The 1995 NRC Ratings of Doctoral Programs: A Hedonic Model
We describe how one can use multivariate regression models and data collected by the National Research Council as part of its recent ranking of doctoral programs (Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States: Continuity and Change) to analyze how measures of program size, faculty seniority, faculty research productivity, and faculty productivity in producing doctoral degrees influence subjective ratings of doctoral programs in 35 academic fields. Using data for one of the fields, economics, we illustrate how university administrators can use the models to compute the impact of changing the number of faculty positions they allocate to the field on the ranking of their programs. Finally, we illustrate how administrators can `decompose' the differences between a department's rating and the ratings of a group of higher ranked departments in the field into difference due to faculty size, faculty seniority, faculty research productivity, and faculty productivity in producing doctoral students. This decomposition suggests the types of questions that a department and a university should be addressing if they are serious about wanting to improve the department's ranking.