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Endowment Management Based on a Positive Model of the University

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  • Caroline M. Hoxby

Abstract

I propose a positive model of the university that generates many apparently peculiar features of universities such as endowments and tuition subsidies. The model proposes a specific objective function: a university maximizes its contribution to the intellectual capital of society, valued at social returns. The objective function is enforced within the model-that is, it leads to actions that reinforce the initial selection of the objective function. Endowments also arise naturally within the model: they are a necessary feature of certain universities, not an accident. The model has important implications for the decisions that universities should make on many fronts, but I focus on the implications for financial decisions, especially universities' endowment spending rules and portfolio allocations. The model is designed to explain America's great private research universities and very selective liberal arts colleges and-with modest adaptations-institutions like America's and Britain's great public research universities. Indeed, a ancillary benefit of the model is that it provides a justification for existence of the aforementioned institutions by assigning them a unique role in the creation of the world's intellectual capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Caroline M. Hoxby, 2012. "Endowment Management Based on a Positive Model of the University," NBER Working Papers 18626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18626
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeffrey R. Brown & Stephen G. Dimmock & Jun-Koo Kang & Scott J. Weisbenner, 2014. "How University Endowments Respond to Financial Market Shocks: Evidence and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 931-962, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Su, Xuejuan & Kaganovich, Michael, 2012. "College Expansion and Curriculum Choice," Working Papers 2012-25, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 01 Apr 2015.
    2. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2014. "The Economics of Online Postsecondary Education: MOOCs, Nonselective Education, and Highly Selective Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 528-533, May.
    3. Michael Kaganovich & Xuejuan Su, 2019. "College curriculum, diverging selectivity, and enrollment expansion," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 67(4), pages 1019-1050, June.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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