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Open Access The British higher education funding debate: the perils of 'talking economics'

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This article examines current debates surrounding British higher education funding from a political economy perspective, drawing on 'positive' and 'institutionalist' political economy. Adopting the lens of political economy enables a critical assessment of the use of terms drawn from economics by many higher education decision-makers. Current discussions embody particular assumptions about the nature of producers and consumers in higher education, the relationship between supply and demand, and the role of information in the higher education 'market'. They also frequently fail to acknowledge the active rather than passive role of higher education institutions in shaping policy discussions surrounding higher education funding.

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Keywords: COMPETITION; HIGHER EDUCATION; MARKETISATION; POLITICAL ECONOMY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2011

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  • Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.

    LRE welcomes relevant articles and book reviews. Please email them to [email protected]

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