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Do ads influence rankings? Evidence from the higher education sector

Julien Jacqmin ()

Education Economics, 2021, vol. 29, issue 5, 509-526

Abstract: Media outlets often produce higher education rankings. These media platforms are largely financed, via advertising, by the higher education institutions they also rank. This paper investigates the relationship between university advertising in the Times Higher Education magazine and their place in the ranking published in the same magazine. Using a fixed-effect identification strategy, the analysis finds that advertising is associated with an improvement of around 15 ranks in the subsequently published ranking. Further analysis provides mixed evidences of a media bias. One potential explanation is that advertising institutions follow better reporting practices regarding data used to build up the ranking.

Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1080/09645292.2021.1918642

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