The Cambridge Handbook of the Social Sciences in Australia

By Ian McAllister; Steve Dowrick et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 22
Political Economy
Stephen Bell and John Ravenhill

Charles Lindblom (1977:8) once argued that 'much of politics is economics, and most of economics is also politics'. This statement reflects a long tradition of thought in political economy that sees politics and 'the economy' as not separate but inextricably intertwined and mutually constitutive (Polanyi 1944; Block 1990). In the contemporary era, political economy divides into two principal approaches. One utilises an inductive methodology drawing on historical, institutionalist, Marxist, statist, behaviourist and other approaches to examine the mutual constitution of politics and the economy. The other utilises deduction, methodological individualism and rational choice methodologies in what largely amounts to a neoclassical economic analysis of politics.

Brian Galligan (1984:90) wrote in an earlier survey that 'political economy is a major part of Australian politics and the role of the state has always been crucial within Australian political economy'. We concur with this view. Accordingly, we concentrate primarily on studies of the state and of state–economy relations, set within an analysis of the major, relevant economic dynamics.

Only a small number of studies in political economy were conducted in Australia before World War II; in the immediate postwar decades the situation was much the same. This was partly because political science itself was still relatively embryonic, partly because what did exist was dominated by institutional formalism or by pluralist approaches that tended to eschew political economy, and partly because of the increasingly divergent disciplinary paths taken by politics and economics within academe (Galligan 1984; Capling and Galligan 1992). Only since the 1970s, led initially by Marxists and scholars influenced by Latin-American underdevelopment theory, including the founders of the Journal of Australian Political Economy, and later, in political science, by works such as Brian Head's State and Economy in Australia (1983), has there been something of a flowering of the study of political economy in Australia.The main focus here will be on the substantial body of work that has developed since that time.


The neoliberal transition

One of the major preoccupations of Australian political-economy literature since the 1970s has been the political, ideological and policy transition towards 'economic

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The Cambridge Handbook of the Social Sciences in Australia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • Contributors x
  • Preface and Acknowledgements xviii
  • Introduction 1
  • References 13
  • Part 1 - Economics 15
  • Chapter 1 - Privatisation 17
  • References 27
  • Chapter 2 - Competition Policy and Regulation 31
  • References 40
  • Chapter 3 - Economics and the Environment 45
  • References 57
  • Chapter 4 - Health Economics 60
  • References 70
  • Chapter 5 - Immigration 74
  • References 87
  • Chapter 6 - Labour Market and Industrial Relations 94
  • References 113
  • Chapter 7 - Income Distribution and Redistribution 118
  • References 134
  • Chapter 8 - Taxation 138
  • References 148
  • Chapter 9 - Innovation 153
  • References 165
  • Chapter 10 - International Trade and Industry Policies 168
  • References 180
  • Chapter 11 - The Macro Economy 186
  • Notes 199
  • References 200
  • Chapter 12 - Money and Banking 203
  • References 216
  • Part 2 - Political Science 221
  • Chapter 13 - Political Theory 223
  • References 231
  • Chapter 14 - Federalism and the Constitution 234
  • References 246
  • Chapter 15 - Legislative Institutions 249
  • References 260
  • Chapter 16 - Political Parties and Electoral Behaviour 266
  • References 283
  • Chapter 17 - Electoral Systems 287
  • References 302
  • Chapter 18 - Gender Politics 305
  • References 319
  • Chapter 19 - Interest Groups and Social Movements 323
  • References 339
  • Chapter 20 - Environmental Policy and Politics 345
  • References 355
  • Chapter 21 - International Relations 358
  • Notes 368
  • References 369
  • Chapter 22 - Political Economy 374
  • References 391
  • Chapter 23 - Public Policy and Public Administration 406
  • References 422
  • Part 3 - Sociology 431
  • Chapter 24 - Patterns of Social Inequality 433
  • References 457
  • Chapter 25 - Families and Households 462
  • References 477
  • Chapter 26 - Gender Perspectives 480
  • References 493
  • Chapter 27 - Work and Employment 499
  • Notes 511
  • References 512
  • Chapter 28 - Crime and Deviance 518
  • References 531
  • Chapter 29 - Health and Illness 536
  • References 552
  • Chapter 30 - Population 554
  • References 569
  • Chapter 31 - Race, Ethnicity and Immigration 573
  • Notes 585
  • References 586
  • Chapter 32 - Urban and Regional Sociology 590
  • Reference 598
  • Chapter 33 - Rural Sociology 604
  • Reference 619
  • Chapter 34 - Religion and Spirituality 626
  • Reference 632
  • Chapter 35 - Cultural Studies, Australian Studies and Cultural Sociology 638
  • References 651
  • Chapter 36 - Sociological Theory 654
  • References 664
  • Chapter 37 - Social Policy and Social Welfare 666
  • References 674
  • Author Index 678
  • Subject Index 696
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