Shaping Policy Agendas
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Shaping Policy Agendas

The Micro-Politics of Economic International Organizations

Edited by David Dolowitz, Magdaléna Hadjiisky and Romuald Normand

This fascinating book investigates the strategic importance of the production and dissemination of expertise in the activities of the international organizations (IOs) that have come to symbolize the dominance of the Western political and economic order.
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Chapter 3: Neoliberalism and the 'think-tank' image fallacy: a sociological exploration of homologies of structuration inside the OECD, EU, and governments

Vincent Gayon


Do the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) or the European Commission (EC) inspire the neoliberal labour market and social ‘reforms’ in OECD/European countries? This question underlies a very common and attractive issue that the chapter examines as an intellectualistic or idealistic causal imagery: the ‘think-tank image’. In contrast, a sociological investigation of the socioeconomic programmes of the OECD and the EC in the two decades since 1990, and despite their own specificity, shows homologous and connected circuits of production and legitimation marked by the domination of governments and these organizations’ ‘economic’ sectors over ‘social’ sectors. This contribution thus takes seriously the process of isomorphic differentiation between the ‘economic’ and the ‘social’ that has over the long term been pursued by Western states, which affects transgovernmental spaces and informs in this case on the paths of making and of dissemination of neoliberal public ideas and policies.

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