The university rankings game: Modeling the competition among universities for ranking

Rajdeep Grewal, James A. Dearden, Gary L. Lilien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


With university rankings gaining both in popularity and influence, university administrators develop strategies to improve their rankings. To better understand this competition for ranking, we present an adjacent category logit model to address the localized nature of ranking competition and include lagged rank as an independent variable to account for stickiness of ranking. Calibrating our model with data from U.S. News and World Report from 1999-2006 shows persistence in ranking and identifies important interactions among university attributes and lagged rank. The model provides (lagged) rank-specific elasticities of ranks with respect to changes in university characteristics, thereby offering insight about the effect of a university's strategy on its rank.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-237
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Statistician
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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