Luciana Dar

University of California, Riverside
Graduate School of Education

2104 Sproul
900 University Avenue
Riverside, CA
92527 |  Visit Personal Website

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I am an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of California, Riverside. My research interests are on higher education politics, policy and finance, with an emphasis on the political and economic processes affecting government decisions to support and regulate higher education.

Dar, Luciana. 2014. "Toward a Better Understanding of Equity in Higher Education Finance and Policy." Michael Paulsen ed. Higher Education: Handbook for Theory and Research 29:535-571
Abstract: This chapter addresses the question: under what conditions do higher education policies promote equity? I argue that the lack of shared knowledge and precision over what constitutes equity-enhancing policies undermines our efforts to identify and compare educational policies and practices that reconcile individual and public needs in a democracy. I review the theoretical and philosophical foundations of the terms equality and equity, paying particular attention to the contributions of political philosophers interested in (higher) education as a means of achieving distributive fairness, followed by a discussion of the application challenges involved in defining, measuring, and evaluating empirically whether a particular policy or outcome is more or less equitable.
Dar, Luciana, and Dong-Wook Lee. 2014. "Partisanship, Political Polarization and State Higher Education Budget Outcomes." Journal of Higher Education 85 (4):468-96.
Abstract: We explore the impact of partisanship in state governments on policy expenditures and priorities in a public policy area where the distribution of policy preferences does not fall clearly on the standard left-right political spectrum. We begin with the assumptions that (1) partisanship affects policy issues differently, due to variability in their substance and dimensionality; (2) party coalitions are heterogeneous, change over time, and are influenced by a variety of policy-demanding groups; and (3) policy preferences and policy priorities differ depending on a variety of factors (i.e., issue salience, economic cycles, and political polarization). We argue that, under these assumptions, parties matter, but the relevance and size of the effects are conditional on political polarization and economic conditions. We focus our analysis on higher education due to its complex policy space by providing both collective and particularized benefits and by presenting a growing mismatch between constituency preferences and policy outcomes. We find evidence that Democratic Party strength has a positive impact on state funding for higher education, but this positive effect diminishes as political polarization or unemployment rates increase.
Dar, Luciana. 2012. "The Political Dynamics of Higher Education Policy." Journal of Higher Education 83 (6):769-94.
Abstract: This paper presents a framework informed by spatial models of politics to explain the dynamics of political competition in higher education policy and, in particular, the observed instability in the relationship between political variables and policy outcomes. To this end, I explore competing hypotheses for the relationship between government ideology and higher education spending decisions as well as test them using California data from 1976 to 2006. The results show that the growing polarization of ideological preferences explains, in part, shifts in states' policy priorities, leading to a gradual privatization of public higher education.

Substantive Focus:
Education Policy PRIMARY
Comparative Public Policy SECONDARY

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory SECONDARY
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation PRIMARY