Title: Relationship of university reputation and popularity: Analysis of Google Trends and QS worldwide university ranking
Authors: Krzysztof Rybinski - Vistula University Warsaw (Poland) [presenting]
Andrzej Wodecki - Politechnika Warszawska (Austria)
Abstract: When universities prepare and execute long-term development strategies, they face tough choices on how to allocate scarce budgets. A frequent dilemma is whether to support research, that is crucial for the university reputation and its standing in the rankings, or to spend more resources on marketing, teaching quality and possibly sports teams, that will make a university more popular. We analyse how the university reputation and university popularity are related by examining the changes in QS ranking scores (overall score, academic reputation and employer reputation) and Search Volume Indexes (in nine search categories). The preliminary analysis conducted for the 2012 - 2020 period for the top 500 universities revealed that there is a strong and significant positive relationship between the two variables. This relationship is statistically robust in both the OLS and the quantile regressions. It does not hold, however, for the best universities and in the short-run. We also documented that the positive reputation-popularity link was powerful in the first half of the 2010s and ceased to exist in the second half, indicating a possible structural change in Google searches.