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ERIC Number: ED514148
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-1526-2049
The Political Origins of Higher Education Performance Funding in Six States. CCRC Brief. Number 47
Dougherty, Kevin J.; Natow, Rebecca S.; Hare, Rachel J.; Vega, Blanca E.
Community College Research Center, Columbia University
This Brief summarizes a study that examined the origins of state performance funding in six states: Tennessee, Missouri, Florida, South Carolina, Washington, and Illinois. In order to capture a wide range of possible forces at work in the origins of performance funding, the authors selected states that differed in a variety of ways, including when performance funding was established, how long the system was in place, which sectors of public higher education were affected, the proportion of state higher education funding taken up by performance funding, higher education governance structures, state political culture and government functioning, degree of party competition, and differences in social characteristics such as population, income, and education. The research was based on semi-structured interviews in each state with a variety of political actors and on examinations of the documentary record in the form of public agency reports, academic books and articles, doctoral dissertations, and newspaper articles. The authors' analysis drew on two powerful theories of policy origins: the Advocacy Coalition Framework (Sabatier & Weible, 2007) and the Policy Entrepreneurship perspective (Mintrom & Norman, 2009). The Advocacy Coalition Framework looks at how policy evolves over long periods of time, driven by the efforts of different "advocacy coalitions" that have distinctive sets of beliefs about how society is and should be organized and what form higher education policy should take. The Policy Entrepreneurship perspective highlights the role of policy entrepreneurs who identify public issues, develop policy solutions, bring together political coalitions, and take advantage of timing and political opportunities to promote their policy issues and solutions. Used in conjunction, these two theories help identify important features of the politics of performance funding that are not sufficiently addressed by the prevailing literature on the origins of performance funding. The authors find that while the prevailing perspective on the rise of performance accountability is correct on a number of points, it overlooks several important elements. Their analysis confirms that the following circumstances favor the establishment of a performance funding system: a revenue/cost squeeze on elected government officials, business demand for greater government efficiency and lower costs, and a rising Republican presence in state legislatures. However, they identify a variety of actors, and their beliefs and motives, that the prevailing perspective does not address, such as advocates of performance funding from within higher education itself and their desire for new sources of public funding. They also draw greater attention to the opponents of performance funding and the long-term effects of such opposition. Finally, their research calls attention to the influence of policy learning and "policy windows" or "external shocks." [This Brief is based on CCRC Working Paper No. 22, "The Political Origins of State-Level Performance Funding for Higher Education: The Cases of Florida, Illinois, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington".]
Community College Research Center. Available from: CCRC Publications. Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street Box 174, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3091; Fax: 212-678-3699; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education
Authoring Institution: Columbia University, Community College Research Center
Identifiers - Location: Florida; Illinois; Missouri; South Carolina; Tennessee; Washington