Presentation on theme: "WHAT IS A PUBLIC GOOD? Three aspects of a public good Non-rival in consumption – no extra cost to adding users Non-excludability – no possible limitations."— Presentation transcript:
WHAT IS A PUBLIC GOOD? Three aspects of a public good Non-rival in consumption – no extra cost to adding users Non-excludability – no possible limitations on access Non-rejectability – no choice as to use of good
Example of a pure public good Lighthouse- extra user doesn’t require more bulbs Can’t stop ships from seeing light User cannot refuse to see the light
Is HE a public good in the same way as a lighthouse? Are HE providers lighthouses, students ships, researchers lightbulb filaments, governments lightbulb purchasers, pedagogical methods photons, professors the medium through which the photons are propogated, administrators lighthouse keepers?
Does HE display non-rivalness Does HE require extra funding to cater for extra students?- yes, sometimes-course materials, laboratory supplies etc… MIT and e-delivered courses have made the issue less clear as knowledge and sometimes support is available to all on a non-rival basis However, knowledge is impotent in the hands of the uneducated
Non-excludability It is possible to bar students from classes and support sessions However, distance learning has again fudged the issue
Non-rejectability It is possible not to listen but… Social benefits are enjoyed by all These externalities are the basis of feeling that HE is public property HE may not fall neatly into the definition of a pure public good but has an important public function
Equity=Equality of access to HE? Equity of treatment implies that all parties have access to the same rules and procedures for entry to HE Equality of opportunity implies that all parties have access to HE despite their financial and sometimes other circumstance
Methods of moving from equity to equality Targeting social funds through vouchers, means based fees reductions, cost sharing and grants However: implementation a major problem with vouchers and grants in developing countries Fees reduction irrelevant to someone living on $2 per day and/or contributing to household
Trade in HE threaten public function of HE? Pressure for HEIs to compete instead of cooperating in research and dissemination, TRIPS may have an impact Pressure to accept fee payers in deference to non-fee payers Emphasis from content to marketing - students mislead
Can public and private providers share same public mission? Private foundations as in Belgium can support public interest in much the same way as public universities For-profit institutions do not have an interest in promoting aspects of the public interest agenda eg: base research, accepting entry based on merit (equality and democratisation mission)
Commercialisation and developing countries Issues around access based on merit TNE provision where HEI is not recognised in home country can be expensive and costly for student May subvert growth of domestic providers Often lax regulatory framework Joint TNE initiatives can be beneficial
Policy issues for governments and institutions Powerful multiplier effect with HE investment may justify public investment by developing countries Targeting poor often subject to implementation failures in developing countries Conduct of domestic HEI providers when operating in a TNE context should be monitored and role in domestic provision understood
More policy… Academic freedom legislation- TRIPS may prompt HEIs to be more secretive GATS may effect weakening of regulatory framework and have many other effects on state’s ability to direct its HE strategy
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