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Applying the varieties of capitalism approach to higher education: A case study of the internationalisation strategies of German and British universities

  • Graf, Lukas
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    In recent years the global market for higher education has expanded rapidly while internationalisation strategies have been developed at university, national, as well as European levels, all with the aim to increase the competitiveness of higher education institutions. This paper asks how different institutional settings explain distinct national patterns found in the internationalisation of universities, observed to be based largely on either market coordination or strategic interaction of the involved actors. Existing concepts from the Varieties of Capitalism literature, such as institutional complementarity and comparative institutional advantage, are introduced to the comparative study of higher education systems and applied to develop a theoretical framework for an institutional analysis of university strategies in the global market for higher education. In a case study, the analytical framework is then deployed to contrast the internationalisation of universities in Germany and the United Kingdom. The internationalisation processes reflect the mode of coordination in the respective higher education systems and national models of capitalism. Further insights are that the conceptual toolbox of the Varieties of Capitalism approach can be fruitfully applied to higher education, and that it is possible to enhance the framework by adding the state as a significant factor in differentiation.

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    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets with number SP I 2008-507.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbslm:spi2008507
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    1. Amable, Bruno, 1999. "Institutional complementarity and diversity of social systems of innovation and production," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 99-309, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    2. Colin C. Williams, 2004. "Informal volunteering: Some lessons from the United Kingdom," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 613-616.
    3. Papatheodorou, Christos & Pavlopoulos, Dimitris, 2003. "Accounting for inequality in the EU: Income disparities between and within member states and overall income inequality," MPRA Paper 209, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Powell, Justin J. W. & Solga, Heike, 2008. "Internationalization of vocational and higher education systems: A comparative-institutional approach," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets SP I 2008-501, .
    5. Amable, Bruno, 2003. "The Diversity of Modern Capitalism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199261147.
    6. Crouch, Colin, 2005. "Capitalist Diversity and Change: Recombinant Governance and Institutional Entrepreneurs," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286652.
    7. Moerland, Pieter W., 1995. "Alternative disciplinary mechanisms in different corporate systems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 17-34, January.
    8. Schmidt, Vivien A., 2002. "The Futures of European Capitalism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199253685.
    9. A. E. Fernández Jilberto, 1991. "Introduction," International Journal of Political Economy, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 21(1), pages 3-9, April.
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