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The ”Tripled Failure” of Institutional Design of Higher Education Reform in Russia

The ”Tripled Failure” of Institutional Design of Higher Education Reform in Russia

Journal of Institutional Studies, , Vol. 12 (no. 4),

Reasons and consequences of "tripled failure" in the sphere of the Russian higher education reforming are revealed in the article. These multiplying negative effects are results of designers and ordering group activity in the frame of exclusive «club». Narrow «liberal» expert community, including a group of elite universities and research centers, as a designer is in this exclusive «club». Russian state is the group that orders projects of reforming and represented with two interconnected subjects, i.e. ruling group and politicized administrators of "scientific and educational departments". Primary failure is highlighted in the choice of institutional projects those did not lead to increasing the quality of higher education during its implementation in the EU countries and the USA. The problems were not identified that linked to the fact that implemented tools of new public management were basically unable to assess the social effectiveness of higher education. This is due to the specifics of goods produced in this system. These goods are credible and they create a wide range of positive externalities. Secondary failure lies in the declarative nature of priority to increase social efficiency of higher education in Russia. This fact means that implementation of reform projects does not lead to the achievement of the declared outcomes linked with improving the quality of higher education, meeting the needs of the national economy in human capital, and opportunities for development of society. In practice, implemented formal institutions dramatically reinforce the differentiation of social and economic development of constituent entities of the Russian Federation. This is not an unintended consequence of the reformers actions, but the result of their real orientation towards the goals of private efficiency. Tertiary failure is due to the fact that designers and ordering group launched the process of “self-destruction” of higher education and science system in the long-term period pursuing their short-term private interests. The “enclave of wealth” that has been formed in this sphere absorbs the country's resources undermining the capabilities of its own development and even survival in the long-term period.


Keywords: institutional design; higher education; ruling group; politicized administrators; "enclave of wealth"

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