Goal of research
The aim of the study is to systematize the knowledge and to elaborate theoretical and conceptual approaches to the estimation of social and economic contribution of higher education and to the estimation of universities’ efficiency. The goals of the research are as follows: to elaborate theoretical and conceptual approaches and to analyze empirical data on socio-economic impact of higher education institutions; to elaborate and to test the model of universities’ production function that determines the performance and efficiency of universities’ activity taking into account the external contexts; to elaborate and to test econometric model that allow estimating the impact of regional higher education systems on regional economic development.
The methodology used in the research can be split into two groups of methods. Firstly, we employ multidisciplinary approach of historical synthуsis that based on the analysis of documents and relevant literature in the field. Secondly, in order to estimate and analyze the efficiency of Russia higher education institutions in a comprehensive way we employ several statistical and mathematical methods. These methods are data envelopment analysis with bootstrap for unbiased estimates of efficiency; stochastic frontier analysis in order to deal with multiple resources and multiple results of universities’ activity. Classical methodological procedures are followed by propensity score matching technique in order to define control group of universities, calculation of Malmquist index, regression analysis with panel data and generalized method of moments used in order to identify the parameters of econometric model.
Empirical base of research
In order to achieve the aim of the research we used empirical data from several sources. These sources are the Monitoring of performance of higher education institutions that is conducted by the Ministry of higher education and science, Russian longitudinal monitoring survey, Rosstat databases.
Results of research
In this research we have systematized the main existing approaches to assessing and analyzing the contribution of higher education institutions to social and economic development. The contribution of higher education institutions was considered both on individual and country level. We considered the efficiency of universities as one of the determinants of higher education institutions’ impact, since this indicator reflects the ability of universities to achieve maximum possible performance with a fixed amount of resources. Also we have evaluated different effects of public policies on efficiency level of universities. This study describes the role of higher education in formation of regional elite in Russia, as well as the contribution to social and economic development of single-industry towns based on the qualitative data on single-industry towns of Ekaterinbourg region. The results of regional economic growth modelling suggest that the scale of regional higher education system is positively related to the economic development. In addition, we have found positive relationship between efficiency level of regional higher education systems and rates of economic development in regions where these systems are located. Modelling results also show that strong and efficient regional higher education systems may have negative and statistically significant effect on the economic development of regions located in the neighborhood due to the fact that strong universities tend to extract resources, primarily human, from other regions. The revealed interconnection between universities’ efficiency level and rates of regional economic development raises the question of possible ways to increase this characteristic of universities’ activity. We have considered different public policies in the field of higher education and found that these policies can determine the increases in higher education institutions’ efficiency. Particularly, based on the analysis of efficiency of universities that participate in “5-100” project (excellence initiative) it was shown that this program has positive impact on the efficiency level. The efficiency of universities – participants of this program increased compared to the efficiency of similar universities that are not participated in the project. Based on the defined universities’ production function we found the relationship between efficiency level and other characteristics of public policies in the field of higher education. Based on the analysis of qualitative data we can conclude that that higher education institutions play important role in the societal and economic development of single-industry towns. Finally, it was shown that universities retain another important social function – formation of regional elite.
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results
The results of the research are useful and relevant from the point of view of both theory and practical recommendations for public policy in the field of higher education. The main conclusion of the study is that the efficiency of higher education institutions is positively related to the rates of economic development, and efficiency level can be enhanced through various regulatory influences. Therefore, the efficiency of higher education institutions can be considered as a key indicator for public policy in the field of higher education.