2002 年 5 巻 p. 133-154
University evaluation has been an important policy issue since the 1990s in Japan and many institutional self-evaluations have been conducted. Additionally, there has been the emergence of “commercial university evaluations” or university rankings presented by publications such as U S News and World Report, The Financial Times, Asiaweek, and Business Week. Such rankings take place not only in Japan but also in many other countries.
This paper provides an overview of the scope and depth of commercial university rankings in Japan. The methodological strategies employed by these publications are critiqued and problematized. A simulation of the ranking is performed to investigate the effects of a highly subjective variable, institution reputation. If institutional reputation is isolated, the rankings change drastically between years. However, if reputation is included, the rankings of top universities are not changed significantly. This means that institutional reputation is a very important determinant in commercial rankings and acts as a self-perpetuating mechanism by ensuring that institutions with strong reputations remain at the top of the list. We investigate additional factors that contribute to this selfperpetuating mechanism including parent and student demand, higher education demand, and the interests of the government and other stakeholders.