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Why Does College Cost So Much?$
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Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744503

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199744503.001.0001

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Is Higher Education Increasingly Dysfunctional?

Is Higher Education Increasingly Dysfunctional?

(p.92) 7 Is Higher Education Increasingly Dysfunctional?
Why Does College Cost So Much?

Robert B. Archibald

David H. Feldman

Oxford University Press

The current orthodox view of rapidly rising higher education costs is based on stories of dysfunctional behavior in higher education. This chapter summarizes the narrative of rising cost that is based on prestige games and other arms races among schools, administrative bloat, and university faculties that are increasingly and inefficiently detached from the core mission of their universities. The second half of the chapter presents evidence that is inconsistent with these explanations. If the dysfunction narrative were true, the similarities between higher education prices and prices in other industries uncovered in Chapter 2 are coincidences. Explanations based on coincidences are not appealing. The chapter also presents a series of facts about higher education costs and prices that are difficult to reconcile with the dysfunction narrative

Keywords:   administrative bloat, arms race, dysfunctionality, prestige games

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