PoS seminar 3.5. with Cléo Chassonnery-Zaïgouche

At the next Perspectives on Science seminar on Monday 3.5., Cléo Chassonnery-Zaïgouche (University of Cambridge) will give a presentation titled “Economists and Policy Networks”. The seminar takes place in Zoom from 2 to 4 pm.

Perspectives on Science is a weekly research seminar which brings together experts from science studies and philosophy of science. It is organized by TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar here.

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The main topic of the presentation is the influence of economists and economics on policy. While both economics and policy are moving targets, it is hoped that systematic empirical studies of failures and successes to influence can provide elements for a history of relevance. I will first provide a brief overview of the literature on economists and policy in relation to the more recent literature on expertise in general. I will then discuss the concept of policy network, contextualise its uses in political sciences since the 1970’s and its usefulness for the study of three particular episodes: 1) the role of British economists in the Royal Commission on Equal Pay in 1944-46; 2) the role of Phyllis Wallace at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 1965-68; and 3) the role of economists in the U.S. comparable worth controversy in the 1980’s. The last part of the presentation will be exploratory. Using ongoing research on the rise of agglomeration economics in the UK policy landscape, I want to delineate if, why, and when a conceptual framework can be a useful tool to research, describe and theorise in the history of economics.

Author bio:

​​Cléo Chassonnery-Zaïgouche is a historian of economics, currently a postdoctoral research associate on the project Expertise Under Pressure. She works mainly on work on the history of discrimination and wages, economic expertise and quantification. More about her at https://cleocz.com/.