The application of production functions to the higher education system — some examples from Portuguese universities
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Production functions were established for the Arts and Law Faculties of Coimbra and Lisbon Universities and for the Higher Institute of Engineering of Lisbon, in which the number of enrolled students was related to the number of professors and assistants. It was possible to find in Coimbra and Lisbon Universities the existence of possibilities of substitution among those factors and economies of scale. In the case of the Higher Institute of Engineering there seems to exist a relation of complementarity between the number of professors and assistants. Also with regard to this Institute, a production function for graduates was estimated which relates them to the expenditures on academic staff and materials. It was found that in this case it was necessary to introduce time as a representative of technological progress, although it was found to be negative. These results are discussed, and the interest and the limitations of the use of production functions for educational management purposes are outlined.
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