|Part of a series on|
Political economy was the original term used for studying production and trade, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth. Political economy originated in moral philosophy. It was developed in the 18th century as the study of the economies of states, or polities, hence the term political economy.
In the late 19th century, the term economics came to replace political economy, coinciding with the publication of an influential textbook by Alfred Marshall in 1890. Earlier, William Stanley Jevons, a proponent of mathematical methods applied to the subject, advocated economics for brevity and with the hope of the term becoming "the recognised name of a science."
Today, political economy, where it is not used as a synonym for economics, may refer to very different things, including Marxian analysis, applied public-choice approaches emanating from the Chicago school and the Virginia school, or simply the advice given by economists to the government or public on general economic policy or on specific proposals. A rapidly growing mainstream literature from the 1970s has expanded beyond the model of economic policy in which planners maximize utility of a representative individual toward examining how political forces affect the choice of economic policies, especially as to distributional conflicts and political institutions. It is available as an area of study in certain colleges and universities.
- Etymology 1
- Current approaches 2
- Related disciplines 3
- See also 4
- Notes 5
- References 6
- Journals 7
- External links 8
Originally, political economy meant the study of the conditions under which production or consumption within limited parameters was organized in nation-states. In that way, political economy expanded the emphasis of economics, which comes from the Greek oikos (meaning "home") and nomos (meaning "law" or "order"); thus political economy was meant to express the laws of production of wealth at the state level, just as economics was the ordering of the home. The phrase économie politique (translated in English as political economy) first appeared in France in 1615 with the well-known book by Karl Marx were some of the exponents of political economy. The world's first professorship in political economy was established in 1754 at the University of Naples Federico II, Italy (then capital city of the Kingdom of Naples); the Neapolitan philosopher Antonio Genovesi was the first tenured professor; in 1763, Joseph von Sonnenfels was appointed a Political Economy chair at the University of Vienna, Austria. In 1805, Thomas Malthus became England's first professor of political economy, at the East India Company College, Haileybury, Hertfordshire. Glasgow University, where Smith was Professor of Logic and of Moral Philosophy, changed the name of its Department of Political Economy to the Department of Economics (ostensibly to avoid confusing prospective undergraduates), in the academic year 1997–98, leaving the class of 1998 as the last to be graduated with a Master of Arts in Political Economy.
In its contemporary meaning, political economy refers to different, but related, approaches to studying economic and related behaviours, ranging from the combination of economics with other fields to the use of different, fundamental assumptions that challenge earlier economic assumptions:
- Political economy most commonly refers to interdisciplinary studies drawing upon economics, sociology, and political science in explaining how political institutions, the political environment, and the economic system—capitalist, socialist, or mixed—influence each other. The Journal of Economic Literature classification codes associate political economy with three subareas: the role of government and/or power relationships in resource allocation for each type of economic system, international political economy, which studies the economic impacts of international relations, and economic models of political processes. The last area, derived from public choice theory and dating from the 1960s, models voters, politicians, and bureaucrats as behaving in mainly self-interested ways, in contrast to a view, ascribed to earlier economists, of government officials trying to maximize individual utilities from some kind of social welfare function. An early and continuing focus of that research program is what came to be called constitutional political economy.
- Economists and political scientists often associate political economy with approaches using rational-choice assumptions, especially in game theory, and in examining phenomena beyond economics' standard remit, such as government failure and complex decision making in which context the term "positive political economy" is common. Other "traditional" topics include analysis of such public policy issues as economic regulation, monopoly, rent-seeking, market protection, institutional corruption, and distributional politics. Empirical analysis includes the influence of elections on the choice of economic policy, determinants and forecasting models of electoral outcomes, the political business cycles, central-bank independence, and the politics of excessive deficits.
