Journal of Productivity Analysis

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 275–298 | Cite as

Evaluating the impact of the Bologna Process on the efficiency convergence of Italian universities: a non-parametric frontier approach

  • Calogero GuccioEmail author
  • Marco Ferdinando Martorana
  • Luisa Monaco


The Bologna Process (BP) promoted a series of wide-ranging reforms of higher education (HE) systems in order to improve the quality of teaching activities across Europe. This paper evaluates the effect of these reforms on the teaching efficiency of Italian universities during the period 2000–2010. We employ bootstrapped data envelopment analysis algorithms to assess teaching efficiency. Then, we examine the convergence of the Italian HE system using several panel data estimators. We find clear evidence that Italian universities have become more efficient over time, consistent with the goals of the BP, but that substantial improvement mainly occurs during the initial period of implementation. Our estimates also show a process of convergence in the performance of the Italian HE system, but we find strong evidence of persistent gaps at both university and regional levels. These empirical findings are robust to an alternative estimator, the empirical strategy, and the employed sample.


Universities Teaching efficiency Bologna Process β-Convergence DEA Bootstrapping 

JEL Classification

D24 I23 



I would like to thank Prof. Victor Podinovski, two anonymous reviewers, and the associate editor for their insightful and constructive comments. We also thank Tommaso Agasisti, Isidoro Mazza, and the participants of the XXV annual Conference of the Italian Society of Public Economics (SIEP)—Pavia 2013, and of the international Workshop “New Issues of International and Public Economics”—Catania 2014, for their helpful suggestions on earlier versions. Any remaining errors are solely the responsibility of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Calogero Guccio
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marco Ferdinando Martorana
    • 1
  • Luisa Monaco
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economics and BusinessUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly

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