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In search of excellence: a case study of the first excellence initiative of Germany

Matthias Menter (), Erik E. Lehmann () and Torben Klarl ()
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Matthias Menter: University of Augsburg
Erik E. Lehmann: University of Augsburg and CCSE (Augsburg/Bergamo, It)
Torben Klarl: University of Bremen

Journal of Business Economics, 2018, vol. 88, issue 9, 1105-1132

Abstract: Abstract As higher education policies are often associated with intense public spending, the evaluation and performance measurement of respective initiatives becomes increasingly crucial. An extensive and fruitful strand of literature has dealt with the assessment of university performance, yet mainly focused on point-in-time rather than period-of-time examinations. This study investigates the effects of Germany’s first Excellence Initiative, a political measure aimed at building up world-class universities to be able to compete in the globalizing research world. Relying on both qualitative and quantitative measures, taking into account a 15-year period from 1998 to 2012, we analyze the selection process and how and whether the Excellence Initiative fulfilled its ambitious goals. Our results suggest that not the political initiative per se, i.e. the treatment, but the announcement of the treatment triggered diverging performance paths within the German higher education system, thus positively contributed to augmented research performance of the promoted universities. Based on these findings, we provide policy recommendations and avenues for future research.

Keywords: Excellence initiative; Universities; Treatment effect; Announcement effect (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H52 I23 O38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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