A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR COMPARATIVE STUDIES OF
HIGHER EDUCATION POLICY
An AIHEPS Working Paper
Richard C. Richardson Jr.
The purpose of this paper is to refine the conceptual outcomes from the first phase
of the AIHEPS project into a framework useful for guiding higher education
policy studies that cross international boundaries and to propose the revised
framework as a design for developing and testing hypotheses in each national
setting about the linkages between policy and system performance. The intent is
to assess available evidence in each national setting about the degree to which
hypotheses generated in one are applicable to explaining performance in another.
To accomplish this purpose, the paper integrates work from the first phase of the
AIHEPS research project with insights from the current studies in Canada,
Mexico and the U.S. This version of the working paper has benefited from
suggestions based on an earlier draft reviewed at the January 2004 AIHEPS
meeting in Puebla, Mexico, suggestions from members of the U.S. team who
reviewed several iterations, and an intensive working session among senior
researchers at the University of Twente, the Netherlands in September 2004. The
paper draws upon the institutional rational choice model proposed by Ostrom (E.
Ostrom, 1999a; Sabatier & Jenkins-Smith, 1999)to address questions raised by the
earlier AIHEPS framework.
The paper begins with an overview of the framework that guided national work
during the last two years, compares this framework to the institutional analysis
and development (IAD) framework devised by Ostrom, Gardner and Walker, (E.
Ostrom, Gardner, R., Walker, J.,, 1994) and explains the reasons for incorporating
the IAD work within a revised AIHEPS framework. Finally, the paper suggests a
strategy for conducting the international comparison and provides a timeline for
completing the project.
Frameworks, Theories and Models: Defining Terminology