This study quantitatively estimates the impacts of the partial privatization of Japanese national universities (as implemented in 2004) on research performance outcomes, which are aggregated and disaggregated across research fields. Japanese private universities can be viewed as counterfactuals not targeted by the reform for the same period, which provides within-country variations in this governance/managerial change. Difference-in-differences estimation strategies using private universities as control groups show that the partial privatization of national universities has resulted in a deterioration in the quality and quantity of national universities’ research output, as constructed using publication records from 1999 to 2009. The study then estimates the effects of partial privatization disaggregated by research field and finds that only medical science is negatively affected by the partial privatization. This study is the first to provide a quantitative assessment of whether the partial privatization of Japanese universities has been favorable for research performance using an identification strategy based on a quasi-experiment. It also reveals the heterogeneous impacts across research fields and departments.
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