Higher Education Funding in Canada, the U.S. and Western Europe – A Comparison

Ben Jongbloed*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


    This chapter compares the higher education funding systems in the United States, Canada and Western Europe as described in the three previous chapters in this volume. To illustrate differences and commonalities between states we use a number of complementary perspectives and concepts: (1) Esping-Andersen’s three welfare regimes of liberal, conservative and social-democratic societies, (2) three key funding dilemmas/characteristics around funding, along with OECD statistics and information on these characteristics, (3) higher education governance modes as shown in Clark’s triangle of coordination, and (4) the perspective of policy frames driving higher education policy-making. The three policy frames we distinguish are: (1) economic competitiveness and labour market relevance, (2) scientific excellence and exclusiveness, and (3) societal challenges and inclusiveness. Bringing these perspectives together allows us not just to describe the state-of-the-art in terms of the funding mechanisms of particular states, but also sheds light on the global movement towards market-type steering through the introduction of cost sharing, competition and performance-based funding in higher education. Our argument is that national higher education governance and funding systems differ in the degrees to which they will introduce (or already have embedded) particular manifestations – or varieties – of academic capitalism.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationComparative Higher Education Politics
    Subtitle of host publicationPolicymaking in North America and Western Europe
    EditorsJens Jungblut, Martin Maltais, Erik C. Ness, Deanna Rexe
    Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Electronic)2215-1923
    ISBN (Print)978-3-031-25866-4
    Publication statusPublished - May 2023

    Publication series

    NameHigher Education Dynamics
    ISSN (Print)1571-0378
    ISSN (Electronic)2215-1923


    • Higher Education
    • Politics
    • Policy Making
    • Comparative Analysis
    • Policy arena
    • Political Economy
    • NLA


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