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Market forces and competition in university systems: theoretical reflections and empirical evidence from Italy

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  • Tommaso Agasisti

Abstract

This paper deals with the reforming processes in higher education (HE) from centralised systems towards more competitive ones. In particular, I discuss these issues referring to the Italian case, and the market-like mechanisms introduced in it during 1990s and early 2000s. The focus of the paper is in analysing the effects of the increasing competition on teaching performance of universities. For this purpose, I develop a theoretical model, moving from the framework of yardstick competition (YC), to describe the functioning of a competition model based on comparing performance of institutions. Then, I apply this model using data from the Italian university system. The results suggest that an increasingly competitive environment effectively improves the universities' performance, which is also influenced by other factors, namely the characteristics of the institutions themselves and of their students, and by the resources available. As the exploratory nature of the study, these findings must be validated through future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Tommaso Agasisti, 2009. "Market forces and competition in university systems: theoretical reflections and empirical evidence from Italy," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(4), pages 463-483.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:23:y:2009:i:4:p:463-483
    DOI: 10.1080/02692170902954783
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hoxby, Caroline M., 1999. "The productivity of schools and other local public goods producers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 1-30, October.
    2. repec:lan:wpaper:4345 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. J Millington & S Bradley, "undated". "The Effect of Spatial Competition on Secondary School Exam Performance," Working Papers cr04/98, Department of Economics, University of Lancaster.
    4. repec:lan:wpaper:4774 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 2003. "Equity and Resources: An Analysis of Education Finance Systems," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 858-897, August.
    6. Caroline M. Hoxby, 1999. "The Productivity of Schools and Other Local Public Goods Providers," NBER Working Papers 6911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. repec:lan:wpaper:4347 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:lan:wpaper:4472 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Geraint Johnes & Jill Johnes (ed.), 2004. "International Handbook on the Economics of Education," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2847.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Barra, Cristian & Lagravinese, Raffaele & Zotti, Roberto, 2015. "Explaining (in)efficiency in higher education: a comparison of parametric and non-parametric analyses to rank universities," MPRA Paper 67119, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Erik E. Lehmann & Michele Meoli & Stefano Paleari & Sarah A. E. Stockinger, 2018. "Approaching effects of the economic crisis on university efficiency: a comparative study of Germany and Italy," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 8(1), pages 37-54, March.
    3. Agasisti, Tommaso & Barra, Cristian & Zotti, Roberto, 2016. "Evaluating the efficiency of Italian public universities (2008–2011) in presence of (unobserved) heterogeneity," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 47-58.
    4. Bolli, Thomas & Somogyi, Frank, 2011. "Do competitively acquired funds induce universities to increase productivity?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 136-147, February.
    5. Tommaso Agasisti & Cristian Barra & Roberto Zotti, 2017. "Research, knowledge transfer and innovation: the effect of Italian universities’ efficiency on the local economic development 2006-2012," Working papers 60, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
    6. Tommaso Agasisti & Giuseppe Munda, 2017. "Efficiency of investment in compulsory education: An Overview of Methodological Approaches," JRC Working Papers JRC106681, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    7. Klumpp, Matthias & Krol, Bianca, 2011. "Berufswertigkeit in der Logistik," ild Schriftenreihe Logistikforschung 15, FOM Hochschule, Institut für Logistik- & Dienstleistungsmanagement (ild).
    8. repec:eee:soceps:v:62:y:2018:i:c:p:104-120 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Bergantino, Angela Stefania & Capozza, Claudia & Porcelli, Francesco, 2015. "Hotelling competition and teaching efficiency of Italian university faculties. A semi-parametric analysis," MPRA Paper 62927, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Tommaso Agasisti & Ralph Hippe & Giuseppe Munda, 2017. "Efficiency of investment in compulsory education: empirical analyses in Europe," JRC Working Papers JRC106678, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    11. Bolli, Thomas & Olivares, Maria & Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Daraio, Cinzia & Aracil, Adela Garcia & Lepori, Benedetto, 2016. "The differential effects of competitive funding on the production frontier and the efficiency of universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 91-104.

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