Building the (Higher)Education Stakeholder: The Realities of Economics in Higher Education

  • Geanina NaeEmail author
  • Virgil Nae
Part of the Cultural Psychology of Education book series (CPED, volume 7)


With the development of the human capital theory in the 1960s, education policy and its impact on societal advancement became an integral part of the economic policy. Under the assumptions that education leads to increased individual productivity, that earnings are a proxy for productivity (i.e., the more productive you are, the more you will earn, the more you earn, the more preferences one would satisfy and as such enhance your well-being), and that raising average and total incomes generate economic growth, education continues to translate into both a good individual investment and a key element of societal advancement. Regardless of how performance is defined, in an era of tight public budgets, it is not surprising that to bring private sector’s skills and control into higher education and to tap into private money was fathomed to represent the new panacea for improved efficiency and financial capacity. Attracting less controversy than privatization, attempting to recast the tension between the efficient and creative private sector and the bloated, stagnant public one, new management techniques are being introduced. Recognizing the fact that (higher)education and power are intertwined in a process of reciprocal legitimization is nothing new. Economically “parasitic,” universities have always relied on external sources of support, a support that brought to a varying extent also a certain degree of control from the sources of power in society, be it the church, the state or more recently the market. We believe that the idiographic focus on the qualitative hierarchical heterogeneity of the human psyche can enable us to conceive economics, education, and other social constructs alike in a holistic, multi-layered dynamic way, non-reducible, neither downwards to preferences/ behavioral linearity nor upwards, portraying individual as diluted into the collective, “the public.”


Homo economicus New public management Education Privatization, (Public) Value 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Investment BankLuxembourgLuxembourg

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