Making Economics Public : The Hows and Whys of Communicating Markets and Models book cover
1st Edition

Making Economics Public
The Hows and Whys of Communicating Markets and Models

  • Available for pre-order on May 1, 2023. Item will ship after May 22, 2023
ISBN 9781032254852
May 22, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
168 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Economics – macro, micro and mysterious - is integral to everyday life. But despite its importance for personal and collective decision making, it is a discipline often viewed as technical, arcane and inaccessible and thus overlooked in public discourse. This book is a call to arms to bring the discipline of economics more into the public domain. It calls on economists to think about how to make their knowledge of the economics public. And it calls on those who specialise in communicating expert knowledge to help us learn to communicate about economics. The book brings together scholars and practitioners working at the early stages of an emerging field: the public communication of, and public engagement with, economics. Through a series of short essays from academics and practitioners, the book has two key goals: first and foremost, it will make a case for why we need to make economics public, and for the importance of having a clear vision of what it means to make economics public. Secondly, it suggests some ways that this can be done featuring contributions from practitioners, including economists, who are engaging audiences in newspapers, museums and beyond. This book is essential reading for those in economics with an interest in making economics public and those already in the many fields dedicated to communicating expert knowledge in public spaces who have an interest in where economics can fit.

Table of Contents


Vicki Macknight

Fabien Medvecky


SECTION ONE: Why should we make economics more public?

Introduction to Section One

1. Towards a Political Economy of Public Understanding of Economics

John Durant

2. Economics and power

Pierre Benz

Jens Maesse

Stephan Puehringer

Tierry Rossier

3. What do people know about economics ... and what should they know?

Anna Killick


SECTION TWO - How to make economics public?

Introduction to Section Two

4. Public-facing economists

Romesh Vaitilingam

5. How the Economy Museum Makes Economic Public

Thomas Shepard

Eva Johnston

6. The networks of economics: Economics about the public should be for the public

The Rethinking Economics Team

7. More Talk, Less Chalk: Communicating Economics in the Modern Classroom

Chris Colvin


SECTION THREE - Challenges to making economics public

Introduction to Section Three

8. Knowing economics with your phone

Vicki Macknight

9. The problem of politics in communicating economics

Kevin Albertson

10. Who are the economic experts? How can one tell?

Carlo Martini

11. Ethical Considerations in Making Economics Public

Joan Leach,

Fabien Medvecky,


SECTION FOUR – Economics in a Democratic World

Introduction to Section Four

12. Free Speech, Rhetoric, and a Free Economy

Deidre McCloskey,


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Vicki Macknight has a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Melbourne. She currently works for the Centre for Science Communication at the University of Otago She has published a book, Imagining Classrooms: Stories of children, teachers and ethnography. Fabien Medvecky has graduate degrees in philosophy and economics. His work focuses on making complex knowledge public and he is currently a senior lecturer at the Centre for Science Communication at the University of Otago in New Zealand.


"The movement for better public engagement with science often focuses on the natural sciences. Macknight and Medvecky have brought together authors who push us to the harder problem: public engagement with SOCIAL sciences. Knowing about economics is probably more fundamental to being an informed and engaged citizen than knowing about physics or biology. This important book opens new opportunities for research and practice in how publics engage with economics."

Bruce Lewenstein (he/him)

Professor of Science Communication

Departments of Communication and of Science & Technology Studies,

Cornell University

"The stakes are high when it comes to the public discussion of economics. The subject is technical—close to a science—which means setting out an economic decision in a simple and clear way can be hard. But unlike the sciences, economics is hard-wired into policy decisions that affect all of us, every day. Making Economics Public shows the huge risks that result—from poorly understood policies, to outright dishonesty—and what we must do about it. Each author contributes to establishing the central problem: while we constantly chew over the economy—markets, prices, unemployment—in public debate, discussion of the underlying economics that drive these outcomes is scant. Making Economics Public is a bold step towards rectifying this problem, packed with examples of how and why public discourse can be so thin, shallow and opaque, and what can be done about it. The book should be a mandatory read for policy economists and will be an enlightening read for anyone seeking a better understanding of the forces shaping our lives."

Richard Davies

Professor of the Public Understanding of Economics

University of Bristol