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Dani Rodrik’s weblog

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More on distinguishing ideas and interests — an exchange with Peter Hall

My recent post on ideas versus interests elicited some comments from Peter Hall, my Harvard colleague who has done probably more thinking on this issue than any other scholar I know. With his permission, I am attaching these comments below, along with the brief subsequent exchange we have had. ________________________________ Dani, A few quick thoughts inspired by your recent blog post on ideas and interests.  As you know, this is a topic that has long interested me.  These are rather...

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Has Global Finance Reformed Itself More Than It Appears?

The answer is yes, according to Ilene Grabel in her fascinating new book When Things Don't Fall Apart. I wrote a preface for the book, which is reproduced below. It explains why I liked the book so much. It happens only rarely and is all the more pleasurable because of it. You pick up a manuscript that fundamentally changes the way you look at certain things. This is one such book. Ilene Grabel has produced a daring and delightful reinterpretation of developments in global finance since...

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Telling interests and ideas apart

A long standing debate in the social sciences is whether behavior is driven by “interests” or “ideas.” The debate is central in political science, where it plays out as an argument between realists and constructivists. It is less well articulated in economics, to the discipline’s detriment. (See here for my thoughts on what economists would gain by taking the role of ideas seriously.) As constructivists like to point out, interests are “congealed ideas.” Or to put it differently, we don’t...

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My Twitter account has been hacked

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The Economics Debate, again and again

The debate on the economics profession – its alleged ills and failings -- abates at times, but never ends. A recent piece in The Guardian taking the profession to task for its lack of reform has prompted a response from a group of economists. I thought it was time to re-up my own views on this debate, in the form of two sets of ten commandments. The first set is directed at economists, and the second to non-economists.    Ten commandments for economists 1.     ...

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Taking a Crack at Neoliberalism

Here is the back story for my new piece “Rescuing Economics from Neoliberalism,” just out in the Boston Review. I have never been a fan of the term “neoliberal.” It has never been quite clear what it means. Nor is it obvious who today’s neoliberals are. Thatcher, Reagan, Pinochet in their day, yes. But today? Nevertheless, the term is widely used by its many critics to condemn in quite broad brush terms a certain way of thinking of the role of the market in society. There are more careful...

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Why Did So Many Cheer Turkey’s Democracy While It Was Dying?

Claire Berlinski’s excellent account of the Western (and domestic) observers who cheered on as Turkey was sliding into authoritarianism reminds me of a point I long wanted to make. There was in Erdogan’s early years some reason to be confused as to what was going on. Was he a Muslim democrat who was essentially the Turkish equivalent of a European Christian Democrat? Or was he an authoritarian at heart who would resort to repression as soon as he had sufficient control? We know the answer...

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Prudential regulation, capital controls, and second-best

A usual argument against the use of capital controls as a prudential measure is that it is always better to tackle problems at their source rather than trying to deal with symptoms.  This is called the principle of economic targeting in Economics, one of the discipline’s most powerful teachings. The problem with indirect remedies is that they create problems themselves, “by-product distortions” in Econ-speak. With capital controls, those would be corruption and the discouragement of trade...

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