- A recent focus has been on modeling economic policy and political institutions as to interactions between agents and economic and political institutions, including the seeming discrepancy of economic policy and economist's recommendations through the lens of transaction costs. From the mid-1990s, the field has expanded, in part aided by new cross-national data sets that allow tests of hypotheses on comparative economic systems and institutions. Topics have included the breakup of nations, the origins and rate of change of political institutions in relation to economic growth, development, backwardness, reform, and transition economies, the role of culture, ethnicity, and gender in explaining economic outcomes, macroeconomic policy, the environment, fairness, the relation of constitutions to economic policy, theoretical and empirical.
- New political economy may treat economic ideologies as the phenomenon to explain, per the traditions of Marxian political economy. Thus, Charles S. Maier suggests that a political economy approach "interrogates economic doctrines to disclose their sociological and political premises.... in sum, [it] regards economic ideas and behavior not as frameworks for analysis, but as beliefs and actions that must themselves be explained." This approach informs Andrew Gamble's The Free Economy and the Strong State (Palgrave Macmillan, 1988), and Colin Hay's The Political Economy of New Labour (Manchester University Press, 1999). It also informs much work published in New Political Economy, an international journal founded by Sheffield University scholars in 1996.
- Robert Keohane, Peter J. Katzenstein, and Stephen Krasner. They are also associated with the journal The Review of International Political Economy. There also is a more critical school of IPE, inspired by Karl Polanyi's work; two major figures are Matthew Watson and Robert W. Cox.
- Anthropologists, sociologists, and geographers use political economy in referring to the regimes of politics or economic values that emerge primarily at the level of states or regional governance, but also within smaller social groups and social networks. Because these regimes influence and are influenced by the organization of both social and economic capital, the analysis of dimensions lacking a standard economic value (e.g., the political economy of language, of gender, or of religion) often draws on concepts used in Marxian critiques of capital. Such approaches expand on neo-Marxian scholarship related to development and underdevelopment postulated by André Gunder Frank and Immanuel Wallerstein.
- Historians have employed political economy to explore the ways in the past that persons and groups with common economic interests have used politics to effect changes beneficial to their interests.
Because political economy is not a unified discipline, there are studies using the term that overlap in subject matter, but have radically different perspectives:
- Sociology studies the effects of persons' involvement in society as members of groups, and how that changes their ability to function. Many sociologists start from a perspective of production-determining relation from Karl Marx. Marx's theories on the subject of political economy are contained in his book Das Kapital.
- Anthropology studies political economy by investigating regimes of political and economic value that condition tacit aspects of sociocultural practices (e.g., the pejorative use of pseudo-Spanish expressions in the US entertainment media) by means of broader historical, political, and sociological processes. Analyses of structural features of transnational processes focus on the interactions between the world capitalist system and local cultures.
- Archaeology attempts to reconstruct past political economies by examining the material evidence for administrative strategies to control and mobilize resources. This evidence may include architecture, animal remains, evidence for craft workshops, evidence for feasting and ritual, evidence for the import or export of prestige goods, or evidence for food storage.
- Psychology is the fulcrum on which political economy exerts its force in studying decision making (not only in prices), but as the field of study whose assumptions model political economy.
- History documents change, often using it to argue political economy; some historical works take political economy as the narrative's frame.
- Human geography at times draws on theories of politico-economic processes. Typically under the moniker of political ecology, political ecology has been used by geographers to understand human systems and their relationship with the environment, broadly defined.
- Ecology deals with political economy, because human activity has the greatest effect upon the environment, its central concern being the environment's suitability for human activity. The ecological effects of economic activity spur research upon changing market economy incentives.
- Cultural studies examines social class, production, labor, race, gender, and sex.
- Communications examines the institutional aspects of media and telecommuncation systems. As the area of study focusing on aspects of human communication, it pays particular attention to the relationships between owners, labor, consumers, advertisers, structures of production, and the state, and the power relationships embedded in these relationships.
