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Multiproduct Cost Function Estimation for American Higher Education: Economies of Scale and Scope

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  • Balazs Varadi

    () (Department of Political Science Central European University)

Abstract

Following Cohn, Rhine and Santos (1989) and Koshal and Koshal (1999),we use American data, i.e., a matched data set of 730 private and 820 public colleges and universities, to estimate multi-product cost functions in higher education. We use federal research grants as a proxy for research output and independent rankings of colleges as a quality proxy. We found that private and public schools have different cost functions. We obtained robust cost functions for private institutions. In those schools, economies of scope are present throughout. There are also economies of scale to a point that is above the size of an average private institution. The marginal cost of educating undergraduates is decreasing, while that of graduate students is increasing. The value of the endowment of private institutions is positively correlated with their costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Balazs Varadi, 2001. "Multiproduct Cost Function Estimation for American Higher Education: Economies of Scale and Scope," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0111, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:has:discpr:0111
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael Rothschild & Lawrence J. White, 1993. "The University in the Marketplace: Some Insights and Some Puzzles," NBER Chapters,in: Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education, pages 11-42 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Estelle James, 1978. "Product Mix and Cost Disaggregation: A Reinterpretation of the Economics of Higher Education," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 13(2), pages 157-186.
    3. János Kornai, 2014. "The soft budget constraint," Acta Oeconomica, Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary, vol. 64(supplemen), pages 25-79, November.
    4. Dundar, Halil & Lewis, Darrell R., 1995. "Departmental productivity in American universities: Economies of scale and scope," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 119-144, June.
    5. Goudriaan, Rene & de Groot, Hans, 1993. "State regulation and university behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 309-318, April.
    6. 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.
    7. Rilstone, Paul, 1991. "Some Monte Carlo Evidence on the Relative Efficiency of Parametric and Semiparametric EGLS Estimators," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(2), pages 179-187, April.
    8. Koshal, Rajindar K. & Koshal, Manjulika, 1999. "Economies of scale and scope in higher education: a case of comprehensive universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 269-277, April.
    9. de Groot, Hans & McMahon, Walter W & Volkwein, J Fredericks, 1991. "The Cost Structure of American Research Universities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 424-431, August.
    10. Breusch, T S & Pagan, A R, 1979. "A Simple Test for Heteroscedasticity and Random Coefficient Variation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1287-1294, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tirivayi, J.N. & Maasen van den Brink, H. & Groot, W.N.J., 2014. "Size and economies of scale in higher education and the implications for mergers," MERIT Working Papers 066, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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