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Does econometric methodology matter to rank universities? An analysis of Italian higher education system

Cristian Barra, Raffaele Lagravinese and Roberto Zotti ()

Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 2018, vol. 62, issue C, 104-120

Abstract: In recent years more and more numerous are the rankings published in newspapers or technical reports available, covering many aspects of higher education, but in many cases with very conflicting results between them, due to the fact that universities' performances depend on the set of variables considered and on the methods of analysis employed. This study measures the efficiency of Italian higher education using both parametric and non-parametric techniques and uses the results to provide guidance to university managers and policymakers regarding the most appropriate method for their needs. The findings reveal that, on average and among the macro-areas of the country, the level of efficiency does not change significantly among estimation approaches, which produce different rankings, instead. This may have important implications as rankings have a strong impact on academic decision-making and behaviour, on the structure of the institutions and also on students and graduates recruiters.

Keywords: University league tables; Efficiency; Data Envelopment Analysis; Stochastic Frontier Analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I21 I23 C14 C67 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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