Guide to Reform of Higher Education: A European Perspective

57 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2006

See all articles by Bas Jacobs

Bas Jacobs

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR); Tinbergen Institute; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Rick van der Ploeg

University of Oxford

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Although there are exceptions, most European universities and institutions of higher education find it difficult to compete with the best universities in the Anglo-Saxon world. Despite the Bologna Agreement and the ambitions of the Lisbon Agenda, European universities are in need of fundamental reforms. We look at structural reforms of higher education and propose more effective use of public subsidies, more efficient modes of financing institutions of higher education, more diversity, competition, and transparency, larger private contributions and more equity. In the process we discuss the nature and governance of an institution of higher education, selection, hierarchy in higher education, grade-inflation, fair competition, private and social returns to education, income-contingent loans, equity, and transparency. We sum up with seven recommendations for reform of higher education in Europe.

Suggested Citation

Jacobs, Bas and van der Ploeg, Frederick, Guide to Reform of Higher Education: A European Perspective. Economic Policy, Vol. 21, No. 47, pp. 535-592, July 2006. Available at SSRN: or

Bas Jacobs (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

PO Box 1738
Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3000 DR
+314081452 (Phone)


Tinbergen Institute ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062 PA

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679

Frederick Van der Ploeg

University of Oxford ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom

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