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Research theme 1: The politics of constructing economic performance assessment

Theme 1 The politics of constructing economic performance assessment

Assessing present and future economic growth, even when done by technocrats at the OBR, is a deeply political process.

It has major implications for UK economic policy possibilities.

The project assesses strengths and weaknesses of each growth evaluation approach, paying particular attention to the assumptions they make, how uncertainty is taken into account, and the role that intuition and subjective judgement play

The politics of economic ideas lens penetrates the technocratic growth write- down practices – evaluating the few prominent methodologies (using statistical filters, survey-based ‘production function’ assessment, and using cyclical indicators). Unpacking the complexities of gauging growth, the project explores how policy-makers deal with inherent uncertainties, measurement problems and margins for error.

Analysis explores what kinds of normative pre-suppositions about economic policy efficacy are entailed to growth forecasts used to determine the government’s fiscal remit for decades hence.

Economic forecasting is analysed here through changing meanings and significance attached to economic concepts, and inter-relationships between them. The research analyses how ideas underpinning OBR evaluations get selected, and their implications for UK economic policy conduct.