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The dynamics of labor productivity in Swiss universities

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the labor productivity of Swiss university departments between 1995 and 2007. Using a parametric input distance function we estimate and decompose the Malmquist productivity indexes in line with Fuentes et al. (2001) and Atkinson et al. (2003). By contrast to those studies, this paper proposes a panel data specification to account for unobserved heterogeneity across production units. The adopted model is a mixed-effects model with department fixed effects as well as random coefficients for time variables. We also use an autoregressive stochastic term to model inefficiency shocks while allowing for gradual improvement of persistent inefficiencies. The results indicate a negative trend in overall productivity measured by Malmquist index, particularly after 2002, with an average productivity decline of about one percent per year. A major part of this productivity decline coincides with the recent developments in Switzerland's higher education system following the adoption of the Bologna agreement. However, the results do not provide any evidence of statistically significant relationship between productivity and reforms. Our decomposition analysis suggests that the observed productivity decline could be contributed to technical regress but also to a rising inefficiency with a relatively high level of persistence. The results also point to various patterns across different fields. In particular, economics and business departments and law schools show the lowest performance, whereas science departments stand out as an exception with productivity improvement.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Bolli & Mehdi Farsi, 2011. "The dynamics of labor productivity in Swiss universities," KOF Working papers 11-278, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:11-278
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3929/ethz-a-006435741
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    Cited by:

    1. Maria Olivares & Andrea Schenker-Wicki, 2012. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Swiss and German University Sector: A Non-Parametric Analysis that Accounts for Heterogeneous Production," Working Papers 309, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    2. Calogero Guccio & Marco Ferdinando Martorana & Luisa Monaco, 2016. "Evaluating the impact of the Bologna Process on the efficiency convergence of Italian universities: a non-parametric frontier approach," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 275-298, June.
    3. Marcel Clermont, 2016. "Effectiveness and efficiency of research in Germany over time: an analysis of German business schools between 2001 and 2009," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 108(3), pages 1347-1381, September.

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    Keywords

    Swiss Universities; Parametric Distance Function; Heterogeneity; Malmquist Index; Decomposition; Autocorrelation;

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