Academia de Studii Economice Bucuresti

Amfiteatru Economic
Facultatea de Business si Turism

The Efficiency of Universities in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals

Author:Lena Malešević Perović and Maja Mihaljević Kosor

JEL:Q01; I2; C14; H52.


Keywords:Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), European universities, Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), government expenditures, efficiency

This paper investigates the efficiency of European universities in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We make use of newly published University Impact Rankings that account for SDGs, whereby institutions that achieved high scores are those that are, in addition to scientific research, putting more efforts in areas such as gender inequality, quality education for all, climate change, achieving peaceful societies and economic growth. In our empirical analysis, we adopt a dual approach. At a country level, we investigate efficiency of public expenditure on tertiary education, while at a university level we analyse the efficiency of the resources employed in achieving higher rankings (in terms of SDGs). Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) results indicate that, at a macro level, only three to four countries in our sample are fully efficient. They could, therefore, without changing government tertiary expenditures on education, produce about 20% better score on University impact rankings. At a micro level, only about 16 percent of universities is efficient. Their performance could be much improved, without increasing the inputs, especially in terms of supporting SDGs through cooperation with other countries, the promotion of best practices and the publication of data in cooperation with foreign authors.
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