Project

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An elusive warden of capitalism: the OECD between prosperity and crisis (1961-1985)

English title An elusive warden of capitalism: the OECD between prosperity and crisis (1961-1985)
Applicant Leimgruber Matthieu
Number 139023
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline General history (without pre-and early history)
Start/End 01.08.2012 - 30.09.2016
Approved amount 1'204'114.00
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Keywords (10)

economics; crisis; transnational; 20th Century; capitalism; statistics; OECD; international organization; networks; expertise

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

This project will analyze how the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) operated during the first quarter century of its existence (1961-1985). Despite the prominence of its expertise in areas ranging from education to finance, but also including labor relations, social policy or the environment, the setting up, development and many-fold activities of the OECD have largely remained off the radar screen of scholarly investigation. In other words, atlthough governments, experts and scholars routinely use, discuss and comment OECD data and recommendations, we still know very little about its trajectory.

Using archival sources, interviews as well as collective biography methods, our research team will chart the functioning, personnel, internal debates and output of the OECD, as well as highlight its role and influence in the global monitoring of contemporary capitalism. Inspired by the new transnational history of internaitonal organizations, this project will underscore the links, overlaps, competition and collaboration between the OECD and other international organizations, as well as its connections with academia, national ministries as well as non-governmental structures. This project will consider the OECD as a observation platform to follow transnational developments during a time-frame linking the apex of postwar growth (late 1960s) with the emergence of the post-Keynesian responses to the crisis (mid 1980s), a long decade that was the laboratory and incubation period of contemporary globalization.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
The Hegemony of Growth. The OECD and the Making of the Economic Growth Paradigm
Schmelzer Matthias (2016), The Hegemony of Growth. The OECD and the Making of the Economic Growth Paradigm, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
"Expandiere oder stirb”. Das Wachstumsparadigma, die OECD und wie sich die Erwartung exponentiellen Wirtschaftswachstums durchsetzte
Schmelzer M. (2015), "Expandiere oder stirb”. Das Wachstumsparadigma, die OECD und wie sich die Erwartung exponentiellen Wirtschaftswachstums durchsetzte, in Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 41, 1-37.
Die Vermessung ,der Wirtschaft’. Zur internationalen Standardisierung der volkswirtschaftlichen Gesamtrechnung in den 1940er und 50er Jahren
Schmelzer Matthias (2015), Die Vermessung ,der Wirtschaft’. Zur internationalen Standardisierung der volkswirtschaftlichen Gesamtrechnung in den 1940er und 50er Jahren, in Geschichte und Gesellschaft, 41, 1-37.
Entwickelter Norden, unterentwickelter Süden? Wissenseliten, Entwicklungshilfe und die Konstruktion des Westens in der OEEC und OECD
Schmelzer Matthias (2015), Entwickelter Norden, unterentwickelter Süden? Wissenseliten, Entwicklungshilfe und die Konstruktion des Westens in der OEEC und OECD, in Comparativ, 25(5), 18-35.
OCDE et bonnes pratiques: Une histoire inséparable
Beroud S Hajduk T (2015), OCDE et bonnes pratiques: Une histoire inséparable, in Klein A. Laporte C. & Saiget M. (ed.), Presses de Sciences Po, Paris, 59-75.
The embattled standard-bearer of social insurance and its challenger : the ILO, the OECD, and the «crisis of the welfare state», 1975-1985
Leimgruber Matthieu (2015), The embattled standard-bearer of social insurance and its challenger : the ILO, the OECD, and the «crisis of the welfare state», 1975-1985, in Kott S. & Droux J. (ed.), Palgrave, Basingstoke, 293-309.
The growth paradigm: History, hegemony, and the contested making of economic growthmanship
Schmelzer M (2015), The growth paradigm: History, hegemony, and the contested making of economic growthmanship, in Ecological Economics , 118, 262-271.
"A club of the rich to help the poor? The OECD as an unduly neglected actor in the field of 'development'"
Schmelzer Matthias (2014), "A club of the rich to help the poor? The OECD as an unduly neglected actor in the field of 'development'", in M. Frey S. Kunkel & C. Unger (ed.), Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 171-195.
«KRISTENSEN Thorkil, Secretary general of the OECD, 1961-1969»,
Schmelzer Matthias (2014), «KRISTENSEN Thorkil, Secretary general of the OECD, 1961-1969»,, IO BIO research project, Radboud University, The Netherlands.
«MARJOLIN Robert. Secretary general of the OEEC, 1948-1954»
Heiniger Alix (2014), «MARJOLIN Robert. Secretary general of the OEEC, 1948-1954», research project IO BIO, Radboud University, the Netherlands.
A club of the rich to help the poor? The OECD as an unduly neglected actor in the field of 'development'
Schmelzer Matthias (2014), A club of the rich to help the poor? The OECD as an unduly neglected actor in the field of 'development', in M. Frey S. Kunkel & C. Unger (ed.), Palgrave-MacMillan, Basingstoke, 171-195.
The Crisis before the Crisis: The ‘problems of Modern Society’ and the OECD, 1968–74
