||In the major reforms to higher education being introduced throughout the world, market and "market-like" policy instruments are assuming increasing importance. Long perceived as a unique characteristic of the U. S. system of higher education, experiments with market competition in academic labor markets, institutional finance, student support, and the allocation of research funds are now evident in the higher education policy of many different nations. Ironically, the overt rationale for these reforms is not only the traditional argument of economic efficiency--with its supposed corollary benefits of institutional adaptation and innovation--but increasingly a resort to market competition as a means of achieving equity in the form of mass higher education. The paper explores the nature of markets in higher education, the policy mechanisms related to their implementation, and some emerging questions regarding their impact. .