▪ Abstract 

We review the use of macroeconomics in political science over the past 40 years. The field has been dominated by new classical theory, which leaves little room for economic policy and focuses attention on what democratic governments can do wrong in the short term. The resulting literatures on political business cycles and central bank independence are large and sophisticated, but they fail, we argue, to account for most of the observed variance in economic policies and outcomes. In the past decade, mainstream macroeconomics has moved away from new classical approaches toward New Keynesian theories with greater scope for macroeconomic policy. These new approaches, with little impact so far in political science, are reviewed and their implications drawn out. Instead of explaining short-sighted government behavior in an economy with little scope for economic policy, the key question for political science may be why governments often pursue longer-run objectives in an economy with considerable scope for economic policy.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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