ESEP 13:203-213 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00147

Which came first: the money or the rank?

Athanassios C. Tsikliras1,*, David Robinson2, Konstantinos I. Stergiou1,3

1Laboratory of Ichthyology, Department of Zoology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, UP Box 134, 541 24 Thessaloniki, Greece
2Education International, 5 blvd du Roi Albert II, 1210 Brussels, Belgium
3Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Aghios Kosmas, 16777 Athens, Greece
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Global university rankings are provided by several organisations based on various criteria, most of which are, directly or indirectly, related to the wealth of the university. The main objective of this work was to examine the effect of money on rankings and vice versa. First, we examined the relationship between global university rankings and professors’ salaries and found an asymptotic trend for all ranks of professors across the top 200 US universities, but no trend for the top Canadian universities. Second, we examined the relationship between global university rankings and university income and found a positive trend for UK and Canadian universities. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the funding (as well as autonomy and support of the state) of a university and its position in global rankings are related. We maintain that European universities in several countries will not make it into the top 100 list unless their autonomy and public funding are increased. Instead, the recent decrease in public funding of universities in many European countries, as a result of the economic crisis, threatens to push these institutions further down the ranking lists.


KEY WORDS: University rankings · Income · Professor salary · Endowments · Funding


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Cite this article as: Tsikliras AC, Robinson D, Stergiou KI (2014) Which came first: the money or the rank?. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 13:203-213. https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00147

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