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Title: Why macroeconomic orthodoxy changes so quickly : the sociology of scientific knowledge and the Phillips Curve
Author: Stephens, Neil
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 0395
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2005
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Macroeconomics move fast. This thesis adopts a Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK) perspective to explain why. In only twenty five years three different orthodox positions on the relationship between unemployment and inflation, known as the Phillips Curve, cam to dominate the profession, only to decline subsequently. This research explores the role of politics in this rapid cycle of contest and closure. The research illustrates how empirical and theoretical work in the Phillips Curve debate were configured to conform to the expectations of the analyst. Examination of several clusters of papers within the debate make explicit the dynamics by which regressions and theories were shaped to provide the results required of them. Macroeconomics is shown to respond to the need of economic policy making circles. A nuance of the relationship between macroeconomists and policy making, rooted in the role of objectivity in lending legitimacy to Liberal Democracy, means macroeconomists lack the autonomy to define and contest the problems their discipline addresses. This holds heavy implications when economic policy decision-makers experience heightened political pressure. In these instances the faster temporality of the political sphere is imported into macroeconomics, and, in the three cases examined here, the prevailing orthodoxy subsequently fell. Drawing upon a literature survey and interviews with macroeconomists, including four Nobel Laureates, this research provides valuable insight into the social construction of macroeconomic knowledge
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)