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The Relative Efficiencies of Canadian Universities: A DEA Perspective

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  • Melville L. McMillan
  • Debasish Datta

Abstract

The results of using data envelopment analysis (DEA) to assess the relative efficiency of 45 Canadian universities are reported. Outcomes are obtained from nine different specifications of inputs and outputs. The relative efficiencies are quite consistent across the alternative specifications. A subset of universities - including universities from each of three categories (comprehensive with medical school, comprehensive without medical school, and primarily undergraduate) - are regularly found efficient and a subset quite inefficient but, overall and for most universities, the efficiency scores are relatively high. Simulation of the recent 20-percent cut in provincial grants to the Alberta universities illustrates how potential efficiency improvements (as implied and measured by this methodology) might be realized but it also illustrates certain limitations. Regression analysis is used in an effort to identify further determinants of efficiency. While there are limitations to the methodology and the available (especially output) measures which makes the specific efficiency outcomes tentative, this analysis provides insight to university productivity in Canada and its analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Melville L. McMillan & Debasish Datta, 1998. "The Relative Efficiencies of Canadian Universities: A DEA Perspective," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 24(4), pages 485-511, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:24:y:1998:i:4:p:485-511
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Nikias Sarafoglou & Kingsley E. Haynes, 1996. "University productivity in Sweden: a demonstration and explanatory analysis for economics and business programs," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 30(3), pages 285-304.
    7. 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.
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    10. 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 284-290, May.
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