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Measuring the research performance of Chinese higher education institutions using data envelopment analysis

  • J Johnes
  • L Yu

This study uses data envelopment analysis (DEA) to examine the relative efficiency of over 100 selected Chinese regular universities. Various models are developed to measure the research efficiency of these higher education institutions (HEIs) using data for 2003 and 2004. The findings show that the level of efficiency depends on whether or not a subjective measure of research output (based on experts’ opinions of the HEIs) is included as an output in the model. Mean efficiency is higher when the reputation variable is included (around 90%) than when it is not (mean efficiency is around 55% in this case). However, the rankings of the universities are remarkably insensitive to whether or not this variable is included. Bootstrapping procedures are used to find the 95% confidence intervals for the efficiencies, and indicate that the best and worst performing institutions are significantly different from each other; only the middle-performing 30% of HEIs cannot be distinguished from each other in terms of their performance. Further investigation suggests that regional location, source of funding and whether the university is comprehensive or specialist may all contribute to the observed differences in performance. The regional differences are consistent but not significant at conventional levels of significance; the efficiencies differ significantly by administrative type when the subjective measure of research output is excluded from the analysis; comprehensive universities consistently and significantly outperform specialist institutions. The possibility of regional differences in performance is particularly worrying since the already economically disadvantaged Western region may suffer a continued lag in development if its HEIs are less efficient than those in the better developed Central and coastal regions.

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Paper provided by Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department in its series Working Papers with number 577428.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:lan:wpaper:577428
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  1. Johnes, Geraint & Johnes, Jill, 1993. "Measuring the Research Performance of UK Economics Departments: An Application of Data Envelopment Analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(2), pages 332-47, April.
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  9. Anselin, Luc & Varga, Attila & Acs, Zoltan, 1997. "Local Geographic Spillovers between University Research and High Technology Innovations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 422-448, November.
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  11. Luc Anselin, 2000. "Geographical Spillovers and University Research: A Spatial EconometricPerspective," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 501-515.
  12. Antreas Athanassopoulos & Estelle Shale, 1997. "Assessing the Comparative Efficiency of Higher Education Institutions in the UK by the Means of Data Envelopment Analysis," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2), pages 117-134.
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  15. John Robst, 2000. "Do state appropriations influence cost efficiency in public higher education?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(11), pages 715-719.
  16. Andr�s Rodr�guez-Pose & Maria Cristina Refolo, 2003. "The link between local production systems and public and university research in Italy," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 35(8), pages 1477-1492, August.
  17. El-Mahgary, Sami & Lahdelma, Risto, 1995. "Data envelopment analysis: Visualizing the results," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 700-710, June.
  18. Manfred M. Fischer & Attila Varga, 2003. "Spatial knowledge spillovers and university research: Evidence from Austria," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 303-322, 05.
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