European regulatory regimes in higher education
Åse Gornitzka and Bjørn Stensaker have published the article 'The dynamics of European regulatory regimes in higher education: Challenged prerogatives and evolutionary change' in Policy and Society.
European higher education has witnessed a substantial growth in regulatory arrangements in external quality assurance (EQA) during the last couple of decades. This current article describes the central characteristics and trajectories of this expansion, and discusses drivers of this development drawing on an institutional perspective.
Empirically, three distinct, although overlapping, stages in the building up of a regulatory regime are identified – from formalization and agencification of EQA at national level, establishment of common standards at a European level, to the current stage of an emerging global market-based system. This combination of institutional layering, path-dependency, and conversion can be explained by the nature of political context and the ambiguities of regulation of quality in higher education.
In the conclusion it is argued that the development of external quality assurance as a regulatory field is an example of how the dynamics of an evolving regulatory regime may in an unexpected way limit the public control of highly institutionalized fields.
Åse Gornitzka and Bjørn Stensaker
'The dynamics of European regulatory regimes in higher education: Challenged prerogatives and evolutionary change'
Policy and Society, OnlineFirst, 2014