“A study of the history of opinion is a necessary preliminary to the emancipation of the mind.” – John Maynard Keynes
My research concerns the theory and political economy of economic policy. As a political economist and policy theoretician, I investigate the meaning, purpose, and effect of policy in capitalist economies. The central questions that motivate my research are: what is the role of policy in the functioning of capitalist markets? Is state intervention necessary, and if so, for what purpose? How do economic interests shape how and which policy is formed?
My dissertation, “Essays on the Theory and Political Economy of Economic Policy,” consists of three articles, which take different approaches to answering my core questions. To this end, my research engages both theoretical and empirical debates, and intersects microeconomic and macroeconomic theory. My political economy research draws from diverse intellectual traditions and include a new interpretation of industrial organization, feminist economics, game theory, philosophy, and social history. The significance and contributions of my dissertation are both substantive and methodological.
Chapter 1, “The Political Economy of State Regulation: The Case of the English Factory Acts” argues that the capitalist industrial labor market in 19th century England is best conceptualized as having consisted of two major social coordination problems resulting from conflicting interests between and within capital and labor. Left unregulated, this dual social coordination problem caused an overexploitation of labor, which could not self-correct because the wage-labor bargain contained the externality of unwaged household labor. The main contributions of the first chapter include: a new interpretation of a classic historical case study, the development of an endogenous theory of social and labor policy, a formalization of feminist economics emphasis on unwaged domestic labor, and a unique methodology which combines historical-institutionalist analysis with non-cooperative game theory.
Chapter 2, “The Transvaluation of the Theory of Economic Policy: the Lucas Critique Reconsidered” argues that in denouncing the traditional theory of economic policy, Lucas (1976) sparked an ideational shift in how macroeconomists understand the meaning and value of policy. By considering macroeconomics as a moral science with a specific ontology, this paper argues that the Lucas critique altered the aspirations of economists and policymakers by undermining belief in the ability of economists to make meaningful interventions in the economy. To the macroeconomics literature, chapter 2 contributes a discussion of the philosophical implications of the Lucas Critique and a post-Lucasian re-articulation of economics as a moral science.
Chapter 3, “A Retracted Retrenchment? The Evolution of the U.S. Social Wage from Regulated to Neoliberal Capitalism” examines the trends of fiscal transfers between the state and workers during 1959 – 2012 to understand the net impact of redistributive policy in the United States. The net social wage data presents a nuanced history of social welfare and taxation policy. Chapter 3 presents original data and analysis based on the replication and extension of Shaikh and Tonak (2002). The paper investigates the appearance of a post-2001 variation in the net social wage data. In also relates studies of aggregate fiscal policy to theories of state regulation.
“The Transvaluation of the Theory of Economic Policy: The Lucas Critique Reconsidered.” New School for Social Research, Working Paper 03/2016. May 2016. Available here.
“Stabilization Policy – Phillips before the Phillips Curve.” Co-authored with K. Vela Velupillai. Global and Local Economic Review. Vol. 18. No. 1. 2014. Available here.
“Teorias Da Competição E As Crises Do Capitalismo.” (“Theories of Competition and the Crisis of Capitalism.”) Co-authored with Anwar Shaikh. Rubra Revista. Winter 2015, No. 21, 13. Available in English or Portuguese upon request.