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The Political Economy of the Service Transition$
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Anne Wren

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199657285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657285.001.0001

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A Tale of Two Trilemmas: Varieties of Higher Education and the Service Economy

A Tale of Two Trilemmas: Varieties of Higher Education and the Service Economy

Chapter:
(p.195) 6 A Tale of Two Trilemmas: Varieties of Higher Education and the Service Economy
Source:
The Political Economy of the Service Transition
Author(s):

Ben Ansell

Jane Gingrich

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199657285.003.0006

In this chapter, Ansell and Gingrich examine how the politics of higher education shape national responses to the challenge of the service transition. Specifically, they argue that applying Ansell’s (2008) distinction between elite, mass public, and partially private higher education systems helps to explain the different patterns of employment in the service sector. The authors analyze data on higher education enrolment and service sector employment across twenty-three OECD countries. They show that while states with partially private systems (typically liberal political economies like the United States and the United Kingdom) have increased employment in the so-called “FIRE” services (finance, insurance, and real estate), states with mass public systems (the Scandinavian social democratic welfare states) have channeled workers with higher education into publicly provided social services. Meanwhile, in the “elite” higher education systems with restricted enrolment, such as those in Continental European states, labor supply may not be adequate to meet labor demand in highly skilled dynamic sectors (or in social services), thereby restraining the move away from manufacturing. The authors argue that the social democratic and liberal cases represent two distinct equilibria underpinned by the invested interests of highly skilled workers, making significant reforms of higher educational systems (and an associated alteration in service sector development paths) unlikely.

Keywords:   education politics, service transition, service economy, service employment, higher education systems, welfare state, social democratic regimes, liberal regimes, Continental regimes

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