Contract arrangements in the Nordic countries - solving the efficiency/effectiveness dilemma?

Åse Gornitzka, Bjørn Stensaker, Jens-Christian Smeby, Harry F. de Boer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Steering higher education through the establishment of a "contract" between the state and the individual higher education institution is becoming an increasingly popular way of regulating the relationship between the two actors in the Nordic countries. This article addresses some theoretical foundations for this approach derived from principal/agent theory and analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of established contract arrangements in Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. The article discusses the potential of using such arrangements in relation to the efficiency/effectiveness dilemma. It is emphasized that trust is vital in solving this dilemma and that the balance between the need for public accountability, the efficient regulation of higher education, and institutional change must be given high priority in refining existing contractual arrangements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)87-101
    Number of pages15
    JournalHigher education in Europe
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • METIS-218145


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