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We develop a theoretical framework for the analysis of the production, reproduction, and transformation of intellectual and legal infrastructures that enable market interactions using the Governing Knowledge Commons research program. A distinctive contribution of this volume is the conceptualization of market-supporting knowledge structures as shared goods (established through co-operation) and contribution goods (established through competition). There are four building blocks around which the edited volume revolves. First, the chapters show that markets are cultural, they depend on various kinds of knowledge some of which are governed as commons. Second, the market-supporting knowledge commons are, unlike physical commons, produced and reproduced by contributions and sharing. Third, these knowledge commons serve as economic inputs in private production processes. Finally, the volume highlights the social and cultural effects of entrepreneurship. Through innovation and slight evasions of existing rules entrepreneurs do not merely change market goods, but also social conventions and cultural meanings. Building on the Governing Knowledge Commons framework, the book highlights the entanglement of markets with society and the broader culture of which markets are a part.
Knowledge commons facilitate voluntary private interactions in markets and societies. These shared pools of knowledge consist of intellectual and legal infrastructures that both enable and constrain private initiatives. This volume brings together theoretical and empirical approaches that develop and apply the Governing Knowledge Commons framework to the evolution of various kinds of shared knowledge structures that underpin exchanges of goods, services, and ideas. Chapters offer vivid and illuminating case studies that illustrate this conceptual framework. How did pooling scientific knowledge enable the Industrial Revolution? How do social networks underpin the credit system enabling the Agra footwear market? How did the market category Scotch whisky emerge and who has access to it? What is the potential of blockchain-ledgers as shared knowledge repositories? This volume demonstrates the importance of shared knowledge in modern society.
Chapter 19 concludes the book and analyzes the importance of the notion of synthesis for Tinbergen. Synthesis for him was a unity in moral and scientific perspective, and he admired most those economists and social reformers who were able to combine scientific insight with moral vision and practical action. The chapter analyzes the extent to which Tinbergen’s own work and efforts represent such a synthesis. It is suggested that his personal goals of peace and harmony were only partially integrated with his scientific economics. These elements coexisted, which meant that he left a fragmented legacy. His contributions to scientific expertise and its institutionalization, however, had the most long-lasting influence. And although expertise proved hard to combine with his own high-minded idealism, it is demonstrated that what attracted economists like Tinbergen to a role as policy expert was precisely the belief that social goals could be pursued through economic policy. The goal for control through rational planning of economic policy also fitted his personality well, and thus best captures the Tinbergen synthesis.
Chapter 1 uses the construction of the Peace Palace in The Hague around 1910 as metaphor for his intellectual project. The Peace Palace was the tangible outcome of two consecutive international conferences on international law in Tinbergen’s birthplace. The conferences were an initiative of nineteenth-century imperial powers, but provided an important impetus to the international legal, and later economic, order that would come to characterize the twentieth century. In a similar way Tinbergen’s work is marked by a tension between older nineteenth-century historical state-centered perspectives on the economy and modern twentieth-century techniques and scientific tools. The theme of peace and the construction of an international order were central to Tinbergen’s intellectual project. And like the Peace Palace, his project was characterized by a tension between high-minded idealism and political realities. Most importantly, the city of The Hague as diplomatic center in a small country, dependent on international trade and peace, provides a helpful lens through which to understand Tinbergen’s oeuvre.
Chapter 8 analyzes his work for the League of Nations, which resulted in the first macro-econometric model of the US economy. The League’s Economic and Financial Section was a hub of economic expertise in the 1930s. Before Tinbergen arrived, Gottfried Haberler had produced an overview of the business-cycle theories. This chapter argues that the projects of Haberler and Tinbergen are best understood as outcomes of joint work under the supervision of Arthur Loveday and Dennis Robertson, with the help of assistants, coauthors, and expert committees. Although commissioned and published under the names of particular authors and understood as monographs, the studies are attempts to create expert consensus. A detailed study of the Tinbergen report demonstrates at once the various coauthors and internal critics involved and the contested nature of virtually all aspects of the study, as well as the potency of this new teamwork, without which the study would have been impossible. That this report was meant to forge expert consensus means that the critique of John Maynard Keynes of both studies should be understood partly as a challenge to the League of Nations as an institution, and partly to this new type of consensual expert knowledge more broadly.
