Ballooning bureaucracy? Stylized facts of growing administration in Swedish higher education.

Posted: 23 Aug 2021 Last revised: 8 Jun 2023

See all articles by Fredrik Andersson

Fredrik Andersson

Statistics Sweden

Henrik Jordahl

Örebro University - School of Business; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); CESifo; IZA

Anders Kärnä

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Örebro University - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 19, 2021

Abstract

All organizations need to allocate labor to production and administration. In many cases -- particularly within the public sector -- the optimal allocation is far from obvious. Indeed, vocal concerns have been raised about the administrative burden in several public services, not least in education. We investigate this issue using detailed registry data on all employees at Swedish universities and colleges from 2005 to 2019 and document three stylized facts. First, the group of highly educated administrators has grown rapidly, almost by a factor of seven compared with teachers and researchers. Second, the number of less-educated administrators has stayed flat. Third, the time that teachers and researchers spend on administrative tasks has been roughly constant over time. This indicates that resources have been diverted from teaching and research and raises fears of excessive administrative growth in Swedish higher education.

Keywords: Organization theory, Sclerosis, Productivity Growth, Bureaucracy, Higher education

JEL Classification: P16, L25

Suggested Citation

Andersson, Fredrik and Jordahl, Henrik and Kärnä, Anders, Ballooning bureaucracy? Stylized facts of growing administration in Swedish higher education. (August 19, 2021). IFN Working Paper No. 1399, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3907896 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3907896

Fredrik Andersson

Statistics Sweden ( email )

Karlavägen 100
Stockholm
Sweden

Henrik Jordahl

Örebro University - School of Business ( email )

SE-70182 Orebro, Örebro SE-701 82
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.oru.se/personal/henrik_jordahl

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.ifn.se/hj

CESifo ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

IZA ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Anders Kärnä (Contact Author)

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Örebro University - Department of Economics ( email )

SE-70182 Orebro
SWEDEN

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