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Measuring University Performance by Means of Composite Indicators: A Robustness Analysis of the Composite Measure Used for the Benchmark of Italian Universities

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  • Michela Gnaldi

    () (University of Perugia)

  • M. Giovanna Ranalli

    () (University of Perugia)

Abstract

Abstract Composite indicators (CIs) are a useful communication tool for conveying summary performance information in a relatively simple way. They are used widely in various sectors in public services. In Italy, they are also employed to allocate a quota of public funding to the universities. Despite increasing use, CIs value and benefit are still under debate and their suitability for the benchmark of universities is challenged by methodological issues and the multi-dimensional facet of higher education institutions. The issue addressed in the present work is whether the composite measure employed by the Italian Government is an accurate tool for evaluating, ranking and funding universities. For this purpose—after a revision of the indicators, weighting and aggregation methods put forward at the national level—CIs have been computed for the overall university performance, employing the indicators chosen at the national level and combining various weighting and normalisation schemes. The variation in the rankings assigned by the CIs to the given universities has been then explored to gauge its robustness. In the light of the results, some technical and analytical issues involved in the design of CIs and their policy implications are also discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Michela Gnaldi & M. Giovanna Ranalli, 2016. "Measuring University Performance by Means of Composite Indicators: A Robustness Analysis of the Composite Measure Used for the Benchmark of Italian Universities," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(2), pages 659-675, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:129:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-015-1116-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-015-1116-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    10. P. Zhou & B. Ang, 2009. "Comparing MCDA Aggregation Methods in Constructing Composite Indicators Using the Shannon-Spearman Measure," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 94(1), pages 83-96, October.
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