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The Productivity of UK Universities



There is increasing recognition in the UK and other OECD countries of the importance of scientific research in providing the foundations for both innovation and competitiveness. This has resulted in increased public funding for research in the UK and elsewhere. At the same time, there is a lack of systematic evidence on how such investments can lead to increasing levels of scientific output and, ultimately, to better economic performance. Much of the available literature concentrates on the effects of public funding of basic research on either firms' innovative activities (see among others COHEN, NELSON AND WALSH [2002]; KLEVORICK, LEVIN, NELSON AND WINTER [1995]; JAFFE [1989]; NARIN, HAMILTON AND OLIVASTRO [1997]) or firm performance (Adams [1990]), bypassing the question of how to measure scientific output. The reasons for this are the difficulty of identifying a stable causal relationship between the resources spent on the science budget and 'intermediate' scientific outputs. This difficulty originates from the dynamic nature of this relationship. There is a persistent and therefore recursive feedback between inputs and outputs, which is exacerbated by lack of appropriate information for analysis. Among the few studies that have attempted to address the problem, are ADAMS AND GRILICHES [1996] and JOHNES AND JOHNES [1995]. This study is based on and further develops Adams and Griliches's methodology.

Suggested Citation

  • Gustavo Crespi & Aldo Geuna, 2006. "The Productivity of UK Universities," SPRU Working Paper Series 147, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  • Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:147

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Smith, Adrian & Stirling, Andy & Berkhout, Frans, 2005. "The governance of sustainable socio-technical transitions," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 1491-1510, December.
    2. Bas Arts, 2004. "THE GLOBAL-LOCAL NEXUS: NGOs AND THE ARTICULATION OF SCALE," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 95(5), pages 498-510, December.
    3. Virginie Mamadouh, 2004. "Internet, Scale And The Global Grassroots: Geographies Of The Indymedia Network Of Independent Media Centres," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 95(5), pages 482-497, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Geuna, Aldo & Piolatto, Matteo, 2016. "Research assessment in the UK and Italy: Costly and difficult, but probably worth it (at least for a while)," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 260-271.
    2. Geuna, Aldo & Piolatto, Matteo, 2014. "The Development of Research Assessment in the UK and Italy: Costly and difficult, but probably worth (for a while)," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201405, University of Turin.
    3. Suriñach,Jordi & Duque,Juan Carlos & Royuela, Vicente, 2007. "Patrones De Publicación Internacional (Ssci) De Los Autores Afi liados A Universidades Españolas.En El Ámbito Económicoempresarial(1994-2004)," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 25, pages 277-310, Abril.
    4. repec:spr:anresc:v:59:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s00168-017-0843-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Lehmann, Erik E. & Warning, Susanne, 2010. "The impact of regional endowment and university characteristics on university efficiency," UO Working Papers 04-10, University of Augsburg, Chair of Management and Organization.

    More about this item


    bibliometrics; university graduate students; national science budget; research funding; economic performance; scientific output;

    JEL classification:

    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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