December.
  4. Atkinson, Adele & Burgess, Simon & Croxson, Bronwyn & Gregg, Paul & Propper, Carol & Slater, Helen & Wilson, Deborah, 2009. "Evaluating the impact of performance-related pay for teachers in England," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 251-261, June.
  5. Pedro Martins, 2010. "Individual Teacher Incentives, Student Achievement and Grade Inflation," CEE Discussion Papers 0112, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  6. Markus Frolich & Blaise Melly, 2010. "Estimation of quantile treatment effects with Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 10(3), pages 423-457, September.
  7. B. Curtis Eaton & Mukesh Eswaran, 2008. "Differential Grading Standards and Student Incentives," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 34(2), pages 215-236, June.
  8. Burgess, Simon & Propper, Carol & Slater, Helen & Wilson, Deborah, 2005. "Who wins and who loses from school accountability? The distribution of educational gain in English secondary schools," CEPR Discussion Papers 5248, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. David A Love & Matthew J Kotchen, 2010. "Grades, Course Evaluations, and Academic Incentives," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 36(2), pages 151-163, Spring.
  10. Siegfried, John J & Fels, Rendigs, 1979. "Research on Teaching College Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 923-69, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Claudia Burgard & Barbara S. Grave, 2013. "Does it Pay Off to Incentivize Universities? – Performance Funding in the German Higher Education System Abstract: This paper analyzes the effect of the introduction of performance-related funding i," Ruhr Economic Papers 0457, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  2. Ehlers, Tim & Schwager, Robert, 2012. "Honest Grading, Grade Inflation and Reputation," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62051, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  3. Ehlers, Tim & Schwager, Robert, 2012. "Honest grading, grade inflation and reputation," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 143, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  4. Ehlers, Tim & Schwager, Robert, 2012. "Honest grading, grade inflation and reputation," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 143, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.

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