Size and economies of scale in higher education and the implications for mergers

J.N. Tirivayi, H. Maasen van den Brink, W.N.J. Groot

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Abstract

This paper carries out a meta regression analysis to estimate the
optimal size of higher education institutions (HEI) and identify its
implications for strategies of mergers in higher education. This study
finds an optimal institutional size of 24,954 students. We find
potential opportunities for merging different HEIs relative to their
mean sample size: public universities by nearly 190 per cent, private
universities by 131 per cent, small colleges by around 952 per cent, and
non-US HEIs by about 118 per cent. However, if we compare with actual
sizes of top ranked universities we find that in some parts of the world
top ranked universities seem to be below optimal size, while in others
they appear above optimal size. We urge caution in the interpretation of
the findings due to the limited data. We recommend further research and
that policymakers around the world refer to their own cost structures to
determine the optimal size for efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMaastricht
PublisherUNU-MERIT
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

Publication series

SeriesUNU-MERIT Working Papers
Number066

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