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The Dynamics of Productivity in the Swiss and German University Sector: A Non-Parametric Analysis that Accounts for Heterogeneous Production

Author

Listed:
  • Maria Olivares

    () (Disney Research Zurich)

  • Andrea Schenker-Wicki

    () (Department of Business Administration (IBW), University of Zurich)

Abstract

Based on a disaggregate cross-country analysis, we investigate the performance of 10 public Swiss universities and 77 public German universities from 2001-2007. During this period the universities in both countries have faced two major reforms aimed at improving efficiency and productivity in the European higher education sector. We assess the change in productivity and its sources, that is technological change, technical efficiency change and scale effects, obtained by computing the non-parametric Malmquist productivity index by benchmarking the non-science disciplines and the science disciplines of both countries separately against a common frontier. Given the lack of statistical inference of non-parametric productivity analyses, we employ bootstrapping techniques and estimate confidence intervals, allowing us to verify the statistical significance of our results. The results indicate that improvements in technical efficiency were by far the most important driver for productivity growth, followed by gains realised through exploiting economies of scale; thereby technological change partly reduced the increases in productivity. Our findings, however, suggest reform-related differences between the Swiss and the German public university sector. Further, the results point to structural differences across the scientific disciplines, as we found divergent patterns for the development in productivity and its sources in the non-sciences and the sciences.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Olivares & Andrea Schenker-Wicki, 2012. "The Dynamics of Productivity in the Swiss and German University Sector: A Non-Parametric Analysis that Accounts for Heterogeneous Production," Working Papers 309, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
  • Handle: RePEc:zrh:wpaper:309
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Philip Andrew Stevens, 2005. "A Stochastic Frontier Analysis of English and Welsh Universities," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 355-374.
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    3. Izadi, Hooshang & Johnes, Geraint & Oskrochi, Reza & Crouchley, Robert, 2002. "Stochastic frontier estimation of a CES cost function: the case of higher education in Britain," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 63-71, February.
    4. Tommaso Agasisti & Carsten Pohl, 2012. "Comparing German and Italian Public Universities: Convergence or Divergence in the Higher Education Landscape?," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33, pages 71-85, March.
    5. Maria Olivares & Heike Wetzel, 2014. "Editor's Choice Competing in the Higher Education Market: Empirical Evidence for Economies of Scale and Scope in German Higher Education Institutions," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 60(4), pages 653-680.
    6. Tommaso Agasisti & Geraint Johnes, 2009. "Beyond frontiers: comparing the efficiency of higher education decision-making units across more than one country," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(1), pages 59-79.
    7. Andreas Hornstein & Per Krusell, 1996. "Can Technology Improvements Cause Productivity Slowdowns?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 209-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Caroline Hoxby & Andreu Mas-Colell & André Sapir, . "Higher aspirations: an agenda for reforming European universities," Blueprints, Bruegel, number 1.
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    10. J Johnes, 2006. "Efficiency and productivity change in the English higher education sector from 1996/97 to 2002/03," Working Papers 575369, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    11. E Thanassoulis & M Kortelainen & G Johnes & J Johnes, 2009. "Costs and Efficiency of Higher Education Institutions in England: A DEA Analysis," Working Papers 598827, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
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    13. repec:spr:isorms:978-1-4419-7961-2 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Bolli & Mehdi Farsi, 2015. "The dynamics of productivity in Swiss universities," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 21-38, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Higher Education; Cross-Country Analysis; Total Factor Productivity; Nonparametric Malmquist Productivity Index;

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity

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