Chapter 9 details Tinbergen’s activities during World War II when he was working at the Central Bureau of Statistics. It uncovers crucial details about his relationship to the German occupiers and the peculiar deal he struck with them, in particular, Ernst Wagemann, to maintain some degree of independence for the institute. It also seeks to understand his attitude toward fascism, which he strongly condemned at a personal level, but whose economic policies he repeatedly praised in his writings, both before and during the war. The restrictions imposed on research at the CBS during the war meant that Tinbergen could not continue his studies into the business cycle, which had been declared a relic of the past by the Germans. In response to these restrictions Tinbergen wrote some of his more systematic work in economic theory and economic growth, further removed from policy. What is most striking is that precisely during the turbulent 1930s and 1940s a notion of an autonomous economic system emerged in his work. This detachment from politics and society is analyzed in detail. The chapter closes with a discussion of his efforts during the early Reconstruction years as director of the newly founded Central Planning Bureau.
Chapter 17 analyzes his efforts, throughout his scientific career, to measure welfare. Measurement was crucial for his intellectual program. While measurement often succeeded in his early career with the development of business-cycle statistics, the measurement of welfare remained unattainable. The measurement of welfare was important because it would allow a scientific comparison of the welfare levels between different individuals, and thus of the degree of inequality. He wanted to use that as a basis for his scientific notion of justice. In his efforts he went against a general consensus in economics that interpersonal comparisons of welfare were beyond the reach of economic science. Tinbergen took up a chair in Leiden after his retirement and attempted to develop a collaboration with Bernard van Praag and Arie Kapteyn, but their joint approach found little support in the wider economics community. Nonetheless, the failure is interesting because it provides insight into the way in which moral concerns became more important later in Tinbergen’s career, how crucial measurement was to him, and because his attempts foreshadowed later approaches in economics to measure capabilities and happiness. Most importantly, it demonstrates how he hoped that science could inform normative concepts such as justice.
Chapter 13 analyzes his contributions to development economics. It is argued that his central contribution is not an economic theory of development, but rather a technique for development planning. Tinbergen’s work on planning is mainly concerned with implementing development plans, which he argued should be done using his three-stage planning model, consisting of the macro phase, the industry phase, and the project phase. Later work expanded this model to include regional planning and education planning. After the initial period between 1955 and 1960, most of Tinbergen’s work on development economics was increasingly about a vision of an integrated world economy. It is demonstrated that econometric and analytical work moved to the background and that his visionary and institutional work moved to the foreground. Crucial in his vision of the international economic order was his experience in the Netherlands. The chapter shows how his vision of the international economic structure crucially relied on analogies with the national economic order. The chapter concludes with some early reflections on his development economic work and suggests that it largely disregarded the ethos of self-help and emancipation that Tinbergen knew from his youth in the AJC.
Chapter 7 is one of three chapters that reflects on the rise of economic expertise during the twentieth century. It places the development of Tinbergen’s econometric techniques within a broader political context in which political parties during the middle of the twentieth century moved away from ideological and class-based foundations and toward general interest parties, known as people’s parties (or in German Volksparteien). This generated a demand from within politics for a new type of economic expert, who served no longer as party ideologues, but rather as policy experts. This was most visible in the social-democratic parties, such as the Dutch SDAP, which transformed in the PvdA (Labor Party). During the same period economists presented themselves increasingly as experts to the state, who could scientifically pursue the general interest. These developments run counter to the more widely known story about economics becoming a value-free science as proclaimed by Lionel Robbins. The chapter argues that Tinbergen’s contributions are best understood as a continuation of the German tradition of Staatswissenschaften, which pursued economics in service of the state.