Special Section Introduction: Epistemic politics in international and comparative political economy

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Abstract

Economic orthodoxy has faced multiple challenges over recent years, ranging from the global financial crisis and economic populism to the Covid-19 pandemic and the spectre of stagflation. This has generated significant policy innovations, like quantitative easing and the furlough schemes, while heterodox economic ideas (briefly) gained notoriety. Yet these shifts have frequently been grafted onto pre-existing institutional and discursive templates, anchored by the assumption that they represent a temporary deviation from ‘normal’ equilibrium conditions. To make sense of these dynamics of crisis, change and continuity, this special section showcases an ‘epistemic politics’ approach that foregrounds the political life of economic knowledge. It is framed around three questions. What has been the role of economic knowledge and expertise in shaping policy and regulation over the past decade? To what extent have dominant economic ideas, theories and models been impacted by political conflicts and emergent issues? How have policy makers navigated economic crises and uncertainty through cognitive and discursive practices? This introductory paper sets out the ambition for the special section by defining our understanding of epistemic politics, before detailing the threefold contribution it makes to wider scholarship in IPE and CPE. It concludes with an overview of the five papers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalNEW POLITICAL ECONOMY
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 May 2024

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