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The efficiency of educational production: A comparison of the Nordic countries with other OECD countries

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  • Bogetoft, Peter
  • Heinesen, Eskil
  • Tranæs, Torben

Abstract

Focusing in particular on upper secondary education, this paper examines whether the relatively high level of expenditure on education in the Nordic countries is matched by high output from the educational sector, both in terms of student enrolment and indicators of output quality in the form of graduation/completion rates and expected earnings after completed education. We use data envelopment analysis (DEA) to compare (benchmark) the Nordic countries with a relevant group of rich OECD countries and calculate input efficiency scores for each country. We estimate a wide range of specifications in order to analyse different aspects of efficiency. In purely quantitative models (where inputs and outputs are expenditure and number of students at different levels of the educational system) and in models where graduation or completion rates are included as indicators of output quality, Finland is the most efficient Nordic country (often fully efficient), whereas Sweden and especially Norway and Denmark are clearly inefficient. However, using PISA test scores as indicators of student input quality in upper secondary education reduces the inefficiencies of these three countries. Also, when expected earnings after completed education are used as an indicator of output quality, all Nordic countries are estimated to be fully efficient (or nearly so).

Suggested Citation

  • Bogetoft, Peter & Heinesen, Eskil & Tranæs, Torben, 2015. "The efficiency of educational production: A comparison of the Nordic countries with other OECD countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 310-321.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:50:y:2015:i:c:p:310-321
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2015.06.025
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:eee:ecmode:v:71:y:2018:i:c:p:34-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:ecmode:v:74:y:2018:i:c:p:45-60 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Aparicio, Juan & Santin, Daniel, 2018. "A note on measuring group performance over time with pseudo-panels," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 267(1), pages 227-235.
    4. Paolo Liberati & Raffaele Lagravinese & Giuliano Resce, 2017. "How Does Economic Social And Cultural Status Affect The Efficiency Of Educational Attainments? A Comparative Analysis On Pisa Results," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0217, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
    5. Torben M. Andersen & Giuseppe Bertola & John Driffill & Harold James & mult. Hans-Werner Sinn & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Branko Uroševic, 2016. "Chapter 4: Denmark: Too Good to Be True?," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 85-98, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Data envelopment analysis; Benchmarking; Upper secondary education; International comparisons;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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