The Impact of Scale and Scope on Global University Rankings: What We Know and What We Need to Learn

The Impact of Scale and Scope on Global University Rankings: What We Know and What We Need to Learn

Liang-Cheng Zhang (Griffith University, Australia) and Andrew C. Worthington (Griffith University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0819-9.ch008
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Abstract

Economies of scale and scope are increasingly critical for universities operating in globally competitive higher education teaching, research and training markets. This is because the associated cost advantages could enable some institutions to increase their university rankings relatively easier. This chapter investigates the relationships between economies of scale (measured by the number of enrollments) and scope (measured by the number of teaching programs), research performance, and institutional reputation (measured by the ARWU and QS ranking scores). The results show that larger and more diverse institutions tend to have higher scores. However, when separated into public and private universities, the scale and scope effects are not so obvious between private universities and the ARWU ranking scores. Nevertheless, the chapter does identify a significant scope effect in the QS rankings for private institutions, implying that expanding research, teaching, and training programs may benefit these scores.
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Background

In this section, we lay the foundation for investigating scale and scope effects on global rankings. This involves understanding the theory and the cost structure including the types of outputs and the functional form needed in the estimation process. We first introduce the theory of scale and scope economies and then examine the empirical applications to the higher education institutions.

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