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When Ideas Trump Interests: Preferences, World Views, and Policy Innovations

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  • Dani Rodrik

Abstract

The contemporary approach to political economy is built around vested interests – elites, lobbies, and rent-seeking groups which get their way at the expense of the general public. The role of ideas in shaping those interests is typically ignored or downplayed. Yet each of the three components of the standard optimization problem in political economy – preferences, constraints, and choice variables – rely on an implicit set of ideas. Once the manner in which ideas enter these frameworks is made explicit, a much richer and more convincing set of results can be obtained. In particular, new ideas about policy—or policy entrepreneurship—can exert an independent effect on equilibrium outcomes even in the absence of changes in the configuration of political power.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19631.

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Date of creation: Nov 2013
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Publication status: published as Dani Rodrik, 2014. "When Ideas Trump Interests: Preferences, Worldviews, and Policy Innovations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(1), pages 189-208, Winter.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19631

Note: DEV ITI POL
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  1. Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 2002. "Evolutionary Theorizing in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 23-46, Spring.
  2. Krueger, Anne O, 1997. "Trade Policy and Economic Development: How We Learn," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 1-22, March.
  3. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
  4. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
  5. I. M. Destler, 2005. "American Trade Politics 4th Edition," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 3829.
  6. Ruggie, John Gerard, 1998. "What Makes the World Hang Together? Neo-utilitarianism and the Social Constructivist Challenge," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 855-885, September.
  7. Hammond, Peter J, 1979. "Straightforward Individual Incentive Compatibility in Large Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 263-82, April.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Nelson Mandela, Leadership and Ideas
    by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson in Why Nations Fail on 2013-12-13 22:51:39
  2. How Ideas Matter
    by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson in Why Nations Fail on 2013-12-31 02:32:22
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Cited by:
  1. Hillel Rapoport & Andreas Steinmayr & Christoph Trebesch & Toman Omar Mahmoud, 2013. "The Effect of Labor Migration on the Diffusion of Democracy: Evidence from a Former Soviet Republic," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1320, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.

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