The field of economics has the potential to greatly inform our understanding of higher education, and hence institutional research. In this volume of New Directions for Institutional Research, we provide an overview of the many ways that eco–nomic concepts, models, and methods have been, and can be, applied to higher education problems encountered in institu–tional research. The chapter authors are uniquely qualified to provide this perspective: all are higher education researchers who have received graduate training in economics and have substantial experience working directly in institutional research. The chapters in this volume focus on the economist′s perspective on education costs and revenues, how economics can inform enrollment management efforts, and how institutional researchers can use economics to understand labor market issues for faculty.
1. Overview of Economic Concepts, Models, and Methods for Institutional Research (Michael B. Paulsen, Robert K. Toutkoushian)
This chapter provides an introduction to economics and how economists approach their work, and it addresses the relevance of economics for institutional research.
2. Applying Economics to Institutional Research on Higher Education Revenues (John J. Cheslock)
This chapter examines the economic concepts related to how revenues are generated by institutions of higher education and how institutional researchers can use this information in their work.
3. Using Economic Concepts in Institutional Research on Higher Education Costs (Paul T. Brinkman)
This chapter examines how marginal and average costs, and variable and fixed costs, are interpreted for colleges and universities and how these concepts can be used to inform policymaking and institutional research applications.
4. Using Economic Concepts to Inform Enrollment Management (Stephen L. DesJardins, Allison Bell)
This chapter illustrates how economic concepts can be used by institutional researchers who are involved in the enrollment management functions at their institutions.
5. Economic Contributions to Institutional Research on Faculty (Robert K. Toutkoushian)
This chapter describes how economic theories, models, and reasoning can help shape institutional research work related to faculty.
6. Economics and Institutional Research: Expanding the Connections and Applications (Michael B. Paulsen, Robert K. Toutkoushian)
This chapter briefly reviews the key contributions of economics to IR in the past and the present and then provides examples and recommendations for expanding the connections between economics and institutional research through new and/or extended uses of public sector economics in future IR applications.