DEAMS Research Paper Series 2013, 5


The practice of ranking public entities is not widespread in Italy. Although assessments of the quality of public services are made more and more often and the demand for public accountability is growing, neither local governments nor hospitals and local health agencies are ranked in official lists. In this context, Universities are an exception: the paper first discusses what are the causes of this different treatment. The metrics used to rank Universities and the effects of the methods are then analysed. This discussion allows to highlight how the purpose and the destination of the rank influence the whole process. Some references to the international practice are also given. One more aspect which is considered concerns the effects of rankings on the higher education institutions (HEIs). The variables used to rank institution are de facto assuming the role of key performance indicators. The strategy of each institution is therefore strongly influenced by centrally stated factors: this raises a question on the feasibility for Universities to develop their own plans and competitive strategies.