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Think Tank networks of German neoliberalism. Power structures in economics and economic policies in post-war Germany

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  • Stephan Puehringer

Abstract

Even after the financial crisis, economists still exert influence on politics and society in general on several levels and thus can be still interpreted as a discipline of power. Particularly in Germany there is a long tradition of institutionalized economic policy advice, which offers economists a channel of direct and indirect impact on politics. During the European crisis policies many scholar stressed a "comeback", "revival" or "return" of ordoliberalism, the German variety of neoliberalism. In this paper I show how economists connected in the "German neoliberal thought collective" since the end of WW II have built up a strong institutional powerstructure, which had a continuous impact on German economic politics over many decades. It can be shown that in several turning points of German economic history, German neoliberalism and its core politico-economic concept of "Social market economy" served as guiding principle of economic policy. Furthermore I will show that up to now there is an uneven power balance among economists with high political and societal influence, i.e. economists connected in Keynesian or union-linked networks are in a minority position compared to the dense network of economists in the "German neoliberale thought collective". Hence, what was observed during the European crisis policies as a "comeback of ordoliberalism" should rather be interpreted as the consequence of a persistant influence of German neoliberal networks on German economic politics over many decades.

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  • Stephan Puehringer, 2016. "Think Tank networks of German neoliberalism. Power structures in economics and economic policies in post-war Germany," ICAE Working Papers 53, Johannes Kepler University, Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ico:wpaper:53
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Isabella M. Weber, 2019. "How to Make a Miracle? Ludwig Erhard’s Post-War Price Liberalisation in China’s 1980s Reform Debate," Working Papers 1903, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • B53 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Austrian
    • Z18 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Public Policy

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