Research in Higher Education

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 169-179

First online:

The role of the student in the higher education production function

  • Jane Louise JohnsonAffiliated withHigher Education DQ-12, University of Washington

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Increasing concern with productivity and efficiency in service industries such as higher education has created interest in cost analysis techniques, implicit in which must be some notion of the production function, that is, the technology by which inputs are combined to produce outputs. In order to clarify the existing confusion in higher education between inputs and outputs, and to offer aid in understanding the complex issues of productivity and efficiency, this paper offers a paradigm of the student as an economic entity analogous to the profit-maximizing firm in microeconomic theory. The paper concludes by suggesting an extension of the model to include the faculty member as an individual economic agent.

Key words

production function higher education productivity efficiency