Schmelzer M. (2013), The Crisis before the Crisis: The ‘problems of Modern Society’ and the OECD, 1968–74, in Nützenadel Alexander & Torp Cornelius (ed.), Routledge, London, 151-172.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. T. David & Dr. A. Mach, "Elites suisses" (University of Lausanne) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Prof S. Kott & Prof D. Rodogno, “History of International Organizations Network" (HION/UNIGE) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof Katzuhiko Yago (Waseda University, Tokyo) Japan (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr. Bob Reinalda, "IO Bio Project" (Radboud University, The Netherlands) Netherlands (Europe)
- Publication
Dr. Jenny Andersson, «FUTUREPOL» ERC project, Sciences Po Paris France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
SNF sinergia network «Transnational patterns of regulation» Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr. Richard Woodward (University of Hull, United Kingdom) Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof D. Speich, "Makroökonomisches Wissen und internationale Organisation" (University of Luzern) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Workshop «Zur Soziologie ökonomischen Wissens», Friedrich-Schiller Universität Jena Talk given at a conference "Wirtschaftswachstum als Hegemonie. Historische Zugriffe auf ökonomisches Wissen am Beispiel des Wachstumsparadigmas” 17.07.2014 Jena, Germany Schmelzer Matthias;
Historiales/Programme doctoral CUSO en histoire contemporaine, University of Geneva Talk given at a conference «Interdépendance, collaborations et confrontations: l'OCDE et la transformation de la coopération économique internationale, 1971-1984» 17.06.2014 Geneva, Switzerland Beroud Samuel;
Workshop Centre Alexandre Koyré, EHESS, Paris Individual talk L. Fulleringer will present his PhD project entitled «A la frontière de la modernité. Une histoire de l’OECE/OCDE et des politiques scientifiques de 1957 à 1987» 10.06.2014 Paris, France Fulleringer Ludovic;
Workshop “One World Economy: Histories of an Idea”, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin Talk given at a conference "Measuring growth: The international standardization of national income accounting” 30.05.2014 Berlin, Germany Schmelzer Matthias;
OECD workshop at Sciences Po Paris Talk given at a conference with Henning Türk (Duisburg/Essen) on the OECD and energy, Noël Bonhomme (IEP Strasbourg) on the conflictual relations between the G7 and the OECD, and Samuel Beroud (Geneva) on the OECD facing the 1970s crisis 20.03.2014 Paris, France Fulleringer Ludovic; Beroud Samuel; Leimgruber Matthieu; Schmelzer Matthias;
Sinergia workshop «Social and economic policy making. Scientific experts in transnational perspective», University of Basel Individual talk «More than a rational number cruncher: the OECD, political interests and restricted spaces» 08.02.2014 Basel, Switzerland Schmelzer Matthias;
conference «Crisis, Ideas and Policy Transformation: Experts and Expertise in European International Organizations, 1973-1987 Talk given at a conference «A pilot fish ahead of the sharks? The changing fortunes of OECD expertise and experts during the “long 1970s”» 30.01.2014 Maastricht, Netherlands Leimgruber Matthieu; Beroud Samuel;
Paul Bairoch Institute staff seminar, University of Geneva Individual talk Presentation of PhD projects 05.12.2013 Geneva, Switzerland Beroud Samuel; Fulleringer Ludovic;
«Research seminar in political science», University of St. Gallen Individual talk Writing the history of the OECD 13.11.2013 St. Gallen, Switzerland Leimgruber Matthieu;
«Forschungskolloquium Soziologie», University of Luzern Individual talk Writing the history of the OECD 01.10.2013 Luzern, Switzerland Schmelzer Matthias; Leimgruber Matthieu;
8th pan-European Conference on International Relations Talk given at a conference “The ”development of others” and the hegemony of donors countries. the historical origins of the OEEC/OECD Development Assistance Committee” 20.09.2013 Warsaw, Poland Schmelzer Matthias;
Japan Socio-Economic History Society Conference Talk given at a conference The keepers of the keys: the OECD and the postwar internationalization of economic expertise 01.06.2013 Tokyo, Japan Heiniger Alix;
Japan Socio-Economic History Society Conference, University of Tokyo Talk given at a conference Institutionalizing the hegemony of donor countries: the OECD as a key actor in the emerging field of “development” during the 1960s 01.06.2013 Tokyo, Japan Schmelzer Matthias;
Research Seminar on International Organizations of the Centre d'Etudes des Relations Internationales (CERI) - Sciences Po (Paris) Individual talk An elusive warden of global capitalism: the OECD, 1961-1985 29.05.2013 Paris, France Leimgruber Matthieu;
research workshop ESPCI (École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles, Paris) Individual talk L'internationalisation des politiques scientifiques entre 1953 et 1987 dans les pays de l'OCDE 20.05.2013 Paris, France Fulleringer Ludovic;
workshop “La prosopographie: objets et méthodes”, LARHRA/LAMOP/Archives Nationales, Peyreffite sur Seine (France) Individual talk The keepers of the keys: the OECD and the postwar internationalization of economic expertise 15.05.2013 Peyrefitte sur Seine / Paris, France Heiniger Alix;
conference “The European welfare state in a global context: historical perspectives since 1945”, German Historical Institute, London Talk given at a conference “The embattled standard-bearer of social insurance and its challenger : the ILO, the OECD, and the «crisis of the welfare state», 1975-1985” 13.04.2013 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Leimgruber Matthieu;
workshop “Méthodes quantitatives et histoire”, Université de Genève Individual talk The keepers of the keys: the OECD and the postwar internationalization of economic expertise 20.03.2013 Genève, Switzerland Heiniger Alix; Leimgruber Matthieu;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Awards

