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The Relative Efficiencies of Canadian Universities: A DEA Perspective

Melville McMillan () and Debasish Datta

Canadian Public Policy, 1998, vol. 24, issue 4, 485-511

Abstract: The results of using data envelopment analysis (DEA) to assess the relative efficiency of 45 Canadian universities are reported. Outcomes are obtained from nine different specifications of inputs and outputs. The relative efficiencies are quite consistent across the alternative specifications. A subset of universities - including universities from each of three categories (comprehensive with medical school, comprehensive without medical school, and primarily undergraduate) - are regularly found efficient and a subset quite inefficient but, overall and for most universities, the efficiency scores are relatively high. Simulation of the recent 20-percent cut in provincial grants to the Alberta universities illustrates how potential efficiency improvements (as implied and measured by this methodology) might be realized but it also illustrates certain limitations. Regression analysis is used in an effort to identify further determinants of efficiency. While there are limitations to the methodology and the available (especially output) measures which makes the specific efficiency outcomes tentative, this analysis provides insight to university productivity in Canada and its analysis.

Date: 1998
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