Economic Knowledge and the State: Past, Present Future

The global recession, rising populism, growing inequality and climate crisis are among the factors that have brought the authority of economic knowledge and its relationship to government under renewed scrutiny over the past decade. What should be the response of policymakers, economists, advocates and academics be in Australia?

This two-day symposium will offer the first comprehensive effort to critically and historically revaluate the centrality of economic knowledge to Australian state-craft, what it has meant for nation-building initiatives since the middle of the last century, and how this framing is being been challenged or affirmed in the early decades of this century.

We will interrogate the relationship between economics and the Australian state in historical and present-day contexts across a range of policy sectors: tax and public spending; inflation and unemployment; private finance and superannuation; social, energy and climate policy; regional, rural and indigenous economies; trade, aid and international development. Interdisciplinary in focus and format, speakers comprise leading Australian economists and social scientists as well as from journalism, parliament, government institutions and other agencies (among them, the Productivity Commission, the Grattan Institute and the Australian Council of Social Service).An international perspective will be offered by several participants, including an opening address by Dr Mark Wright (Senior Vice President and Director of Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis).

Proceedings are open to the public, although places are strictly limited.

For details on the program, contact Nicholas Brown at

Date & time

Thu 12 Dec 2019, 8.30am – Fri 13 Dec 2019, 5.30pm


Theatrette, Sir Roland Wilson Building


School of History


School of History


Updated:  2 December 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications