The measurement of the performance of New Zealand tertiary education institutions and the demand for their services

Smart, Warren
Margaritis, Dimitri
Mckinley, Elizabeth
Item type
Degree name
Doctor of Philosophy
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Auckland University of Technology

This thesis explored the measurement of performance of New Zealand tertiary education institutions (TEIs) and the demand for their services. This involved analysing the research performance of New Zealand universities, analysing the productive efficiency of New Zealand TEIs and examining the choice of provider by bachelor’s degree starters. Bibliometric data was used to measure the research productivity of New Zealand universities. This showed that following a fall during the early 2000s, the research productivity of New Zealand universities increased following the introduction of the Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF). A multi-dimensional analysis of university research performance between 2000 and 2005 showed that no individual university was top in all four of the performance measures assessed. The overall performance of three universities, Massey University, Lincoln University and Auckland University of Technology, were noticeably below that of the other five universities. Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) was then applied to input and output data of New Zealand TEIs to analyse their productive efficiency. In 2006, polytechnics that had: low levels of bachelor’s degree provision, were not regionally based, had a high proportion of subcontracting and were larger institutions, achieved higher levels of pure technical efficiency. The analysis showed that several polytechnics could improve their technical efficiency by reducing their scale of operations. In polytechnics, higher technical efficiency was associated with better financial performance. A number of technically efficient polytechnics struggled financially, indicating that the overall efficiency of the polytechnic sector was not high, or the funding model they operate under is not appropriate. The analysis also showed that decreasing bachelor’s degree provision, poor financial performance in the previous year, an increase in provision of community education, was associated with higher growth in total factor productivity between 1996 and 2006. The application of DEA to Australasian university data between 1997 and 2005 showed that New Zealand universities performed relatively well in terms of relative pure technical efficiency, compared with their Australian counterparts. However, the total factor productivity of New Zealand universities increased at a lower rate, on average, than that of the Australian Group of Eight and newer Australian universities. The application of DEA to a dataset of the participating TEIs in the PBRF showed that polytechnics had lower technical efficiency, on average, than other TEIs. The choices of bachelor’s degree starters in 2006 were analysed for evidence of a lack of parity of esteem between university and polytechnic degrees. The results showed that a lack of parity of esteem between polytechnic and university degrees may be influencing student choices. Students from higher deciles schools, with higher secondary school qualifications, Asians, students who travel for study, were all more likely to enrol in a university to start a bachelor’s degree. There was less clear cut evidence of a lack of parity of esteem between selected groupings of New Zealand universities. However, there did appear to be a lack of parity of esteem between the four older metropolitan universities and the two newest universities, with signs the former were held in higher esteem.

Tertiary education institutions , Research productivity , Data envelopment analysis , Technical efficiency , Total factor productivity , Parity of esteem
Publisher's version
Rights statement