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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Undercurrents influencing public funding for Canadian higher education institutions, 1963-1997 : economic discomfort and policy mood Snee, Iain


There is a tenuous link between government intentions and funding for higher education institutions during recessions. Sorting out this puzzle involves developing a better understanding of the influences on government policy choices for funding. This study uses theoretical frameworks from political science to guide the design and selection of measures to interpret economic and political variables associated with government expenditures on higher education institutions in Canada between 1963 and 1997. The general model builds on current variables used in the literature by adding measures of voters’ economic discomfort, policy feedback through prior period expenditures, and constructing a measure of policy mood of federal voters as a proxy for public opinion. In general, federal funding for universities tends to decrease with policy feedback, community college funding increases with economic discomfort, and vocational funding decrease as federal GDP increases. At the same time, provincial funding for universities tends to increase with provincial GDP and community college funding increases with provincial GDP and Employment Insurance applications. In summary, there is a statistically significant trend of federal government expenditures shifting funds between institutional types during recessions. In the Maritimes, federal funding creates a net shift from community colleges to vocational institutes. Outside of the Maritimes, federal funding tends to shift from community colleges to universities and vocational institutes.

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