Knowledge, Diversity and Performance in European Higher Education
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Knowledge, Diversity and Performance in European Higher Education

A Changing Landscape

Edited by Andrea Bonaccorsi

For the first time, data on individual European higher education institutions (rather than data aggregated at the country level) is used in order to examine a wide range of issues that are both theoretically challenging and relevant from policy-making and societal perspectives. The contributors integrate statistics on universities and colleges with other sources of information such as patents, start-up firms and bibliometric data, and employ rigorous empirical methods to address a range of key questions, including: what is the role of non-university tertiary education, such as vocational training? How important is the private sector? Are European universities internationalized? Are they efficient from the point of view of costs and educational output? Are there pure research universities in Europe? How do universities contribute to economic growth?
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Chapter 9: How and why does cost efficiency of universities differ across European countries? An explorative attempt using new microdata

Zara Daghbashyan, Enrico Deiaco and Maureen McKelvey


This chapter analyses the cost efficiency of universities, through a cross-analysis of universities in different European countries. The focus is on describing the cost efficiency of universities located in six countries, using newly developed cross-national sets of input and output variables, as well as series of exogenous variables. This approach allows us to explore cross-country variation in cost efficiency as well as the impact of institutional factors on efficiency variation. As such, we hope to contribute to the current debates in academic literature and policy circles about the various determinants of university performance and about the rationales for changing European higher education systems. Currently there are huge pressures to reform educational and research systems in European countries, for example, by providing better education to more people at a lower cost. Hence advances in understanding university performance across national patterns are vital for further understanding and public policy reforms for the future. This chapter addresses how and why cost efficiency of universities differs across European countries. The analysis makes a contribution with the examination of microdata. The EUMIDA dataset is a unique collection of data about single universities, and for the first time we have reliable cross-country data, which allows us to analyse and draw some conclusions across countries. Much of the existing literature studies efficiency variation within one country or between units inside one university, as further outlined in the literature review below.

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