Constructing Invisible Hands: Market Technocrats in Sweden 1880–2000
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Dominant market theories analyze markets as ahistorical entities without the need for professional groups that manage crucial functions within them. This thesis, in contrast, approaches markets as historical systems that develop over time and that can be constituted in many different ways because of different historical trajectories. Different professional groups managing market routines, further, are seen as a crucial part of markets. Two concepts are introduced: “market architecture”, the specific way a market is constituted at a given time; and “market technocrats”, the seemingly disinterested third party functionaries that manage routines in markets and advocate changes in market architecture. The thesis argues that market technocrats exist because of uncertainty and lack of trust between market actors, and that they are an important part of how market architectures develop over time. It presents an analytical framework for understanding market technocrats and how they interact with and develop markets. Four different aspects of market technocrats are explored: the process of establishing market technocrats in market routines; the capture of the authority of market technocrats by other market actors; the expansionistic behavior of market technocrats; and the way changes in economic theory, as an important part of how economists with technocratic authority advocate market change, can help to explain changes in markets. These aspects are explored through four empirical papers: The Market Technocracy of Import Substitution: The Role of Asymmetric Information and The Swedish Seed Association 1880–1935; Limits of Market Technocracy: Swedish Fertilizer Research and the Crisis of Objectivity 1945–1960; Central Banks, and the Pursuit of Influence, Prestige, and Legitimacy: The Creation of the Nobel Memorial Prize; and From Market Engineering to Institutional Engineering: Reform Economics in Sweden 1950–2000. The results of the papers form the basis of a hypothetical narrative of how the role of market technocrats has changed during the 20th century. This provides a roadmap for further research in the development of markets and the role of market technocrats.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. , 54 p.
Uppsala Studies in Economic History, ISSN 0346-6493 ; 98
Markets, technocrats, central banks, agricultural science, Nobel prize, economics and society, asymmetric information, Social Democracy, neoliberalism, social engineering, market history, market engineering, market design, performativity
Research subject Economic History
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-208885ISBN: 978-91-554-8765-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-208885DiVA: diva2:655115
2013-11-22, Hörsal 2, Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
McCloskey, Deirdre, Professor
Isacson, Maths, ProfessorMagnusson, Lars, ProfessorMyrdal, Janken, Professor
List of papers