Since the 1990ies the higher education system in the German speaking area has been faced an essential paradigm change: The model of governmental steering and control was replaced by the model of governmental supervision following the concept of New Public Management. It was assumed that an enlargement of autonomy would increase the effciency of the whole tertiary system. At the same time, the restructuring
of the European higher education system has been started in
1999 by implementing the Bologna reforms. To investigate how the Swiss universities have digested the national and international reforms we apply an input distance function and estimate the technical effciency of a panel data set containing all of the 12 Swiss universities for the period of 1999-2008 both at university level and discipline level.
We find essential effciency variations across the disciplines caused by structural differences regarding the endowment with ressources and output targets which indicate the need to analyse effciency at a disaggregated level. Furthermore, our results show that there are external determinants that affect the effciency of Swiss universities.