Measuring the performance of New Zealand universities

  • Xiaoqi Yuki Wei
Keywords: NZ Universities Labor productivity, Quality adjusted outputs, Partial productivities indices


Education plays a crucial role in every country and contributes to economic productivity growth. The performance of public NZ universities is of broader interest, and the teaching and research labour productivity vary across NZ universities. This study is built on the work of Gemmell et al. (2017), who established quality-adjusted productivity indices for the tertiary education sector. In this presentation, I will introduce the productivity estimates across NZ universities over 2008-18 by using a range of teaching and research quality indexes to adjust both output and input amounts, as well as present a summary for alternative weights to adjust these measures. I used partial labour productivity (methodology) for this study, a ratio of a university's outputs to labour input. Valid productivity measures account for changes in the quality-adjusted teaching and research outputs, such as the use of qualification completions weighted by credit or/and income weights and citation weights from bibliometric databases. The preliminary data analysis aims to determine whether adding a quality adjustment impacts the university's labour productivity and how the impacts vary between different quality adjustments. Providing such an empirical base is crucial as a platform for further analysis that would lead to meaningful policy advice to increase university productivity. My results suggest that quality adjustments might significantly affect conclusions about labour productivity comparison. For teaching labour productivity, the University of Waikato, the University of Otago and Lincoln University all show positive annual average growth rates when qualification completions are adjusted for credit or/and income weights. Instead, Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Canterbury experienced negative annual growth in labour productivity. For research, research outputs weighted for citation rates increase labour productivity growth for all NZ universities while decelerating labour productivity growth by introducing PBRF-ranked adjusted research staff, except for Massey University.


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Gemmell, N., Nolan, P., & Scobie, G. M. (2017). Estimating quality-adjusted productivity in tertiary education: Methods and evidence for New Zealand. Chair in Public Finance, Victoria Business School.

How to Cite
Wei, X. Y. (2022). Measuring the performance of New Zealand universities. Rangahau Aranga: AUT Graduate Review, 1(3).