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Are the New British Universities Congested?

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Author Info

  • Tony Flegg

    ()
    (School of Economics, University of the West of England)

  • David O. Allen

    (School of Economics, University of the West of England)

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    Abstract

    This paper uses data envelopment analysis (DEA) to examine the issue of congestion in British universities. The focus of the paper is on 41 former polytechnics that became universities in 1992, and the analysis covers the period 1995/6 to 2003/4. These new universities differ from the older universities in many ways, especially in terms of their far higher student : staff ratios and substantially lower research funding per member of staff. The primary aim of the paper is to examine whether this under-resourcing of the new universities has led to ‘congestion’, in the sense that their output has been reduced as a result of having too many students. Three alternative methods of measuring congestion are examined and, to check the sensitivity of the results to different specifications, three alternative DEA models are formulated. The results reveal that a substantial amount of congestion was present throughout the period under review, and in a wide range of universities, but whether it rose or fell is uncertain, as this depends on which congestion model is used. The results indicate that an overabundance of undergraduate students was the largest single cause of congestion in the former polytechnics during the period under review. Less plausibly, the results also suggest that academic overstaffing was a major cause of congestion! By contrast, postgraduates and ‘other expenditure’ are found to play a noticeably smaller role in generating congestion.

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    File URL: http://carecon.org.uk/DPs/0610.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2006
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol in its series Working Papers with number 0610.

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    Length: 51 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:uwe:wpaper:0610

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY
    Phone: 0117 328 3610
    Web page: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/bl/research/bristoleconomics.aspx
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    Related research

    Keywords: British New Universities; congestion;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    References

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    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.:
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    1. 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.
    2. Cooper, W. W. & Gu, Bisheng & Li, Shanling, 2001. "Comparisons and evaluations of alternative approaches to the treatment of congestion in DEA," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 62-74, July.
    3. Rolf Färe & Shawna Grosskopf, 2000. "Research Note. Decomposing Technical Efficiency with Care," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(1), pages 167-168, January.
    4. Fare, Rolf & Grosskopf, Shawna, 2000. "Slacks and congestion: a comment," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 27-33, March.
    5. Izadi, Hooshang & Johnes, Geraint & Oskrochi, Reza & Crouchley, Robert, 2002. "Stochastic frontier estimation of a CES cost function: the case of higher education in Britain," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 63-71, February.
    6. Philip Andrew Stevens, 2005. "A Stochastic Frontier Analysis of English and Welsh Universities," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 355-374.
    7. Tony Flegg & David O. Allen, 2006. "An Examination of Alternative Approaches to Measuring Congestion in British Universities," Working Papers 0606, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
    8. Cherchye, Laurens & Kuosmanen, Timo & Post, Thierry, 2001. "Alternative treatments of congestion in DEA: A rejoinder to Cooper, Gu, and Li," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 75-80, July.
    9. Cooper, William W. & Seiford, Lawrence M. & Zhu, Joe, 2000. "A unified additive model approach for evaluating inefficiency and congestion with associated measures in DEA," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-25, March.
    10. Tone, Kaoru & Sahoo, Biresh K., 2004. "Degree of scale economies and congestion: A unified DEA approach," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 158(3), pages 755-772, November.
    11. Johnes, Geraint, 1997. "Costs and Industrial Structure in Contemporary British Higher Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(442), pages 727-37, May.
    12. Tone, Kaoru, 2001. "A slacks-based measure of efficiency in data envelopment analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 130(3), pages 498-509, May.
    13. Fare, Rolf, et al, 1989. "Multilateral Productivity Comparisons When Some Outputs Are Undesirable: A Nonparametric Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 90-98, February.
    14. Fare, R. & Grosskopf, S. & Logan, J., 1985. "The relative performance of publicly-owned and privately-owned electric utilities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 89-106, February.
    15. P. Byrnes & R. Färe & S. Grosskopf, 1984. "Measuring Productive Efficiency: An Application to Illinois Strip Mines," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(6), pages 671-681, June.
    16. Cooper, W. W. & Gu, Bisheng & Li, Shanling, 2001. "Note: Alternative treatments of congestion in DEA - a response to the Cherchye, Kuosmanen and Post critique," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 81-87, July.
    17. A. T. Flegg & D. O. Allen & K. Field & T. W. Thurlow, 2004. "Measuring the efficiency of British universities: a multi-period data envelopment analysis," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 231-249.
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    Cited by:
    1. Tony Flegg & David O. Allen, 2006. "Does it matter How We Measure Congestion?," Working Papers 0614, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.

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