Given the recent phenomenon of international university rankings and their increasing popularity, this thesis examines two economic issues in relation to the ranking performance at the country level. It first analyses the socioeconomic determinants of country performance in the university ranking tally. The second part of the thesis then analyses how a country's performance in the university ranking tally contributes to its education export performance. To the best of our knowledge, no previous cross country analysis of global university rankings like ours has been conducted, not to mention investigating their connections to country competitiveness in the international education market. The international university rankings are known to become more frequently used by prospective students in choosing destinations of study. Countries like Australia are increasingly relying on the higher education sector as an important export revenue generating sector. Therefore, analysing the university ranking performance at the country level and its contribution to the international education market has important implications for both higher education institutions and policymakers. This thesis makes use of the Shanghai Jiaotong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranking statistics. Using a Tobit model, our cross country analysis found that population, income per capita and national language serve as three significant contributors to a country's performance in the university ranking tally. Tertiary enrolment rate and education spending also contribute marginally. In a different set of panel modelling analysis, we used the total number of international students in a country to measure its education export performance. It was found that, amongst all variables, the ranking performance has a positive contribution to the country's performance in the international education market.