- Economic sociology
- Economic study of collective action
- Constitutional economics
- European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy (EAEPE)
- Economic ideology
- Institutional economics
- Important publications in political economy
- Perspectives on Capitalism
- Social model
- Social capital
- land value tax
- Marshall, Alfred. (1890) Principles of Economics.
- Jevons, W. Stanley. The Theory of Political Economy, 1879, 2nd ed. p. xiv.
- Groenwegen, Peter. (1987 ). "'political economy' and 'economics'", The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics, v. 3, pp. 905-06. [Pp. 904–07.]
- Alesina, Alberto F. (2007:3) "Political Economy," NBER Reporter, pp. 1-5. Abstract-linked-footnotes version.
- Image of "Priorities of the College of William and Mary"
- Weingast, Barry R., and Donald Wittman, ed., 2008. The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy. Oxford UP. Description and preview.
At JEL: P as in JEL Classification Codes Guide, drilled to at each economic-system link.
• Brandt, Loren, and Thomas G. Rawski (2008). "Chinese economic reforms," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
• Helsley, Robert W. (2008). "urban political economy," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
At JEL: F5 as drilled to in JEL Classification Codes Guide.
• Gilpin, Robert (2001), Global Political Economy: Understanding the International Economic Order, Princeton. Description and ch. 1, " The New Global Economic Order" link.
• Mitra, Devashish (2008). "trade policy, political economy of," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
- At JEL: D72 with context for its usage in JEL Classification Codes Guide, drilled to at JEL: D7.
• Tullock, Gordon ( 2008). "public choice," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Abstract.
• Arrow, Kenneth J. (1963). Social Choice and Individual Values, 2nd ed., ch. VIII, sect. 2, The Social Decision Process, pp. 106-08.
• Mueller, Dennis C. (2008). "constitutions, economic approach to,' The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
• Buchanan, James M., and Gordon Tullock (1962). The Calculus of Consent. University of Michigan Press. Chapter-preview links.
• Hayek, Friedrich A. (1973). Rules and Order, Description and chapter-preview links.
• Brennan, Geoffrey, and James M. Buchanan (1985). The Reason of Rules: Constitutional Political Economy , Chicago. Chapter links, Econlib.
• Buchanan, James M. (1990). "The Domain of Constitutional Economics," Constitutional Political Economy, 1(1), pp. 1-18.
- Lohmann, Susanne (2008). "rational choice and political science," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
• Shubik, Martin (1981). "Game Theory Models and Methods in Political Economy," in K. Arrow and M. Intriligator, ed., Handbook of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, v. 1, pp. 285-330.
• _____ (1984). A Game-Theoretic Approach to Political Economy. MIT Press. Description and review extract.
• _____ (1999). Political Economy, Oligopoly and Experimental Games: The Selected Essays of Martin Shubik, v. 1, Edward Elgar. Description and contents of Part I, Political Economy.
• Peter C. Ordeshook (1990). "The Emerging Discipline of Political Economy," ch. 1 in Perspectives on Positive Political Economy, Cambridge, pp. 9-30.
• _____ (1986). Game Theory and Political Theory, Cambridge. Description and preview.
- Alt, James E.; Shepsle, Kenneth (eds.) (1990), Perspectives on Positive Political Economy (Cambridge [UK]; New York: Cambridge University Press). Description and content links and preview.
- Rose, N. L. (2001). "Regulation, Political Economy of," International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, pp. 12967–12970. Abstract.
- Krueger, Anne O. (1974). "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, 64(3), p. 291–303.
• Bose, Niloy. "corruption and economic growth," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online, 2nd Edition, 2010. Abstract.
• Rose-Ackerman, Susan (2008). "bribery," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
• Becker, Gary S. (1983). "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 98(3), pp. 371-400.
• Weingast, Barry R., Kenneth A. Shepsle, and Christopher Johnsen (1981). "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, 89(4), pp. 642-664.
• Breyer, Friedrich (1994). "The Political Economy of Intergenerational Redistribution," European Journal of Political Economy, 10(1), pp. 61–84. Abstract.
