Micro- or macro-moralities? Economic discourses and policy possibilities

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Best, Jacqueline
Widmaier, Wesley
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2006
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This paper highlights the ethical implications of the distinction between micro- and macroeconomics, arguing that the methodological emphasis on establishing microfoundations has hardened into a liberal-individualist normative bias. We first argue that the key difference between micro- and macroeconomics is less any ostensible concern for small- or large-scale processes than a value-laden emphasis on the priority of private or public interests. We then show how these methodological assumptions have structured policy debates over the past century, from the emergence of Keynesian macroeconomics in the aftermath of the Great Depression to the more recent neoliberal emphasis on policy credibility. This analysis highlights the unappreciated ethical components of policy debates in the age of globalization, and the ways in which methodological biases infuse even the most ostensibly positive models with normative implications.

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Review of International Poliitical Economy

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13

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4

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Political Science not elsewhere classified

Applied Economics

Policy and Administration

Political Science

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