Partisanship, Political Polarization, and State Higher Education Budget Outcomes

Journal of Higher Education 85(4), 468-496.

Posted: 28 Mar 2010 Last revised: 12 Nov 2015

See all articles by Luciana Dar

Luciana Dar

University of California, Riverside

Dong-wook Lee

Department of Politics and Policy

Date Written: September 15, 2013

Abstract

We explore the impact of partisanship in state governments on policy expenditures and priorities in a public policy area where the distribution of policy preferences does not fall clearly on the standard left-right political spectrum. We begin with the assumptions that (1) partisanship affects policy issues differently, due to variability in their substance and dimensionality; (2) party coalitions are heterogeneous, change over time, and are influenced by a variety of policy-demanding groups; and (3) policy preferences and policy priorities differ depending on a variety of factors (i.e., issue salience, economic cycles, and political polarization). We argue that, under these assumptions, parties matter, but the relevance and size of the effects are conditional on political polarization and economic conditions. We focus our analysis on higher education due to its complex policy space by providing both collective and particularized benefits and by presenting a growing mismatch between constituency preferences and policy outcomes. We find evidence that Democratic Party strength has a positive impact on state funding for higher education, but this positive effect diminishes as political polarization or unemployment rates increase.

Keywords: Partisanship, State Spending, Higher Education

JEL Classification: H72, I22

Suggested Citation

Dar, Luciana and Lee, Dong-wook, Partisanship, Political Polarization, and State Higher Education Budget Outcomes (September 15, 2013). Journal of Higher Education 85(4), 468-496. . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1577365 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1577365

Luciana Dar (Contact Author)

University of California, Riverside ( email )

Sproul 2104
900 University Ave
Riverside, CA 92521
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.lucianadar.com

Dong-wook Lee

Department of Politics and Policy ( email )

Claremont, CA 91711
United States

HOME PAGE: http://dwleecgu.wordpress.com

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