nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2012‒03‒08
two papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. Is the University Model an Organizational Necessity? Scale and Agglomeration Effects in Science By Brandt, Tasso; Schubert, Torben
  2. Shortening university career fades the signal away. Evidence from Italy. By Carolina Castagnetti; Silvia Dal Bianco; Luisa Rosti

  1. By: Brandt, Tasso (Fraunhofer ISI); Schubert, Torben (CIRCLE, Lund University)
    Abstract: In this paper we argue that the emergence of the dominant model of university organization, which is characterized by a large agglomeration of (often loosely affiliated) many small research groups, might have an economic explanation that relates to the features of the scientific production process. In particular, we argue that there are decreasing returns to scale on the level of the individual research groups, which prevent them from becoming to large, while we argue for positive agglomeration effects on the supra-research-group-level inside the university. As a consequence an efficient university organization would precisely consist of tying together many small individual research groups without merging them. Basing our empirical analysis on a multilevel dataset for German research institutes from four disciplines we are able to find strong support for the presence of these effects. This suggests that the emergence of the dominant model of university organization may also be the result of these particular features of the production process, where the least we can say is that this model is under the given circumstances highly efficient.
    Keywords: agglomeration effects; scientific production; returns to scale; university organization; efficiency
    JEL: D24 O32
    Date: 2012–02–27
  2. By: Carolina Castagnetti (Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods, University of Pavia); Silvia Dal Bianco (Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods, University of Pavia); Luisa Rosti (Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods, University of Pavia)
    Abstract: Italian university system was reformed in 2001. This paper tests the screening role of degree scores for 2004-Italian graduates. We find support of the strong screening hypothesis for prereform type degrees, while we do not find any evidence of signalling effects for post-reform 3-years degrees. We gauge that the shutting down of the signal can be partially ascribed to the poor quality of students who obtained a 3-years degree without taking any further education.
    Keywords: Screening, Italy, Higher Education
    JEL: I23 J08
    Date: 2011–05

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