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Authority and Commitment: Why Universities, Like Legislatures, Are Not Organized as Firms

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  • Scott E. Masten

Abstract

"This paper explores the functions and limitations of democratic governance by analyzing the allocation of decision-making authority in colleges and universities. Contrary to the conventional perception that large numbers and heterogeneity of voters and issues undermine the efficiency of democratic decision making, data on the allocation of authority for thirty-one decision areas in 826 US colleges and universities show democratic governance to be more prevalent in larger, "full-service" research universities than in smaller liberal arts colleges and special-curriculum institutions. State- and church-affiliated institutions, meanwhile, tend to be governed more like firms. The results overall are consistent with economic theories of political organization that view democratic governance primarily as a means of enhancing the credibility of commitments rather than as a method of aggregating preferences." Copyright 2006, The Author(s) Journal Compilation (c) 2006 Blackwell Publishing.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Economics & Management Strategy.

Volume (Year): 15 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 649-684

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jemstr:v:15:y:2006:i:3:p:649-684

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Web page: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/journals/JEMS/

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Web: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=1058-6407&site=1

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Cited by:
  1. Ian Ayres & Colin Rowat & Nasser Zakariya, 2011. "Optimal voting rules for two-member tenure committees," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 323-354, February.
  2. Jens Prüfer & Uwe Walz, 2013. "Academic faculty governance and recruitment decisions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 507-529, June.
  3. Prüfer, J., 2011. "On the Evolution of Collective Enforcement Institutions: Communities and Courts," Discussion Paper 2011-017, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
  4. K. Sonin & I. Khovanskaya & M. Yudkevich., 2008. "Budget Uncertainty and Faculty Contracts: A Dynamic Framework for Comparative Analysis," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 12.
  5. Daraio, Cinzia & Bonaccorsi, Andrea & Geuna, Aldo & Lepori, Benedetto & Bach, Laurent & Bogetoft, Peter & F. Cardoso, Margarida & Castro-Martinez, Elena & Crespi, Gustavo & de Lucio, Ignacio Fernandez, 2011. "The European university landscape: A micro characterization based on evidence from the Aquameth project," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 148-164, February.
  6. Prüfer, J. & Walz, U., 2009. "How Does the Governance of Academic Faculties Affect Competition Among Them?," Discussion Paper 2009-49, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

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