Institutionalist Policymaking

  • F. Gregory Hayden
Part of the Recent Economic Thought book series (RETH, volume 31)


The history of institutionalist thought is a history of concern for policy, both with reference to the influence of policy on the sociotechnical system and to instrumental evaluation to determine good policy. Karl Polanyi stated that the substantive approach to economics leads inevitably to policy.1 John Dewey foresaw the marriage of the social sciences and policymaking when he wrote that “the tools of social inquiry will be clumsy as long as they are forged in places and under conditions remote from contemporary events.”2 Policymakers have forged institutionalist thought into solutions for social problems. Thus, as Gilman Ostrander has stated, “every new era of twentieth-century American thought has derived new stimulation from Thorstein Veblen’s writing.”3 Rexford Tugwell was one of those who derived new policy from Veblen’s thought. Russell Long once stated, “[A] great deal that now goes on … in the way of decent land use, soil conservation, the rehabilitation of tenants, a recognition of the rights of labor, consumer protection, and a valiant clear realism derive directly from Tugwell.”4 Consistent with a concern for policy, Martin Gellen explained that institutionalists have been successful in structuring and implementing planning. “The intellectual roots and theory of national economic planning as we know it in the United States today can be traced back to Institutionalist Economics.”5


Economic Issue Market System Tactical Level Social Belief Lobbying Effort 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publsihers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Gregory Hayden
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of NebraskaLincoln

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