Measuring the provincial supply of higher education institutions in China

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18 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes and estimates three novel higher education indices for 31 Chinese provinces: i) the Chinese Higher Education Density Index (CHEDI) to analyze the evolution of the quantitative distribution of higher education institutions (HEIs) in each province from 2001 to 2017, which is further decomposed into subgroups based on the type of college, i.e., four-year undergraduate colleges, two-year vocational colleges, and private institutions; ii) the Chinese Higher Education Quality Index (CHEQI) to examine the supply of higher education in terms of quality using a university ranking system; and iii) the Chinese Higher Education Index (CHEI), a composite indicator that incorporates both the quantity and quality dimensions of higher education institutions for each province, providing a weighted measure of the supply of higher education in China. The empirical findings indicate a significant and persistent heterogeneity in the supply of higher education between provinces. The indices identify which regions have been substantially rewarded by the higher education expansion of recent decades, going from an undersupply to a proportionate supply of higher education institutions. On the other hand, a significant share of regions still has a low supply in terms of either the quantity or quality of HEIs, or both.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101724
JournalChina Economic Review
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • China
  • Higher education
  • Human development
  • Index
  • Rankings


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