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Institutional traps and New Public Management in education and science


Vyacheslav V. VOLCHIK Dr. Sc. (Econ.), Head of Economic Theory Dept.

Maxim A. KORYTSEV Dr. Sc. (Econ.), Professor of Economic Theory Dept.

Elena V. MASLYUKOVA Cand. Sc. (Econ.), Associate Professor of Economic Cybernetics Dept


The article studies the phenomenon of institutional traps resulting from modern reforms in public sector and higher education in Russia in the context of New Public Management. The research methodology embraces theoretical patterns and approaches of institutional economics. The research methods include interpretative, narrative and content analysis of opinions and expressions of actors retrieved from various mass media. The ideology of New Public Management is viewed as a result of neoliberal discourse which has become increasingly popular in the past few decades all over the world. Neoliberal reforms were first initiated in the United Kingdom and a number of other developed countries in the 1980s – 1990s in many sectors, including the public one. These institutional traps are sustainable forms of the lock-in effect in the context of path dependence theory. The authors focus on primarily two types of them – the metrics trap and the bureaucracy (administrative) trap – and analyse them theoretically and empirically. Within the framework of theoretical analysis, the traps’ relevance is due to social laws such as Campbell’s law and Graeber’s “iron law of liberalism”. These laws illustrate some negative fallout in social and economic activities focused on specific indicators in the public sector. Empirically, we explore these institutional traps using narrative analysis of mass-media reports, interviews and online discussions and citations. It characterizes the way in which the reforms implemented in higher education are perceived. The authors conclude that there is the interrelation between the problems in reforming higher education and the ideology of New Public Management, which causes the need for rethinking the strategy and ideology of modern reforms in higher education.


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For citation: Volchik V.V., Korytsev M.A., Maslyukova E.V. Institutional traps and New Public Management in education and science. Upravlenets – The Manager, 2018, vol. 9, no. 6, pp. 17–29. DOI: 10.29141/2218-5003-2018-9-6-2