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Henry Farrell on Economic Crisis and the Rise and Fall of Keynesianism in International Studies Quarterly

June 29, 2017 by Audrie Pirkl

In a recent article for Oxford Academic’s International Studies Quarterly, Henry Farrell - together with John Quiggin – discusses the current economic crisis, and the rise and fall of Keynesianism in the modern political arena. In the piece, “Consensus, Dissensus, and Economic Ideas: Economic Crisis and the Rise and Fall of Keynesianism,” Farrell and Quiggin debate whether or not sociological arguments about professions, in conjunction with those about spaces of political contention as ecologies, provide a better understanding of the puzzle of Keynesianism’s rise and decline by analyzing the different phases of the crisis, and the varying economists and political actors involved in each. The authors identify macroeconomic policy as a “hinge” issue, and make several arguments about the influence of Keynesianism in the recent economic crisis:

  • “The rise and partial fall of a new Keynesian consensus is best explained through building on the work of sociologists of the profession
  • Social structures - specifically the community structures of the academic and policymaking worlds, and how they intersect – can have crucial consequences for the role of ideas
  • Relative plausibility of similar relationships exist in other areas where the ecologies of expertise and political decision-making intersect, such as human rights, economic development, military contracting/military intervention, and financial regulation”

The paper also focuses on how to deal with demand shocks - whether that be through fiscal stimulus, conventional existing theories of the role of ideas in policy outcomes, or alternative methods - and makes the proposition that internal dynamics of prestige and status within the profession of economics intersects with policy arguments between states to contribute to a continuing economic dissensus.

Read more here.