Estimation of productivity growth in the Saudi higher education sector

Yaseen Ghulam, Wael I. Mousa

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    Studies on higher educational sector efficiencies and productivities based on newly developed non-parametric techniques such as α-quantile estimator are not common compared to in other industries. By using an advanced non-parametric estimator to overcome dimension and outlier issues, we investigate the performance of Saudi Arabian higher education institutions during the period 2008 to 2014, a period characterized by a significant increase in the government educational budget and a push for the substitution of foreign labour with local under Saudization policy. We conclude that due to spending large sums of money on sponsoring PhDs from Western institutions for local young Saudis, exponential growth in investment in relation to creating and maintaining huge educational infrastructure and reforms that allowed the private sector to participate in the higher education market resulting in a significant increase in competition, productivity improved for both public and privately owned institutions due mainly to technological progress. The larger and older publicly owned influential institutions in particular played catch-up with a shift in frontier technology as well as achieving improvements in efficiency in producing graduates. We trace the significant technological progress during the sample period to better economic conditions leading to investment made in new learning technologies and human resource development. Rather disappointingly, though, an increase in Saudi females’ participation in secondary/tertiary education and academic jobs, which is part of the country’s new national economic and social policy known as Vision 2030, is negatively linked with technological progress for the larger publicly owned higher education institutions in particular.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number119741
    Number of pages15
    JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
    Early online date31 Oct 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


    • education
    • productivity
    • α-quantile estimator
    • Saudi Arabia
    • female labour market participation


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