This book seeks to understand the economic context in East Asia, as a means to understanding the need for an improved higher education system. The book begins with a diagnosis of the current state of higher education in East Asia. Although higher education provides several noneconomic benefits, such as nation building and socialization, the book focuses on the economic benefits of higher education as they relate to skills and research. It then argues that the failure of higher education to deliver skills and research is a result of the fact that higher education institutions have been managed as disconnected individual institutions.
In other words, higher education is failing as a result of widespread disconnects between higher education institutions and the users and providers of skills and research. These disconnects are due to information, capacity, and incentive constraints that have been poorly addressed. The book concludes with an analysis of three public policies that can have a profound effect on higher education outcomes by tackling the disconnects: financing higher education, managing public higher education, and providing stewardship for higher education.