Varieties of Economic Crisis, Varieties of Ideational Change: How and Why Macroeconomic Policy and Financial Regulation Differ

Andrew Baker

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59 Citations (Scopus)
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One of the principal tasks facing post-crash academic political economy is to analyse patterns of ideational change and the conditions that produce such change. What has been missing from the existing literature on ideational change at times of crises however, is a sense of how processes of persuasive struggle, and how the success of those ‘norm entrepreneurs’ arguing for ideational change is shaped by two contextual variables: the most immediate material symptoms and problems that a crisis displays (the variety of crisis); and the institutional character of the policy subsystem that agents have to operate within to affect change. Introducing these two variables into our accounts of persuasive struggle and ideational change enables us to deepen our understanding of the dynamics of ideational change at times of crisis. The article identifies that a quite rapid and radical intellectual change has been evident in the field of financial regulation in the form of an embrace of a macroprudential frame. In contrast in the field of macroeconomic policy - both monetary and fiscal policy, many pre-crash beliefs remain prominent, there is evidence of ideational stickiness and inertia, and despite some policy experimentation, overarching policy frameworks and their rationales have not been overhauled. The article applies Peter Hall’s framework of three orders of policy changes to help illuminate and explain the variation in patterns of change in the fields of financial regulation and macroeconomic policy since the financial crash of 2008. The different patterns of ideational change in macroeconomic policy and financial regulation in the post-crash period can be explained by timing and variety of crisis; sequencing of policy change; and institutional political differences between micro policy sub systems and macro policy systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-366
Number of pages24
JournalNew Political Economy
Issue number3
Early online date24 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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