This paper investigates differences across UK universities in 1993 life sciences students’ degree performance using individual-level data from the Universities’ Statistical Record (USR). Differences across universities are analysed by specifying and estimating a subject-specific educational production function. Even after including a wide range of controls for the quality of students, significant differences emerge across universities in students’ degree performance. We apply a two-stage estimation procedure and find evidence that a large part of ‘university effects’ cannot be explained by the kind of institutional inputs commonly used in the literature on school quality. Finally, we compare the unadjusted ranking of universities based on the proportion of ‘good’ (first and upper second class honours) degrees awarded with that based on the estimated probability of a ‘good’ degree obtained from the microeconometric model and find significant differences between the two indicators of universities’ performance
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