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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Dani Rodrik, 2013. "When Ideas Trump Interests: Preferences, World Views, and Policy Innovations," NBER Working Papers 19631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19631
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F5 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
    • P16 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies - - - Capitalist Institutions; Welfare State

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