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On the Efficiency of Public Higher Education Institutions in Portugal: An Exploratory Study


  • Mariana Cunha

    () (FEP-UP)

  • Vera Rocha

    () (CEF.UP, FEP-UP and CIPES)


In a context of financial stringency like that characterizing the current economic land-scape in Portugal and in several other countries, accountability and efficiency questions gain an additional relevance in the higher education sector. In this paper we apply DEA techniques to evaluate the comparative efficiency of public higher education institutions in Portugal. The analysis is performed for three separate groups: public universities, public polytechnics and the several faculties of University of Porto. By using several inputs and outputs at the institutional-level, we are able to identify the most technically efficient institutions that may work as benchmark in the sector. The results suggest that a great portion of institutions may be working inefficiently, contributing to a significant waste of resources. This exploratory study is a first step towards a deeper understanding of the efficiency deter-minants of higher education institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariana Cunha & Vera Rocha, 2012. "On the Efficiency of Public Higher Education Institutions in Portugal: An Exploratory Study," FEP Working Papers 468, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:468

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Tommaso Agasisti & Giuseppe Munda, 2017. "Efficiency of investment in compulsory education: An Overview of Methodological Approaches," JRC Working Papers JRC106681, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    2. Abel L. Costa Fernandes & Paulo R. Mota, 2012. "Triffin’s Dilemma Again and the Efficient Level of U.S. Government Debt," FEP Working Papers 469, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    3. Brijesh C. Purohit, 2015. "Efficiency in Education Sector: A Case of Rajasthan State (India)," Working Papers 2015-121, Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India.
    4. Brijesh C. Purohit, 2015. "Efficiency in Elementary Education in Urban India: An exploratory Analysis using DEA," Working Papers 2015-113, Madras School of Economics,Chennai,India.
    5. Tommaso Agasisti & Ralph Hippe & Giuseppe Munda, 2017. "Efficiency of investment in compulsory education: empirical analyses in Europe," JRC Working Papers JRC106678, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    6. Anatoliy G. Goncharuk, 2016. "Evaluating the Efficiency of Higher Education," Journal of Applied Management and Investments, Department of Business Administration and Corporate Security, International Humanitarian University, vol. 5(2), pages 82-91, May.
    7. repec:krk:eberjl:v:4:y:2016:i:1:p:95-112 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    DEA; Higher Education; Technical Efficiency; Universities; Polytechnics;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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