Ulysses and the Sirens

Javier Santiso and Laurence Whitehead

in The Oxford Handbook of Latin American Political Economy

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199747504
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Ulysses and the Sirens

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  • Economics
  • Public Economics
  • Economic Development and Growth



This article focuses on relations between experts and politicians in Latin America. It maps cognitive economic policymaking institutions in the region, with illustrations from Peru and Uruguay. It considers national and foreign, public and private institutions, taking into account the state as a cognitive entity, along with institutions such as the analysis and research units of international organizations, government agencies, private consultants, bank research departments, and academic research centers. To sum up, the focus is on how “technopols” articulate acceptable economic policy proposals that are both adoptable by and adaptable to distinctive democratic polities, and how they function as “institutional masts,” counterbalancing the rationality of Weberian “ethics of conviction,” that is, ethics dominated by ideas, normative thinking and ideologies, and thereby anchoring technical policy debates in the “ethics of responsibility”.

Keywords: Latin America; economic policy; policymaking; experts; politicians; Peru; Uruguay

Article.  20786 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Public Economics ; Economic Development and Growth

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