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Does econometric methodology matter to rank universities? An analysis of Italian higher education system

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  • Barra, Cristian
  • Lagravinese, Raffaele
  • Zotti, Roberto

Abstract

In recent years more and more numerous are the rankings published in newspapers or technical reports available, covering many aspects of higher education, but in many cases with very conflicting results between them, due to the fact that universities' performances depend on the set of variables considered and on the methods of analysis employed. This study measures the efficiency of Italian higher education using both parametric and non-parametric techniques and uses the results to provide guidance to university managers and policymakers regarding the most appropriate method for their needs. The findings reveal that, on average and among the macro-areas of the country, the level of efficiency does not change significantly among estimation approaches, which produce different rankings, instead. This may have important implications as rankings have a strong impact on academic decision-making and behaviour, on the structure of the institutions and also on students and graduates recruiters.

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  • Barra, Cristian & Lagravinese, Raffaele & Zotti, Roberto, 2018. "Does econometric methodology matter to rank universities? An analysis of Italian higher education system," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 104-120.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceps:v:62:y:2018:i:c:p:104-120
    DOI: 10.1016/j.seps.2017.09.002
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    2. Guarini, Giulio & Laureti, Tiziana & Garofalo, Giuseppe, 2020. "Socio-institutional determinants of educational resource efficiency according to the capability approach: An endogenous stochastic frontier analysis," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    3. Chen, Zhuo & Yang, Zhenbing & Yang, Lili, 2020. "How to optimize the allocation of research resources? An empirical study based on output and substitution elasticities of universities in Chinese provincial level," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    4. Stöver, Britta & Sibbertsen, Philipp, 2020. "The similarities in efficiency of universities and universities of applied sciences in Lower Saxony," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-673, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    5. Gralka, Sabine, 2018. "Stochastic frontier analysis in higher education: A systematic review," CEPIE Working Papers 05/18, Technische Universität Dresden, Center of Public and International Economics (CEPIE).
    6. Elena I. Dobrolyubova & Alexandra N. Starostina, 2022. "Efficiency of Regional Public Expenditures on Education and Healthcare: Evaluation from Citizens’ Perspective," Finansovyj žhurnal — Financial Journal, Financial Research Institute, Moscow 125375, Russia, issue 4, pages 64-78, August.
    7. Esteban Fernández Tuesta & Máxima Bolaños-Pizarro & Daniel Pimentel Neves & Geziel Fernández & Justin Axel-Berg, 2020. "Complex networks for benchmarking in global universities rankings," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 125(1), pages 405-425, October.
    8. Vanesa D’Elia & Gustavo Ferro, 2019. "Empirical Efficiency Measurement in Higher Education: An Overview," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 708, Universidad del CEMA.
    9. Ghimire, Sarad & Amin, Saman Hassanzadeh & Wardley, Leslie J., 2021. "Developing new data envelopment analysis models to evaluate the efficiency in Ontario Universities," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    University league tables; Efficiency; Data Envelopment Analysis; Stochastic Frontier Analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • C67 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Input-Output Models

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