Why does the US dominate university league tables?
According to Academic Ranking of World Universities, the world’s top 500 universities are owned by only 38 countries, with the US alone having 157 of them. This paper investigates the socioeconomic determinants of the wide performance gap between countries and whether the US’s dominance in the league table is largely due to its economic power or something else. It is found that a large amount of cross country variation in university performance can be explained by just four socioeconomic factors: income, population size, R&D spending, and the national language. It is also found that conditional on the resources that it has, the US is actually underperforming by about 4 to 10 percent.
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