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Evaluating the higher education productivity of Chinese and European “elite” universities using a meta-frontier approach

Department of Economics Seminar

Prof Tommaso Agasisti

Politecnico di Milano, School of Management

Evaluating the higher education productivity of Chinese and European “elite” universities using a meta-frontier approach

Date: Thursday 20th February, 15h00-16h00
Venue: Kemmy Business School, KB1-16

All are welcome to attend.

Tommaso Agasisti is Full Professor at Politecnico di Milano, School of Management, where he teaches Economia e Organizzazione Aziendale and Public Management. Since January 2020, he is Associate Dean for Internationalization, Quality and Services at MIP Politecnico di Milano Graduate School of Business, where he served as CoDelegate of I&PA (Institutions and Public Administration) between 2015 and 2019. Tommaso is the Associate Editor of the academic journal Higher Education Quarterly (HEQ), and member of the editorial board of other three academic journals: Tertiary Education And Management (TEAM), Educational Researcher (ER) and International Journal of Educational Management (IJEM). His studies are in the field of Public Economics and Finance, Public Management and Policy, Public Administration, with particular reference to the educational sector. His research is published in several international peer-reviewed academic journals, in both fields of Economics and Education. He also served as consultant for Italian universities and public administrations.

Elite universities are those which are able to position themselves at the top of international rankings based on reputation and teaching/research performance. In this paper, we propose an innovative approach for evaluating the productivity of these universities, by considering not only the outputs produced but also the inputs they employ. This research focuses on a sample of European and Chinese elite universities for the period 2011- 2015. We adopt a meta-frontier methodology to decompose their overall productivity in three main determinants: technical efficiency compared with contemporaneous technology, change in technical efficiency and technology (relative) superiority of the two groups of universities. The results reveal different patterns of evolution: Chinese institutions’ productivity grows faster than that of their European counterparts (+7.15%/year vs 4.51%/year), however the latter maintain a higher level of technology in efficient production as a group. To keep the pace with the evolution of European HE, the group of Chinese elite universities must find new, structural ways of improving their productivity which should be based not only on gradual increases in technical efficiency.