Economic Models as Devices of Policy Change: Policy Paradigms, Paradigm Shift, and Performativity

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Can the emergence of a new policy model be a catalyst for a paradigm shift in the overall interpretative framework of how economic policy is conducted within a society? This paper claims that models are understudied as devices used by actors to induce policy change. This paper explores the role of models in Danish economic policy, where, from the 1970s onwards, executive public servants in this area have exclusively been specialists in model design. To understand changes in economic policy, this paper starts with a discussion of whether the notion of paradigm shift is adequate. It then examines the extent to which the performativity approach can help identify macroscopic changes in policy from seemingly microscopic changes in policy models. The concept of performativity is explored as a means of thinking about the constitution of agency directed at policy change. The paper brings this concept into play by arguing that the “performative” embedding of models in institutions is an important aspect of how paradigm shifts unfold that the current literature has neglected.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalRegulation & Governance
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)481-495
    Number of pages15
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Cite this