In this working paper Matthias Aistleitner and Stephan Pühringer analyze more than 400 trade-related research articles published in high-impact economic journals to highlight three core trade narratives constituting the elite economists trade discourse: “free trade cheerleading”, “Ignorance in a world full of nails”, and, “success breeds exporting breeds success”. They conclude that the narrow perspective in economic elite debates prevents a more comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted challenges related to international integration.
In this working paper Claudius Gräbner and Birte Strunk evaluate three common arguments against pluralism in economics: (1) the claim that economics is already pluralist, (2) the argument that if there was the need for greater plurality, it would emerge on its own, and (3) the assertion that pluralism means ‘anything goes’ and is thus unscientific. They argue that the third argument relates to a greater challenge for pluralism: an epistemological trade-off between diversity and consensus that originates from two main challenges: the need to derive adequate quality criteria for a pluralist economics, and the necessity to propose strategies that ensure the communication across different research programs. These challenges apply to interdisciplinary collaboration more generally.
In this working paper Carina Altreiter, Claudius Gräbner, Stephan Pühringer, Ana Rogojanu and Georg Wolfmayr discuss the concept of competition in different historical and disciplinary contexts. The paper provides an analytical and historical comparison between conceptions of competition from economics, sociology and anthropology. The interdisciplinary review and systematisation show how different conceptions of competition are bound up with different ways to theorize the relation between an “economic realm” and a “social realm”. By focusing on the scope and normative implications of these concepts, the authors aim to develop a better understanding of competization, i.e. the expansion of competitive modes of regulation and practices.
This paper by Carina Altreiter, Claudius Gräbner, Stephan Pühringer, Ana Rogojanu and Georg Wolfmayr introduces a framework to facilitate an interdisciplinary analysis of ‘competition’. While such an interdisciplinary analysis can be justified by referencing the various fields of social and economic life in which ‘competition’ is important, three challenges are found to aggravate such endeavor: first, there are sufficient common elements across different concepts of competition that justify an interdisciplinary approach to study competition; second, apart from differences between disciplines, there are remarkable differences within disciplines that are at least of similar importance. Finally, there are important interdependencies between the meta-theoretical dimensions considered in the framework.
This paper by Stephan Pühringer, Johanna Rath and Teresa Griesebner provides an institutional and empirical analysis of the highly concentrated market of academic publishing, characterized by over-proportionally high profit margins for publishing companies. Open access (OA) publication provides a promising, yet costly solution to overcome this problem. However, in this paper the authors show that OA publication costs are an important, but by far not the only way for academic publishers to gain access to public funding.
In this paper, Stephan Pühringer, Laura Porak and Johanna Rath apply a discourse analytical framework to explore the performativity of the economic concept of competition in public policy discourses. The main economic imaginary ascribes to competition the function of a primary mode for economic and social coordination, ensuring prosperity and wealth. Competitiveness is predominately interpreted not as a means but an end in itself. Furthermore, three partly conflicting discursive positions on how competition should be organized arise in the discourse: (1) the neoliberal position, (2) the ordoliberal position and (3) the Keynesian position.
This paper by Claudius Gräbner and Stephan Pühringer discusses the actual relevance and historical origins or ‘competition universalism’. In economics, competition is conceptualized as a nearly ubiquitous element of societies, or, at least, used to study a wide array of social and political relations, including competition between firms for market shares, between individuals for prestige, countries for resources, athletes for victory, or politicians for influence. Therefore, the paper first explicates the historical genesis of competition universalism, then discusses the extent it has reached today, and concludes with critical remarks and the proposition of an alternative, more particularist approach to study competition.
The role of the state and political authorities has always been highly ambivalent in different strands of neoliberalism. This paper aims to highlight contradictory political stances towards competition and associated modes of governance by analyzing policy discourse of the European Commission. By conducting a Critical Discourse Analysis of the most recent ‘governance structure’ of the EU, ‘Europe 2020’, I found that competition is naturalized as mode of economic organization. The main contribution of this paper is the reconstruction of two ‘economic imaginaries’. First, the European Commission as political sovereign and second, as an actor in the (world) market.
The role of the state and political authorities has always been highly ambivalent in different strands of neoliberalism. This paper aims to highlight contradictory political stances towards competition and associated modes of governance by analyzing policy discourse of the European Commission. By conducting a Critical Discourse Analysis of the most recent ‘governance structure’ of the EU, ‘Europe 2020’, I found that competition is naturalized as mode of economic organization. First, the European Commission as political sovereign and second, as an actor in the (world) market. Both the ‘economic imaginaries’ and the discursive strategies are clearly indicating a strong neoliberal influence on the ‘governance structure’ ‘Europe 2020’.