• Williamson, Oliver E. (1995). "The Politics and Economics of Redistribution and Inefficiency," Greek Economic Review, December, 17, pp. 115-136, reprinted in Williamson (1996), The Mechanisms of Governance, Oxford University Press, ch. 8, pp. 195-218.
• Krusell, Per, and José-Víctor Ríos-Rull (1999). "On the Size of U.S. Government: Political Economy in the Neoclassical Growth Model," American Economic Review, 89(5), pp. 1156-1181.
• Galasso, Vincenzo, and Paola Profeta (2002). "The Political Economy of Social Security: A Survey," European Journal of Political Economy, 18(1), pp. 1–29.
• Drazen, Allan (2008). "Political business cycles," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
• Nordhaus, William D. (1989). "Alternative Approaches to the Political Business Cycle," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, (2), pp. 1-68.
• Buchanan, James M. (2008). "public debt," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
• Alesina, Alberto, and Roberto Perotti (1995). "The Political Economy of Budget Deficits," IMF Staff Papers, 42(1), pp. 1-31.
• Timothy, Besley (2007). Principled Agents?: The Political Economy of Good Government, Oxford. Description.
• _____ and Torsten Persson (2008). "political institutions, economic approaches to," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
• North, Douglass C. (1986). "The New Institutional Economics," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 142(1), pp. 230-237.
• _____ (1990). Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance, in the Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions series. Cambridge. Description and preview.
• Ostrom, Elinor (1990). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge University Press. Description and preview links. ISBN 9780521405997.
• _____ (2010). "Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems," American Economic Review, 100(3), pp. 641-72.
- Dixit, Avinash (1996). The Making of Economic Policy: A Transaction Cost Politics Perspective. MIT Press. Description and chapter-preview links. Review-excerpt link.
- Beck, Thorsten et al. (2001). "New Tools in Comparative Political Economy: The Database of Political Institutions," World Bank Economic Review,15(1), pp. 165-176.
- Bolton, Patrick, and Gérard Roland (1997). "The Breakup of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(4), pp. 1057-1090.
- Alesina, Alberto, and Roberto Perotti (1994). "The Political Economy of Growth: A Critical Survey of the Recent Literature," World Bank Economic Review, 8(3), pp. 351-371.
- Keefer, Philip (2004). "What Does Political Economy Tell Us about Economic Development and Vice Versa?" Annual Review of Political Science, 7, pp. 247–72. PDF.
- Acemoğlu, Daron, and James A. Robinson (2006). "Economic Backwardness in Political Perspective," American Political Science Review, 100(1), pp. 115-131.
• Mukand, Sharun W. (2008). "policy reform, political economy of," The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition. Abstract.
• Sturzenegger, Federico, and Mariano Tommasi (1998). The Polítical Economy of Reform, MIT Press. Description and chapter-preview links.
• Roland, Gérard (2002), "The Political Economy of Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16(1), pp. 29-50.
• _____ (2000). Transition and Economics: Politics, Markets, and Firms, MIT Press. Description and preview.
• Manor, James (1999). The Political Economy of Democratic Decentralization, The World Bank. ISBN 9780821344705. Description.
- Drazen, Allan (2000). Political Economy in Macroeconomics, Princeton. Description & ch. 1-preview link., and review extract.
• Dietz, Simon, Jonathan Michie, and Christine Oughton (2011). Political Economy of the Environment An Interdisciplinary Approach, Routledge. Description and preview.
• Banzhaf, H. Spencer, ed. (2012). The Political Economy of Environmental Justice Stanford U.P. Description and contents links.
• Gleeson, Brendan, and Nicholas Low (1998). Justice, Society and Nature An Exploration of Political Ecology, Routledge. Description and preview.
• John S. Dryzek, 2000. Rational Ecology: Environment and Political Economy, Blackburn Press. B&N description.
