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Is External Research Assessment Associated with Convergence or Divergence of Research Quality Across Universities and Disciplines? Evidence from the PBRF Process in New Zealand

Robert Buckle (), John Creedy and Norman Gemmell ()

No 8122, Working Paper Series from Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance

Abstract: Performance-based research quality measures have been adopted in many countries as a basis for allocating funding to universities. The question arises of whether this produces a divergence of research quality across universities and academic disciplines, or convergence whereby initially lower-quality institutions and disciplines catch-up? This paper examines whether the introduction of the New Zealand Performance-Based Research Fund process produced convergence or divergence in research quality scores of universities and disciplines between the 2003 and 2012 assessments. Anonymous individual researcher quality scores in 2003 and 2012 were used to derive average quality scores for disciplines and universities. Substantial convergence in average research quality is found over the period. With few exceptions, the hypothesis that rates of convergence have been uniform across almost all universities and disciplines is supported.

Keywords: Education policy; New Zealand universities; Performance-Based Research Fund; Research quality; Convergence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:vuw:vuwcpf:8122