How Social Movements Matter: Political Price of Tuition Hikes and Alliances

DİDEM TÜRKOĞLU, Dr.

New York University Abu Dhabi, Division of Social Science

28 May 2021, Tuesday, 16.00

Over the past two decades, every country in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has tried to raise tuitions at public universities. Not all of these proposals were implemented. Using a new dataset, this study compares the process and outcome of opposition to tuition increases across the OECD countries, along with case studies of three countries. It compares partisan politics explanations developed in comparative study of welfare states with the political mediation model developed in social movement studies, and offers a new model to analyze policy outcomes that focuses on opposition alliances. The findings suggest that contemporary policies may be vulnerable to opposition alliances between protesters outside of electoral institutions and opposition parties within the system, brokered by intermediary organizations – in this case, coalitions of student movements and opposition political parties, brokered by organized labor. These coalitions, combining contentious politics and institutional politics, require analyses that bridge the fields of political economy and social movement studies.