Title Year
Best Dissertation (ex aequo) in 20th C. Economic History of the International Economic History Association (World Economic History Conference 2015 Kyoto) https://blogdelaamhe.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/prix-de-these-au-congres-dhistoire-mondiale-dhistoire-economique-de-kyoto/ http://www.wehc2015.org/scientificprogramme-call_for_dissertations.html 2015
Friedrich Lütge-Preis 2015 of the Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte http://www.gswg.net 2015
Kapp-research prize of the German association for ecological economics (Vereinigung für Ökologische Ökonomie, VÖÖ) http://www.voeoe.de/2014/09/kapp-forschungspreis-fur-okologische-okonomie-2014/ 2014

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
162059 Warden of the West. The OECD and the global political economy, 1948 to present 01.08.2015 Scientific Conferences
151400 Das Hilfe/Handels-Paradox: Die Reaktion der schweizerischen Dritt-Welt-Bewegung auf das Einsetzen der öffentlichen Entwicklungshilfe (1968-1983) 01.02.2014 Marie Heim-Voegtlin grants

Abstract

This project aims to truly historicize our knowledge of the OECD during the first quarter century of its existence (1961-1985). Using archival sources, interviews as well as collective biography methods, it aims to chart the functioning, personnel, internal debates and output of the organization, as well as to highlight its role in the global monitoring of capitalism. Inspired by the new transnational history of IOs, this research will underscore the links, overlaps, competition and collaboration between the OECD and other IOs, as well as its connections with academia, national ministries as well as non-governmental organizations. This project will consider the OECD as a observation platform to follow transnational developments during a time-frame linking the apex of postwar growth (late 1960s) with the emergence of the post-Keynesian responses to the crisis (mid 1980s), this long decade was the laboratory and incubation period of contemporary globalization.
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