When Do You Get Economists as Policy-Makers?

47 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2012 Last revised: 16 Jan 2018

See all articles by Mark Hallerberg

Mark Hallerberg

Hertie School of Governance

Joachim Wehner

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Date Written: January 14, 2018


We analyze when economists become top-level “economic policy-makers,” focusing on financial crises and the partisanship of a country’s leader. We present a new dataset of the educational and occupational background of 1200 political leaders, finance ministers, and central bank governors from 40 developed democracies from 1973 to 2010. We find that left leaders appoint economic policy-makers who are more highly trained in economics and finance ministers who are less likely to have private finance backgrounds but more likely to be former central bankers. Finance ministers appointed during financial crises are less likely to have a financial services background. A leader’s exposure to economics training is also related to appointments. This suggests one crucial mechanism for affecting economic policy is through the selection of certain types of economic policy-makers.

Keywords: financial crisis, finance ministry, central bank, finance, fiscal policy, monetary policy, partisanship

Suggested Citation

Hallerberg, Mark and Wehner, Joachim, When Do You Get Economists as Policy-Makers? (January 14, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2191490 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2191490

Mark Hallerberg (Contact Author)

Hertie School of Governance ( email )

Friedrichstr. 180
Berlin, Berlin 10117

Joachim Wehner

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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