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

  • Maria Olivares

    ()

    (Disney Research Zurich)

  • Andrea Schenker-Wicki

    ()

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

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.

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File URL: http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/zrh/wpaper/309_IBW_full.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW) in its series Working Papers with number 309.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zrh:wpaper:309
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.business.uzh.ch

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  1. Thomas Bolli & Mehdi Farsi, 2011. "The Dynamics of Labor Productivity in Swiss Universities," KOF Working papers 11-278, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  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. Tommaso Agasisti & Geraint Johnes, 2010. "Heterogeneity and the evaluation of efficiency: the case of Italian universities," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(11), pages 1365-1375.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Philippe Aghion & Mathias Dewatripont & Caroline Hoxby & Andreu Mas-Colell & André Sapir, . "Higher aspirations: an agenda for reforming European universities," Blueprints, Bruegel, number 1, June.
  7. 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.
  8. Maria Olivares & Heike Wetzel, 2011. "Competing in the Higher Education Market: Empirical Evidence for Economies of Scale and Scope in German Higher Education Institutions," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0070, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  9. 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.
  10. 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, 03.
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