IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

What economists should know about public policymaking?

Listed author(s):
  • Philip Arestis
  • Yiannis Kitromilides

Economists maintain that the study of public policymaking falls outside the scope of their discipline. How and why public policies are made should be studied by political science. Policy debates in economics take place within a generally agreed framework referred to in the paper as the 'optimisation paradigm'. There are two central assumptions: 1) there is a 'technocratic' relationship between economists and policymakers based on a separation of functions: policymakers provide the objectives of policy and economists the best instruments of policy; 2) public policymaking is and ought to be 'rational'. A detailed examination of both assumptions reveals that the optimisation paradigm has serious shortcomings. This conclusion is reinforced by the accounts of many economists who have had active involvement in public policymaking. The economist's policy paradigm is in need of revision, which will inevitably require a collective effort. We recommend a return to the 'political economy' approach in which economists will participate in policymaking as 'positive political economists' rather than technical experts 'divorced' from politics.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Inderscience Enterprises Ltd in its journal Int. J. of Public Policy.

Volume (Year): 6 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1/2 ()
Pages: 136-153

in new window

Handle: RePEc:ids:ijpubp:v:6:y:2010:i:1/2:p:136-153
Contact details of provider: Web page:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ids:ijpubp:v:6:y:2010:i:1/2:p:136-153. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Darren Simpson)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.