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Ideologies, Beliefs, and Economic Advice - A Cognitive- Evolutionary View on Economic Policy-Making


  • Tilman Slembeck

    (University of St.Gallen)


Economists often perceive the “ideological beliefs“ held by political actors as obstacles to rational policy-making. In contrast, it is argued that ideologies have characteristics that appear desirable in policy- making in that they allow political actors to credibly commit themselves to certain policies, thereby fostering rule-based behavior and predictability. Understanding the roles of ideologies and economic beliefs in the political process also enables economists to be more effective in giving economic policy advice. The roles of beliefs, ideologies, and economists as policy advisers are discussed in a cognitive-evolutionary framework of the political process, and a new research agenda is proposed. Finally, several problems and shortcomings of policy proposals are discussed with regard to the two different worlds that policy-makers and economists live in.

Suggested Citation

  • Tilman Slembeck, 2000. "Ideologies, Beliefs, and Economic Advice - A Cognitive- Evolutionary View on Economic Policy-Making," Public Economics 0004005, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0004005
    Note: Type of Document - PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on HP/PostScript; pages: 33 ; figures: included. Discussion Paper No. 2000- 12, Department of Economics, University of St.Gallen, June 2000, downloads at

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    Cited by:

    1. Eckardt, Martina, 2004. "Evolutionary approaches to legal change," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 47, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
    2. Eckardt, Martina, 2003. "The Open Method of Co-ordination on Pensions - An Economic Analysis of its Effects on Pension Reforms," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 39, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.
    3. Ha Quyen Ngo & Niklas Potrafke & Marina Riem & Christoph Schinke, 2018. "Ideology and Dissent among Economists: The Joint Economic Forecast of German Economic Research Institutes," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 44(1), pages 135-152, January.
    4. Lehmann-Waffenschmidt, Marco & Sandri, Serena, 2007. "Recursivity and Self-Referentiality of Economic Theories and Their Implications for Bounded Rational Actors," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 03/07, Technische Universität Dresden, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    policy-making; political process; cognition; evolution; beliefs; ideology; economic advice;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making

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