From ‘What New Political Economy Is’ to ‘Why Is Everything New Political Economy?’
In this paper, I aim to define New Political Economy (NPE) as a label for the economic analysis of politics, for the English language. The term “political economy” itself, although it has ceased to be the preferred term by which economists refer to their discipline, it is still being used by a variety of scholars, especially for interdisciplinary research with political science and other social sciences. The term gained prominence with various critiques to orthodox economics, especially to the theory of economic policy and to economic planning. They ignored issues of political economy, such as the self-interest of politicians. The public choice movement revived these issues by applying rational choice theory to politics, but preferred the label “public choice” to designate its movement. Scholars and traditions not affiliated with the public choice movement prefer the label “(new) political economy” to refer to their own economic analysis of politics. The search for a proper label is still ongoing, but they show how they can differentiate their objectives and affiliations.