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Does Expansion Cause Congestion? The Case of the Older British Universities, 1994 to 2004

Author

Listed:
  • Tony Flegg

    () (School of Economics, University of the West of England)

  • David O. Allen

    (School of Economics, University of the West of England)

Abstract

This paper examines whether the rapid growth in the number of students in British universities in recent years has led to congestion, in the sense that certain universities’ output could have been higher if this expansion had been less rapid. The focus of the paper is on 45 older universities that were in existence prior to 1992. The analysis covers the period 1994/5 to 2003/4. Several alternative methods of measuring congestion are examined and, to check the sensitivity of the results to different specifications, three alternative DEA models are formulated. The results indicate that congestion was present throughout the decade under review, and in a wide range of universities, but whether it rose or fell is uncertain, as this depends on which congestion model is used. A crucial point here is whether one assumes constant or variable returns to scale. Nonetheless, all models point to a rise in congestion between 2001/2 and 2003/4, and this may well be a result of the rapid growth that occurred in this period. All models also record a sharp drop in mean technical efficiency in 2003/4. A possible explanation of the absence of a clear-cut trend in congestion is that the student : staff ratio in these universities was relatively stable in the decade under review, rising only gently from 2000/1 onwards.

Suggested Citation

  • Tony Flegg & David O. Allen, 2006. "Does Expansion Cause Congestion? The Case of the Older British Universities, 1994 to 2004," Working Papers 0605, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwe:wpaper:0605
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    File URL: http://carecon.org.uk/DPs/0605.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cooper, William W. & Seiford, Lawrence M. & Zhu, Joe, 2000. "A unified additive model approach for evaluating inefficiency and congestion with associated measures in DEA," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 1-25, March.
    2. Philip Andrew Stevens, 2005. "A Stochastic Frontier Analysis of English and Welsh Universities," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 355-374.
    3. Cherchye, Laurens & Kuosmanen, Timo & Post, Thierry, 2001. "Alternative treatments of congestion in DEA: A rejoinder to Cooper, Gu, and Li," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 75-80, July.
    4. Rolf Färe & Shawna Grosskopf, 2000. "Research Note. Decomposing Technical Efficiency with Care," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(1), pages 167-168, January.
    5. Cooper, W. W. & Gu, Bisheng & Li, Shanling, 2001. "Comparisons and evaluations of alternative approaches to the treatment of congestion in DEA," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 62-74, July.
    6. Johnes, Geraint, 1997. "Costs and Industrial Structure in Contemporary British Higher Education," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(442), pages 727-737, May.
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    8. Fare, Rolf, et al, 1989. "Multilateral Productivity Comparisons When Some Outputs Are Undesirable: A Nonparametric Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 90-98, February.
    9. A. T. Flegg & D. O. Allen & K. Field & T. W. Thurlow, 2004. "Measuring the efficiency of British universities: a multi-period data envelopment analysis," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 231-249.
    10. Tony Flegg & David O. Allen, 2006. "An Examination of Alternative Approaches to Measuring Congestion in British Universities," Working Papers 0606, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
    11. Tone, Kaoru, 2001. "A slacks-based measure of efficiency in data envelopment analysis," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 130(3), pages 498-509, May.
    12. P. Byrnes & R. Färe & S. Grosskopf, 1984. "Measuring Productive Efficiency: An Application to Illinois Strip Mines," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(6), pages 671-681, June.
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    Keywords

    British universities; congestion; DEA;

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