Personal profile


Jill has been Professor of Production Economics at the University of Huddersfield since January 2015. She started her career at British Aerospace, Warton Division as a Senior Commercial Apprentice, before working as lecturer, senior lecturer and finally Reader in Production Economics at Lancaster University, where she currently has a Visiting/Honorary position.

Jill’s core research examines organisational efficiency using frontier estimation techniques. From a combination of widely-cited journal publications and two highly influential books, Jill has gained a prominent national and international research reputation in education economics. Her early work, including the book Performance Indicators in Higher Education (1990), influenced the manner in which league tables are constructed, from an output approach to the now standard value-added approach. As a consequence, Jill has worked on efficiency issues with, for example, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (D/BIS), the European Union, the Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research and the Swedish National Audit Office. She has also been invited to speak on education efficiency at a number of venues including the Swedish National Audit Office (2010), the Beijing Forum (2012), Beijing Normal University (2013), the Annual International Conference of the Association of Higher Education Researchers, Moscow (2013), Efficiency in Education Workshop, The Work Foundation, London (2014), and the 5th Workshop on Efficiency and Productivity Analysis, Catholic University Porto (2015). In addition she co-organised a conference on Efficiency in Education at the Work Foundation, London (19th to 20th September 2014) and has edited a special issue of the Journal of the Operational Research Society on Efficiency in Education (2016).

Jill has recently started to apply frontier estimation techniques in the context of the banking sector and in particular in comparing the Islamic and conventional banking business models. As testimony to her developing reputation in that context, she has presented papers on this subject at various conferences and was on the scientific committee for the Islamic Banking and Finance conference held at Lancaster University in 2014.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Production economics (measuring efficiency)

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performance Social Sciences
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Research Output 2009 2018

  • 12 Article
  • 2 Chapter
  • 1 Conference contribution
  • 1 Review article

Does merging improve efficiency?: A study of English universities

Papadimitriou, M. & Johnes, J. 21 Mar 2018 In : Studies in Higher Education. 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

efficiency analysis
1 Citations

University rankings: What do they really show?

Johnes, J. 7 Feb 2018 In : Scientometrics. 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

university ranking
1 Citations

Efficiency in education

Johnes, J., Portela, M. & Thanassoulis, E. 1 Apr 2017 In : Journal of the Operational Research Society. 68, 4, p. 331-338 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
5 Citations

Applications of data envelopment analysis in education

Thanassoulis, E., De Witte, K., Johnes, J., Johnes, G., Karagiannis, G. & Portela, C. S. 2016 International Series in Operations Research and Management Science. Springer New York LLC, Vol. 238, p. 367-438 72 p. (International Series in Operations Research and Management Science; vol. 238)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Data envelopment analysis
Data Envelopment Analysis
Efficiency Evaluation
3 Citations

Costs, efficiency, and economies of scale and scope in the English higher education sector

Johnes, G. & Johnes, J. 13 Oct 2016 In : Oxford Review of Economic Policy. 32, 4, p. 596-614 19 p., grw023

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

economy of scale
higher education
returns to scale
technical efficiency

Activities 2014 2017

  • 11 Oral presentation
  • 1 Invited talk