With a reduction in government funding universities, and with over 17,000 universities for students to choose from, the competition in higher education has never been fiercer. In this chapter we examine the nature of competition in higher education, with particular reference to status competition and positional goods. Prestigious universities enjoy a similar status to luxury brands, with constant demand from a hungry market keen to share the brand association. Conversely, lesser know institutions do not enjoy the same cachet. We also examine how university rankings shape reputation and how reputation shapes rankings, often leading to perverse incentives.
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