Costs and efficiency of higher education institutions in England:a DEA analysis

Thanassoulis, E., Kortelainen, M., Johnes, G. and Johnes, J. (2011). Costs and efficiency of higher education institutions in England:a DEA analysis. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 62 (7), pp. 1282-1297.


As student numbers in higher education in the UK have expanded during recent years, it has become increasingly important to understand its cost structure. This study applies Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to higher education institutions in England to assess their cost structure, efficiency and productivity. The paper complements an earlier study that used parametric methods to analyse the same panel data. Interestingly, DEA provides estimates of subject-specific unit costs that are in the same ballpark as those provided by the parametric methods. The paper then extends the previous analysis and finds that further student number increases of the order of 20–27% are feasible through exploiting operating and scale efficiency gains and also adjusting student mix. Finally the paper uses a Malmquist index approach to assess productivity change in the UK higher education. The results reveal that for a majority of institutions productivity has actually decreased during the study period.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: Aston Business School > Operations & information management
Aston Business School
Aston Business School > Operations & information management research group
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via
Uncontrolled Keywords: higher education,data envelopment analysis,performance measurement,productivity,cost function,Management Science and Operations Research,Management Information Systems,Marketing,Strategy and Management
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
http://www.palg ... ors201068a.html (Publisher URL)
Published Date: 2011-07
Authors: Thanassoulis, E. ( 0000-0002-3769-5374)
Kortelainen, M.
Johnes, G.
Johnes, J.



Version: Accepted Version

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