Front Page Titles (by Subject) Government Control of Universities - Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2
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Government Control of Universities - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Government Control of Universities
“Universities and Government: The Comparative Politics of Higher Education.” Comparative Politics 12(October 1979):99–121.
This review article discusses the extent and determinants of government control over the universities. Levy draws on material from six recent books: John H. Van de Graff et. al., Academic Power: Patterns of Authority in Seven National Systems of Higher Education (1978); Jerry Harr, The Politics of Higher Education in Brazil (1977); L.E. Gladieux and T.R. Wolanin, Congress and The Colleges: The National Politics of Higher Education (1976); Galo Gómez O., Chile de hoy: educación, cultura y ciencia (1976).
There are three determinants of increased government control: systemwide, intrauniversity, and extrauniversity. As to the systemwide determinants, expanding enrollment, and a declining private sector were key factors. (Shrinking or stagnating enrollments were also used as an argument for greater government control.) Expanding enrollments led to institutional proliferation which also increased governmental control, both because newer institutions lacked the entrenched power to resist control and because of the call for government coordination.
Systemwide expansion also affected intrauniversity structures. Expansion promoted demands for democratization, which helped to break down old power centers, creating a vacuum which government helped to fill. Also, government control increased because of student disorders.
Extrauniversity factors included the growing belief that university performance should be judged by how well it achieved political, economic ends. Unfortunately we lack a cross-national determinant of increased governmental control.
As for the extent of increased governmental control, it would help if one had a measurement of degrees of university autonomy. Still, the following results seem clear. The more decentralized political systems have less control over the universities. It also seems that government control over universities has been increasing due to the growing power of coordinating boards, which are supposed to help coordinate university policies with government programs in mind. Academic freedom and institutional autonomy over academic policy seem correlated positively.
Finally, four cross-national hypotheses can be drawn from the books under review. First, government exerts stronger control over important administrative appointments than over ongoing academic policy. Second, governments insist on direct control over appointment or ongoing governance. Third, strong university administrations were inversely related to strong ministerial rule. Fourth, government funding has dramatically increased, and while funding does imply control, there is not a one-to-one correlation.
Levy ends his survey by suggesting that the next step is to examine limits to the growth of governmental power and control over universities.
Economic Thought and Values
This set of summaries discloses the intimate connection between economic theory or history and political, moral, and religious values. The Keller study of business and legal history in America shows shifting legal and moral values interacting with business and economic growth. The closing O'Driscoll summary reveals the weaknesses of a wertfrei economic approach to law. The studies of Menger, Schumpeter, and Saint-Simon point out evaluations given to market and nonmarket economic approaches. Bauer's and Novak's summaries examine “the market in the dock,” or the alleged case against the free market.