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Title: Efficiency analysis in non-profit organisations : empirical evidence from institutions in higher education in the UK with implications for economic modelling and policy design
Author: Rieser, Dan Anselm
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2003
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The purpose of research carried out in this thesis is to make a contribution to knowledge by empirically examining the applicability of standard efficiency analysis to the case of non-profit organisations. The particular research objects are institutions in higher education in the UK at their institutional level. Research questions addressed in this context are how the characteristics of institutions in higher education (such as their multiple input, multiple output production process, their nonmarket environment, and the inapplicability of duality theory) need to be taken into account when standard efficiency analysis procedures are applied. In terms of the methodological approach chosen, a formal representation of the higher education production process has been sought. Different aspects of this production process have been considered, such as (i) the input perspective (functional link of input to output), (ii) the output perspective (functional link of output to cost), and (iii) an intertemporal perspective (consideration of two time periods). Empirical analysis has been carried out for the academic years 1994/1995 and 1999/2000 for a total number of 138 institutions in higher education in the UK (82 for the intertemporal case). Both Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA - a parametric efficiency analysis technique) and Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA - a non-parametric technique) have been used in a complementary way when efficiency coefficients were derived. Results were presented by means of league tables. Core findings from the empirical analysis are that results from SFA and DEA are correlated very low when the output perspective is considered. Results are highly correlated when the input perspective is adopted, however. Furthermore, despite their different methodological assumptions, results from the input perspective are highly correlated with the ones from the output perspective. It is therefore concluded that those institutions are highly cost efficient that are also highly efficient in terms of production. As far as the intertemporal context of higher education is concerned, there is strong empirical evidence in the data that there are both institution specific and time related (i.e. fixed) effects in UK institutions in higher education. Research carried out in this thesis has led to a number of contributions, namely (i) a critical assessment of the applicability of efficiency analysis to institutions in higher education, (ii) an in depth examination of the higher education production process, (iii) a derivation of current efficiency coefficients for UK institutions in higher education, (iv) a validation of results via a methodological cross-check (when SFA and DEA were used in a complementary way) and (v) the critical evaluation of controversial issues related to efficiency analysis in the context of higher education. The contribution made in this thesis therefore consists of two components, namely a theoretical contribution based on the theoretical advances made when the higher education production process was examined and an applied contribution based on the research findings as such. Results derived in this thesis therefore provide a valuable basis for further research in this area both at a theoretical and an applied level. The contribution made in this thesis is therefore of particular interest both for academics and practitioners.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available