When the Treasury and its Model seize Power

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

Resumé

This paper explains how short- and medium-term macroeconomic projections are undertaken within the Danish Ministry of Finance (DMF) by the use of an annual macroeconometric model, ADAM, together with a theoretical, structural general equilibrium model, DREAM.* DREAM** is used to calculate the structural public sector budget deficit, which by law is required never to exceed ½ percent of GDP. This legal restriction on fiscal policy gives the structural model (and the ‘model-operators’) a hitherto unseen political power. This ‘institutional’ status of DREAM causes a number of questions about democracy to be asked. First, why has an elected government accepted to surrender its legal right to
undertake an active fiscal policy? Secondly, how can it be that DREAM – a neoliberal general equilibrium model without proper empirical tests and operated by anonymous civil servants – has been elevated to a position akin to a high court’s? The paper demonstrates how this model set-up within the DMF reproduces reality poorly. Therefore, these models should rather be seen as social constructs predetermined be neoclassical/neoliberal economic theory, which has to be acknowledged as a democratic challenge.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftNordicum-Mediterraneum
Vol/bind11
Udgave nummer1
ISSN1670-6242
StatusUdgivet - 28 mar. 2016

Emneord

  • Makroøkonomisk Model, Danmark

Citer dette

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When the Treasury and its Model seize Power. / Jespersen, Jesper.

I: Nordicum-Mediterraneum, Bind 11, Nr. 1, 28.03.2016.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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N2 - This paper explains how short- and medium-term macroeconomic projections are undertaken within the Danish Ministry of Finance (DMF) by the use of an annual macroeconometric model, ADAM, together with a theoretical, structural general equilibrium model, DREAM.* DREAM** is used to calculate the structural public sector budget deficit, which by law is required never to exceed ½ percent of GDP. This legal restriction on fiscal policy gives the structural model (and the ‘model-operators’) a hitherto unseen political power. This ‘institutional’ status of DREAM causes a number of questions about democracy to be asked. First, why has an elected government accepted to surrender its legal right toundertake an active fiscal policy? Secondly, how can it be that DREAM – a neoliberal general equilibrium model without proper empirical tests and operated by anonymous civil servants – has been elevated to a position akin to a high court’s? The paper demonstrates how this model set-up within the DMF reproduces reality poorly. Therefore, these models should rather be seen as social constructs predetermined be neoclassical/neoliberal economic theory, which has to be acknowledged as a democratic challenge.

AB - This paper explains how short- and medium-term macroeconomic projections are undertaken within the Danish Ministry of Finance (DMF) by the use of an annual macroeconometric model, ADAM, together with a theoretical, structural general equilibrium model, DREAM.* DREAM** is used to calculate the structural public sector budget deficit, which by law is required never to exceed ½ percent of GDP. This legal restriction on fiscal policy gives the structural model (and the ‘model-operators’) a hitherto unseen political power. This ‘institutional’ status of DREAM causes a number of questions about democracy to be asked. First, why has an elected government accepted to surrender its legal right toundertake an active fiscal policy? Secondly, how can it be that DREAM – a neoliberal general equilibrium model without proper empirical tests and operated by anonymous civil servants – has been elevated to a position akin to a high court’s? The paper demonstrates how this model set-up within the DMF reproduces reality poorly. Therefore, these models should rather be seen as social constructs predetermined be neoclassical/neoliberal economic theory, which has to be acknowledged as a democratic challenge.

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