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Higher Education Accreditation: Market Regulation or Government Regulation Revisited


  • Joshua C. Hall

    (West Virginia University, Department of Economics)


Higher education is under fire in the United States. Pressure, both financial and political, is being placed on colleges and universities to reform. One barrier to reform that has been put forth is accreditation. While calls for reform have identified what appear to be problems with accreditation, it is important to not engage in the nirvana fallacy and assume that what we can imagine will be better will be better. In that light, I look at the history of the accreditation process with a focus on the role the federal government has played and how that has in uenced other players in the higher education market. After surveying the history, I conclude that accreditation as currently practiced in not self- regulation, but rather government regulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua C. Hall, 2015. "Higher Education Accreditation: Market Regulation or Government Regulation Revisited," Working Papers 15-42, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
  • Handle: RePEc:wvu:wpaper:15-42

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Justin Ross, 2008. "A theoretical model of the distribution of teacher attention under benchmark testing," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 9(29), pages 1-8.
    2. John Bound & Sarah Turner, 2002. "Going to War and Going to College: Did World War II and the G.I. Bill Increase Educational Attainment for Returning Veterans?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 784-815, October.
    3. Demsetz, Harold, 1969. "Information and Efficiency: Another Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-22, April.
    4. Rotella, Elyce J., 1981. "The Transformation of the American Office: Changes in Employment and Technology," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(01), pages 51-57, March.
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    More about this item


    accreditation; quality assurance; cartel; market process;

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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