Learning to Compete in European Universities
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Learning to Compete in European Universities

From Social Institution to Knowledge Business

Edited by Maureen McKelvey and Magnus Holmén

This book addresses the critical issue of how and why European universities are changing and learning to compete. Anglo-Saxon universities particularly in the US, the UK and Australia have long been subject to, and responded to, market-based competition in higher education. The authors argue that Continental and Nordic universities and higher education institutes are now facing similar pressures that are leading to a structural transformation of the university sector.
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Chapter 5: Division of Academic Labour is Limited by the Size of the Market. Strategy and Differentiation of European Universities in Doctoral Education

Andrea Bonaccorsi


5. Division of academic labour is limited by the size of the market. Strategy and differentiation of European universities in doctoral education Andrea Bonaccorsi 1. INTRODUCTION The economics of universities is a very young field, originated by a surge of interest for institutions producing and diffusing knowledge. 1 While there is a large literature on the economics of higher education, examining mainly the investment decision of individuals in their human capital, the analysis of universities as knowledge production units has traditionally been done in a very application-oriented context. Only more recently has economic theory been attracted by a number of interesting empirical problems and puzzles with large policy implications. This chapter is a contribution to the literature developed with an empirical goal. We will introduce an economic analysis of the notion of differentiation of universities and propose a quantitative measure. The general notion of differentiation is applied to the activity of universities in doctoral education. The measure is based on the availability of the large dataset created by the project Aquameth that, for the first time, has integrated census microdata on all universities in several European countries for a decade. 2. THE UNIVERSITY AS A PRODUCTION UNIT From an economic point of view, universities can be examined as production units. Universities produce highly heterogeneous outputs in at least three areas: education (student education; production of degrees at undergraduate, master and doctoral level; professional training), research (pub90 Strategy and differentiation in doctoral education 91 lications; patents; scienti...

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