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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
    Note: DEV ITI POL
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
    2. I. M. Destler, 2005. "American Trade Politics 4th Edition," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 3829.
    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. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. David Yanagizawa-Drott, 2012. "Propaganda and Conflict: Theory and Evidence from the Rwandan Genocide," CID Working Papers 257, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    7. 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.
    8. Peter J. Hammond, 1979. "Straightforward Individual Incentive Compatibility in Large Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(2), pages 263-282.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F5 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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