Markets in Higher Education: Can We Still Learn from Economics' Founding Fathers?

Abstract: 

Markets or market-like mechanisms are playing an increasing role in higher education, with visible consequences both for the regulation of higher education systems as a whole, as well as for the governance mechanisms of individual institutions. This article traces the history of economists’ views on the role of education, from Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, Alfred Marshall, and Milton Friedman, to present-day debates about the relevance of market economies to higher education policy. Recent developments in higher education policy reflect both the rising strength of market mechanisms in higher education worldwide, and a certain ambivalence about these developments. The author argues that despite the peculiarities of the higher education sector, economic theory can be a very useful tool for the analysis of the current state of higher education systems and recent trends in higher education policy.

Author: 
Pedro Nuno Teixeira
Publication date: 
March 1, 2006
Publication type: 
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
Citation: 
Teixeira, P. N. (2006). Markets in Higher Education: Can We Still Learn from Economics' Founding Fathers? UC Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education.