From ‘What New Political Economy Is’ to ‘Why Is Everything New Political Economy?’

Rafael Galvão de Almeida


In this paper, I aim to discuss New Political Economy as a label for the economic analysis of politics, in the English language. The term ‘political economy’ itself, although it has ceased to be the preferred term by which economists refer to their discipline, it is still being used by a variety of scholars, especially for interdisciplinary research with political science, international relations and other social sciences. Marxist- inspired social scientists also have a claim on the term ‘political economy’. The term gained relevance again with economists, in the 1950s, thanks to various critiques of orthodox economics, especially to the theory of economic policy and to economic planning. They ignored issues of political economy, such as the self- interest of politicians. The public choice movement revived these issues by applying rational choice theory to politics and preferred the label “public choice” to designate its movement. Scholars and traditions not affiliated with the public choice movement prefer the label ‘(new) political economy’ to refer to their own economic analysis of politics. The search for a proper label is still ongoing, but they show how they can differentiate their objectives and affiliations

Published on 11th February, 2022, in Economic Thought Vol 10, No 2, 2021