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Extra info for Change of degrees and degrees of change : comparing adaptations of European higher education systems in the context of the Bologna process

Sample text

The issuing of a government regulation on adaptations of degree structures may then in fact be 28 the result of this process. When referring to adaptations of national degree structures as policy change, I do not confine this to the narrow definition of a classical policy; I see the entire process by which the country-specific patterns of two-cycle degree structures take shape as part of policy formulation, including position papers, newspaper articles, conferences, implementation on the ground and the like.

In economic institutionalism, the concept of institutions tends to remain confined to formal rules, laws, and contracts that constitute the ‘rules of the game’ for actors’ utility maximising behaviour. As usual in economic theory, actor preferences are externally defined and it is assumed that actors maximise their individual self-interest. Comparable to the distinction between rules and players in a game, institutions and players are thus clearly separable. The strength of economic institutionalism is that it allows for clear hypotheses about political outcomes under different institutional settings though this comes at the cost of simplifying assumptions about actor behaviour.

For this reason, and due to the agreed weaknesses of classical implementation analysis (see below), I opt for a policy-analysis rather than an implementationanalysis framework for this study. This also implies a broad understanding of policy formulation that takes into account the interaction and feedback effects between the different phases. 1) will outline the argument for this choice. 2), I show that selected concepts from implementation theory are nevertheless useful to locate my focus of analysis.

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