The Real But Limited Effects of Ideas on Policy

Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 1 Oct 2009

See all articles by Johannes Lindvall

Johannes Lindvall

Lund University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

A number of influential studies in political science argue that important economic policy changes in the rich democracies since the mid-1970s were caused by the introduction of new economic ideas. This paper claims that governments often rely on economic experts when they select policy instruments, but rarely when they set policy goals. In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the strength of Keynesianism in Austria and Denmark did not lead Austrian and Danish governments to maintain low unemployment longer than Sweden, where Keynesianism was weaker. But it did lead them to regard fiscal policy as an instrument that can be used to control the level of activity in the economy, while their Swedish counterparts instead relied on exchange rate and monetary policy.

Keywords: Experts, economic ideas, economic policy, Austria, Denmark, Sweden

JEL Classification: E63

Suggested Citation

Lindvall, Johannes, The Real But Limited Effects of Ideas on Policy (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1450303

Johannes Lindvall (Contact Author)

Lund University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 52
Lund
Sweden

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