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The Reductionist Gamble: Open Economy Politics in the Global Economy

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  • Oatley, Thomas

Abstract

International political economy (IPE) should transition to “third-wave” scholarship because Open Economy Politics (OEP), which dominates current American IPE scholarship, can generate inaccurate knowledge. OEP can produce inaccurate knowledge because it studies domestic politics in isolation from international or macro processes. This methodological reductionism is often inappropriate for the phenomena IPE studies because governments inhabit a complex social system. As a result, the political choices that OEP strives to explain are typically a product of the interplay between domestic politics and macro processes. When OEP omits causally significant macro processes from empirical models, the models yield biased inferences about the domestic political relationships under investigation. Although scholars tolerated such errors when the gains from OEP were large, these errors are less tolerable now that OEP has matured. Consequently, the field should transition toward research that is nonreductionist, problem-driven, and pluralistic.

Suggested Citation

  • Oatley, Thomas, 2011. "The Reductionist Gamble: Open Economy Politics in the Global Economy," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(02), pages 311-341, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:65:y:2011:i:02:p:311-341_00
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    Cited by:

    1. Farrell Henry & Newman Abraham L., 2015. "Structuring power: business and authority beyond the nation state," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 17(3), pages 527-552, October.
    2. Matthew DiGiuseppe & Patrick E. Shea, 2016. "Borrowed Time: Sovereign Finance, Regime Type, and Leader Survival," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 342-367, November.
    3. repec:wsi:jicepx:v:08:y:2017:i:01:n:s1793993317500041 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Checkel, Jeffrey T., 2014. "Mechanisms, process and the study of international institutions," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Global Governance SP IV 2014-104, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    5. Winecoff William Kindred, 2015. "Structural power and the global financial crisis: a network analytical approach," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 17(3), pages 495-525, October.

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