Central bankers and centralized wage bargaining: A different perspective on the rise of neoliberalism in Norway

Lilla Sparbanksfoajén Session 1: The Neoliberal Shift organized by Jonas Ljungberg and Erik Bengtsson


Eivind Thomassen


There is broad agreement about the significance of professional economists and their ideas for the rise of neoliberalism in Western Europe from the 1970s onwards. Central bank economists have rightly been seen by many as particularly important. But what exact ideas were crucial for the policy shifts of the period, and how new were they? How ‘neo’, in other words, was the liberalism of 1970s central bankers? This paper seeks to address this crucial question by exploring central bank economists views on postwar dirigiste policies in Norway from the late 1940s until the 1980s. In particular, it investigates the views on the role of the state in wage formation, and the advice economists gave on this issue to government.


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