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 21: Regulating higher education: national audit explosions in international markets

Martin Lodge


The regulation of higher education has witnessed considerable challenges over the past two decades or so. One is the ‘audit explosion’ of national research and teaching quality regulatory regimes. The other is the growing international positional competition of national higher education systems and institutions that challenged the relevance of national regulation. This chapter summarizes change in regulatory regimes across (developed) countries to highlight the move towards regulation that has emphasized oversight and rivalry, but has maintained a considerable emphasis on peer-review. The chapters considers these overall trends and notes the unintended consequence of the diagnosed audit explosion and internationalized positional competition.

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