My PhD research concerns the history of social and economic planning in the Netherlands from 1923 to 1998, and focusses on the changing discourse concerning the relationship between planning and democracy. I investigate this change by looking at the conceptual history of the notions public opinion and the future and analyse how specific planning practices have made use of these concepts. Doing so, I want to argue that social and economic planning should first and foremost be understood as part of a constant renegotiation of the demarcations between state and society; citizens and expert. The project is supervised by Huub Dijstelbloem and Federica Russo (see the tab ‘Research’ for more information).
In general I’m interested in the following topics: the relation between state, science and citizenship, (un)democratic nature of scientific expertise, history and philosophy of historical time and the realtionship between visuals and science.
Side interest include the history of the humanities and the philosophy of historiography.
The topic of my PhD research is the relation between economic sciences on the one hand and political discourse and policymaking on the other. More specific I focus on how changes in methodology and theory in economics contribute to conceptualization of economic issues in political discussions and policymaking. In the exploration of this topic, I investigate how historically specific ways of economic modelling have related to different forms of economic expertise, institutional embedding of economics, and role of economists in governments’ apparatuses.
The research is mainly focused on writing a history of the Centraal Planbureau (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, CPB for short), the most prominent scientific advisory council for the Dutch government for financial and economic issues. Founded in 1945 by Jan Tinbergen, the CPB has perpetuated its instrumental role in the coordination of the Dutch economy, even when cultural and institutional position of the bureau has shifted considerably since its beginning. The history of the CPB, therefore, invites a diachronic study of how the institutional position, forms of scientific expertise and modeling practices have changed within one institute, and how these developments relate to each other.
It is my belief that in order to tackle to topic of the relation between economics and policy, a historical perspective that focusses on the scientific practices of economic modelling is necessary, since studying modelling practices are highly informative about what concerns and considerations models and theory of economics, and how these models inform policymakers. I see my approach in line with the writings of Mary Morgan or Marcel Boumans (among others) on economic modelling.