Measure 1: Resources
Higher institutions obtain funding for teaching and research from government, persons and corporations. Governments at different levels (federal and provincial) typically provide core funding for teaching in public institutions. Government funding will thus tend to be higher in countries with fewer private institutions. We measure total funding in both relative terms, as a percentage of GDP, and in absolute terms, namely funding per student, taking account of differences in purchasing power of money in different countries.
Expenditure on research and development (R&D) is an important determinant of economic growth. We therefore include as a measure of the strength of a nation’s higher education system, expenditure on R&D in tertiary institutions both as a percentage of GDP and per head of population, after allowing for differences in purchasing power between countries. Thus our five measures of resources are
- R1: Government expenditure on tertiary education institutions as a percentage of GDP, 2008.
- R2: Total expenditure on tertiary education institutions as a percentage of GDP, 2008.
- R3: Annual expenditure per student (full-time equivalent) by tertiary education institutions in USD purchasing power prices, 2008
- R4: Expenditure in tertiary education institutions for research and development as a percentage of GDP, 2009.
- R5: Expenditure in tertiary education institutions for research and development per head of population at USD purchasing power prices, 2009
While government funding of tertiary education is highest in three Nordic countries (Finland, Norway and Denmark), total funding as a percentage of GDP is highest in the United States and Canada. Private funding is especially important in the United States. Expenditure on R&D in tertiary institutions is highest in Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. We arrive at an overall ranking for resources by giving a double weight to the general expenditure measures, R1-R3, and a weight of 4 on public expenditure (R1) in those cases where data on private expenditure are not available. On this basis, Canada is first placed, followed by Denmark, Sweden, the United States and Norway, in that order.