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Is the U.S. Losing Its Preeminence in Higher Education?

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  • James D. Adams

Abstract

The expansion of U.S. universities after World War II gained from the arrival of immigrant scientists and graduate students, the broadening of access to universities, and the development of military research and high technology industry. Since the 1980s, however, growth of scientific research in Europe and East Asia has exceeded that of the U.S., suggesting convergence in world science and engineering and a falling U.S. share. But the slowdown of U.S. publication rates in the late 1990s is a different matter, in that the rise of science elsewhere does not imply a U.S. slowdown in any obvious sense. Using a panel of U.S. universities, fields and years, evidence is found of a slowdown in the growth of resources. In turn, this has caused a deceleration in the growth of research output in public universities and university-fields falling into the middle 40 percent and bottom 40 percent of their disciplines. These developments can be traced to slower growth in tuition and state appropriations in public universities compared to revenue growth, including from endowment, in private universities.

Suggested Citation

  • James D. Adams, 2009. "Is the U.S. Losing Its Preeminence in Higher Education?," NBER Working Papers 15233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15233 Note: ED PR
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard B. Freeman, 2006. "Does Globalization of the Scientific/Engineering Workforce Threaten U.S. Economic Leadership?," NBER Chapters,in: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 6, pages 123-158 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ronald G. Ehrenberg & Michael J. Rizzo & George H. Jakubson, 2003. "Who Bears the Growing Cost of Science at Universities?," NBER Working Papers 9627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Toole, Andrew A. & Czarnitzki, Dirk, 2007. "Life Scientist Mobility from Academe to Industry: Does Academic Entrepreneurship Induce a Costly ?Brain Drain? on the Not-for-Profit Research Sector?," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-072, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeffrey Thompson, 2010. "Prioritizing Approaches to Economic Development in New England: Skills, Infrastructure, and Tax Incentives," Published Studies priorities_september7_per, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    2. Chevalier, Arnaud, 2012. "To Be or Not to Be... a Scientist?," IZA Discussion Papers 6353, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Alexander Whalley & Justin Hicks, 2014. "Spending Wisely? How Resources Affect Knowledge Production In Universities," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 35-55, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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