Fernando Alexandre, Ana Rute Cardoso, Miguel Portela, Carla Sá, 18 December 2008

Shortening the first cycle in higher education studies is one of the most controversial aspects of the Bologna reforms. Recent research suggests students are voting-with-their-feet in support of this reform as study programs adopting the Bologna principles have seen a rise in demand.

Rick van der Ploeg, Reinhilde Veugelers, 27 September 2008

International rankings indicate that European countries lag in higher education, research, innovation, and growth. This column argues that enhancing competition and governance are the key aspects of potential reform. But the most important recommendation is to invest in more data and analysis to support evidence-based reform.

Manuel Bagues, Natalia Zinovyeva, Mauro Sylos Labini, 10 September 2008

Some European governments aim to promote their universities’ performance in international rankings by creating financial incentives. This column explains that such policies can backfire, taking the example of recent research on Italy. Policy makers should be very cautious in using students’ academic performance as a proxy for university value.

Philippe Aghion, Mathias Dewatripont, Caroline Hoxby, Andreu Mas-Colell, André Sapir, 01 October 2007

With few exceptions, European universities do very poorly in international rankings. Recent empirical work suggests that spending and budgetary autonomy account for the poor performance of most European universities on the one hand, and the excellent performance of the few European stars on the other.

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