Ivie
VALENCIAN INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
The BBVA Foundation and the Ivie present the results of the study on universities and productivity in Spain Universidad, universitarios y productividad en España
This report proposes twelve measures which could improve the quality and quantity of results in universities at lower costs

The problems with productivity and international competitiveness seen in Spain's universities, (like its economy) raise doubts about the functioning and efficiency of these institutions, as well as their social and economic contribution. Universities have grown more in terms of resources than results and although university studies undoubtedly offer individual and social benefits, the profitability of investment in human capital is limited by the significant inefficiency of universities and the characteristics of the productive fabric which employs graduates.

These are some of the main conclusions found in the BBVA Foundation-Ivie study Universidad, universitarios y productividad en España, directed by Francisco Perez, Ivie research director and professor at the Universitat de València, and Lorenzo Serrano, Ivie researcher and associate professor at the Universitat de València. José Manuel Pastor (Ivie, UV), Laura Hernández (Ivie), Ángel Soler (Ivie, UV) and Irene Zaera were also part of the research team.

The study identifies the strengths and shortcomings of the procedures which take place in universities, as well as the opportunities and threats arising from their work and productive environment. The diagnosis relies on a wealth of statistical information and demystifies some topics concerning Spanish universities - such as an excess of university students and universities, poor orientation of young people who have finished secondary education towards higher vocational training or limited labour advantages for graduates-, perceptions that the data do not support.

Data from the report show that universities have grown more in terms of resources than results and that although university studies undoubtedly offer individual and social benefits, the profitability of investment in human capital is limited by the significant inefficiency of universities and the characteristics of the productive fabric which employs graduates.

Among the conclusions of the study, there are three major shortcomings in universities which increase their costs: the permanent supply of studies with very little demand, low academic performance from some students and payment of research time to all teaching staff, while less than half regularly show results in this activity.

According to the study, the imbalance between educational levels and job profiles of workers with higher education in Spain can be improved by restructuring the studies offered and, above all, by a change in the productive specialization of the economy.

The report analyzes, among other issues, the relationship between university resources and results, governance, geographical distribution and distribution by branch of studies. Also examined is the mismatch between supply and demand, the profile and selection of teaching staff, research activity by professors and how the type of degree a student has affects their work opportunities.

The authors believe that the different specialization of each university in teaching and research should be taken into account when assigning tasks and resources and evaluating results. The report proposes twelve measures which could improve the quality and quantity of results in universities at lower costs.

Further information

Press release (in Spanish) 17/04/12
Press release (in Spanish) 04/10/12
Presentation (in Spanish)
Main results (in Spanish)
Full document (in Spanish)