In a new paper published in Critical Discourse Studies Stephan Pühringer together with Markus Griesser apply critical discourse analysis to examine the transmission of economic ideas into labor market policies. More specifically the paper compares interconnections between dominant economic thought and processes of policy-making in the area of labor market reforms in Germany in the late 1960s and the early 2000s.

The transition in labor market policies in this period could be described as a change from an active to an activating approach. At the level of economic discourse these policy changes correspond to a paradigm shift from Keynesian to neoclassical/neoliberal economic thought. The authors investigate these changes by focusing on two distinct reforms of labor market policies. They find that the paradigm shift in economic thought was accompanied by a shift in economists’ discourses on labor market policy issues. Against this backdrop the authors conclude that economic terms, concepts and theories associated with the transformation from the ‘Keynesian planning euphoria’ to the ‘neoliberal bitter economic truth’ had a significant impact on LMP reforms in Germany.

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