Chapter

Is the United States Losing Its Preeminence in Higher Education?

James D. Adams

in American Universities in a Global Market

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780226110448
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226110455 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226110455.003.0002
Is the United States Losing Its Preeminence in Higher Education?

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United States universities have led the world in research and graduate education, building on firm foundations laid down in the nineteenth century, and rising to new heights during the twentieth century. US universities could be in danger of losing their preeminence, since top US private and public universities invariably rank near the pinnacle of world institutions. This chapter explains the organization of US higher education as a mixed public-private system. The expansion of research in US universities before, during, and after World War II is recounted. This is the period in which US universities progressed relative to the rest of the world. The chapter also considers the US contribution to world scientific output since the 1980s, a period during which the share of the United States declined sharply. While this is inevitable in the face of post-war recovery and world economic development, it also points to a slowdown in research output during the 1990s in the United States, due largely to a deceleration in the growth rate of resources in US public universities. Furthermore, the chapter introduces panel data covering 110 top US universities and twelve main science fields from 1981 to 1999.

Keywords: United States universities; public-private system; wage regressions; higher education; losing preeminence

Chapter.  14624 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: International Economics

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