The Rise and Decline of a University
31 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2015
Date Written: May 2015
We examine the past rise and more recent decline of Saint Louis University (SLU) from the perspective of economic growth theory, which is commonly used to explain the rise and decline of nations. Consistent with neoclassical growth theory, we suggest that the simple accumulation of capital explains much of SLU's past rise. Over time, political power became increasingly concentrated among a relatively small group of elites led by the university President. In line with the New Institutional Economics, we argue that this concentration of power explains SLU's more recent decline. During the 2012-2013 academic year, this decline precipitated a critical juncture -- a confluence of factors that emerge and provide an opportunity to overturn the status quo. Further drawing on growth theory, we discuss the challenges ahead and explore conditions under which SLU might expect this critical juncture to generate a brighter future.
Keywords: Saint Louis University, Economic growth theory, Capital accumulation, New Institutional Economics, Inclusive and extractive institutions, Critical juncture, Elites
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