• Barry, John 2001. "Justice, Nature and Political Economy," Economy and Society, 30(3), pp. 381–394.
• Boyce, James K. (2002). The Political Economy of the Environment, Edward Elgar. Description.
• Zajac, Edward E. (1996). Political Economy of Fairness, MIT Press Description and chapter-preview links.
• Thurow, Lester C. (1980). The Zero-sum Society: Distribution and the Possibilities For Economic Change, Penguin. Description and preview.
• Persson, Torsten, and Guido Tabellini (2000). Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy, MIT Press. Review extract, description and chapter-preview links.
• Laffont, Jean-Jacques (2000). Incentives and Political Economy, Oxford. Description.
• Acemoglu, Daron (2003). "Why Not a Political Coase Theorem? Social Conflict, Commitment, and Politics," Journal of Comparative Economics, 31(4), pp. 620–652.
- Persson, Torsten, and Guido Tabellini (2003). The Economic Effects Of Constitutions, Munich Lectures in Economics. MIT Press. Description and preview, and review extract.
- Mayer, Charles S. (1987). In Search of Stability: Explorations in Historical Political Economy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp.3–6. Description and scrollable preview. Cambridge.
- cf: Baker, David (2006). "The political economy of fascism: Myth or reality, or myth and reality?", New Political Economy, 11(2), pp. 227–250.
- Cohen, Benjamin J. "The transatlantic divide: Why are American and British IPE so different?", Review of International Political Economy, Vol. 14, No. 2, May 2007.
- McCoy, Drew R. "The Elusive Republic: Political Economy in Jeffersonian America", Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina.
- Hirth, Kenneth G. 1996. Political Economy and Archaeology: Perspectives on Exchange and Production. Journal of Archaeological Research, 4(3):203-239.
- Biel,R. and Mu-Jeong Kho (2009)"The Issue of Energy within a Dialectical Approach to the Regulationist Problematique," Recherches & Régulation Working Papers, RR Série ID 2009-1, Association Recherche & Régulation: 1-21.". http://theorie-regulation.org. 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2013-11-09.
- Baran, Paul A. (1957). The Political Economy of Growth. Monthly Review Press, New York. Review extrract.
- Commons, John R. (1934 ). Institutional Economics: Its Place in Political Economy, Macmillan. Description and preview.
- Leroux, Robert (2011), Political Economy and Liberalism in France : The Contributions of Frédéric Bastiat, London, Routledge.
- Maggi, Giovanni, and Andrés Rodríguez-Clare (2007). "A Political-Economy Theory of Trade Agreements," American Economic Review, 97(4), pp. 1374-1406.
- O'Hara, Phillip Anthony, ed. (1999). Encyclopedia of Political Economy, 2 v. Routledge. 2003 review links.
- Pressman, Steven, Interactions in Political Economy: Malvern After Ten Years Routledge, 1996
- Rausser, Gordon, Swinnen, Johan, and Zusman, Pinhas (2011). Political Power and Economic Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P.
- Winch, Donald (1996). Riches and Poverty : An Intellectual History of Political Economy in Britain, 1750–1834 Cambridge: Cambridge U.P.
- Winch, Donald (1973). "The Emergence of Economics as a Science, 1750–1870." In: The Fontana Economic History of Europe, Vol. 3. London: Collins/Fontana.
- Global online academic community of Political Economy and Economic Sociology
- NBER (U.S.) "Political Economy" working-paper abstract links.
- List, Friedrich. National System of Political Economy
- Carey, Henry C. Harmony of Interests - compares American and British systems of political economy
- International Political Economy at Jacobs University Bremen
- Global Political Economy at City University London
- Centre for Global Political Economy at the University of Sussex, UK
- O'Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom at the SMU Cox School of Business Dallas, TX USA
- Institute for the study of Political Economy and Law (IPEL) at the International University College of Turin (IUC), Italy
- European Centre for International Political Economy