Behind Quality, there is Equality. An Analysis of Scientific Capital Accumulation in Social-Democratic Welfare Regimes

Trade-offs between quality and equality are at the forefront of multiple debates in higher education, and one conceptual tool to approach societies’ adjustment in resolving these trade-offs is the welfare regime typology. Relying on the theory of academic capitalism and using research production as a proxy for quality in higher education, this study analyses how social-democratic welfare regimes resolve the trade-off between comparatively high levels of academic research production, access to higher education and equal citizens’ living conditions. Interviews with 56 system actors suggest that equality is perceived to contribute to academic freedom, public investments in research and the expansion of the academic workforce, those features contributing in turn to academic research production.

This content has been updated on 14 November 2019 at 15 h 58 min.