Handbook on the Politics of Higher Education
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Handbook on the Politics of Higher Education

Edited by Brendan Cantwell, Hamish Coates and Roger King

Understanding the politics of Higher Education is becoming more important as the sector is increasingly recognised as a vital source of innovation, skills, economic prosperity, and personal wellbeing. Yet key political differences remain over such issues as who should pay for higher education, how should it be accountable, and how we measure its quality and productivity. Particularly, are states or markets the key in helping to address such matters. The Handbook provides framing perspectives and perspectives, chapters on funding, governance and regulation, and pieces on the political economy of higher education and on the increased role of external stakeholders and indicators.
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Chapter 12: National resource allocation decisions in higher education: objectives and dilemmas

Benedetto Lepori and Ben Jongbloed


This chapter discusses the multiple objectives and dilemmas surrounding the resource allocation decisions in higher education taken by policy-makers and public authorities at the national level. Resourcing decisions, in particular the implementation of new policy instruments, are very much driven by particular assumptions and normative points of view, bringing in issues of political choice and resolving competing demands. The authors present a critical look at the politics of funding higher education, arguing that funding reforms inspired by policy rationales such as new public management (NPM) are always implemented in higher education systems that are characterized by a multitude of competing logics, traditions and reputations. In addition, the mixed public_private character of higher education further complicates the effects of funding decisions. All of this is making simple market-oriented solutions problematic, pointing at the limitations of government intervention and funding policies and calling for a more pragmatic approach to resource allocation in higher education.

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