The influence of economists on policymaking is a topic of perennial interest to sociologists, and one I’ve spent a fair bit of time trying to understand. One of the arguments Beth Berman and I stress in our review piece on the subject is the importance of institutional position inside the policymaking apparatus. Economic ideas dominate certain federal agencies because economists (and MPPs trained by economists, etc.) staff those agencies. Academic economists have a clear route towards policy influence through their counterparts inside the government.
A new paper by Glied and Miller (G&M) on the role of health economics in the drafting of the Affordable Care Act offers a nice illustration of this argument (h/t to The Incidental Economist, the best health economics/policy blog around). Continue reading