The Dynamics of Productivity in the Swiss and German University Sector: A Non-Parametric Analysis that Accounts for Heterogeneous Production

University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper Series No.309

48 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2012

See all articles by Maria Olivares

Maria Olivares

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW)

Andrea Schenker-Wicki

University of Basel

Date Written: August 31, 2012

Abstract

Based on a disaggregate cross-country analysis, we investigate the performance of 10 public Swiss universities and 77 public German universities from 2001-2007. During this period the universities in both countries have faced two major reforms aimed at improving efficiency and productivity in the European higher education sector. We assess the change in productivity and its sources, that is technological change, technical efficiency change and scale effects, obtained by computing the non-parametric Malmquist productivity index by benchmarking the non-science disciplines and the science disciplines of both countries separately against a common frontier. Given the lack of statistical inference of non-parametric productivity analyses, we employ bootstrapping techniques and estimate confidence intervals, allowing us to verify the statistical significance of our results. The results indicate that improvements in technical efficiency were by far the most important driver for productivity growth, followed by gains realised through exploiting economies of scale; thereby technological change partly reduced the increases in productivity. Our findings, however, suggest reform-related differences between the Swiss and the German public university sector. Further, the results point to structural differences across the scientific disciplines, as we found divergent patterns for the development in productivity and its sources in the non-sciences and the sciences.

Keywords: Higher Education, Cross-Country Analysis, Total Factor Productivity, Non-Parametric Malmquist Productivity Index

JEL Classification: I23, I28, D24

Suggested Citation

Olivares, Maria and Schenker-Wicki, Andrea, The Dynamics of Productivity in the Swiss and German University Sector: A Non-Parametric Analysis that Accounts for Heterogeneous Production (August 31, 2012). University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper Series No.309, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2139364 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2139364

Maria Olivares (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW) ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland

Andrea Schenker-Wicki

University of Basel ( email )

Petersplatz 1
Basel, CH-4003
Switzerland

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