This paper will empirically analyse the evolution of national rule changes for the domain of post-war Dutch higher education. We focus on rule changes because in the life cycle of rules - births, changes and repeals - change is the most common event. Our theoretical framework is mainly based on the organizational ecology and top management demography literatures. We will be integrating these perspectives, adapting them to our research context. In so doing, we focus on rule density, a minister's demographic characteristics (such as age and tenure) and cabinet features (for example, power and turnover) as deteminants of rule changes. The empirical results provide significant support for the majority of our theoretical predictions. Overall, the results suggest that the ecological processes are the most robust, followed by the characteristics of ministers and the features of cabinets.