Economics versus Politics: Pitfalls of Policy Advice
AbstractThe standard approach to policy making and advice in economics implicitly or explicitly ignores politics and political economy and maintains that if possible, any market failure should be rapidly removed. This essay explains why this conclusion may be incorrect; because it ignores politics, this approach is oblivious to the impact of the removal of market failures on future political equilibria and economic efficiency, which can be deleterious. We first outline a simple framework for the study of the impact of current economic policies on future political equilibria -- and indirectly on future economic outcomes. We then illustrate the mechanisms through which such impacts might operate using a series of examples. The main message is that sound economic policy should be based on a careful analysis of political economy and should factor in its influence on future political equilibria.
CitationAcemoglu, Daron, and James A. Robinson. 2013. "Economics versus Politics: Pitfalls of Policy Advice." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 27 (2): 173-92. DOI: 10.1257/jep.27.2.173
- A11 Role of Economics; Role of Economists
- D72 Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- E60 Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General