Regulatory Governance in Higher Education: a Comparative Analysis of Instruments, Agencies and Audiences (UNIREGOV)
Public policies in the field of higher education are rapidly transforming in numerous countries. In the last decades, the use of regulatory instruments has become the norm, either to introduce performance incentives, to encourage competition and/or to ensure the quality of the activities implemented by higher education institutions. These tendencies are part of the extension of the regulatory capacities of states across the various domains of public intervention, a trend that different authors have conceptualized as the development of the regulatory state in the context of globalization processes in the last decades (Majone, 1996; Yeung, 2011; Levi-Faur, 2013). The aim of this project is to analyse how the regulatory state has expanded in the field of higher education, delving into the different aspects of the governance of regulation. For this purpose, we are focused on a specific area, the regulation of quality, and we propose to analyse the specialized institutions responsible for performing that function -quality assurance agencies-, the communities of actors involved in its definition and development, and the specific instruments used for these purposes. The research design includes the elaboration of a database of quality agencies throughout the world, as well as the realization of four case studies (Spain, Mexico, Chile and the UK) about the specific policy communities and the selection of the regulatory instruments in each case.