Development and Underdevelopment in the History of Economic Thought

Plotting the words of 2008-2014 crisis

Tusset Gianfranco Tusset, University of Padua

The recent crisis has brought central bankers and economists to the fore. Central bankers have been called upon to take measures to combat economic collapse. Economists were asked to explain the reasons for the crisis and to develop strategies to deal with it. Although central bankers and economists address the same issues, interacting with each other, often exchanging roles, we present these protagonists of the economic scene as belonging to different aggregates and who speak of the economic and financial crisis in different ways. The reasons for this linguistic divergence lie in the fact that they speak to different interlocutors. Market and general public in the first case; community of scholars, in the second. However, studying the interrelationships between these two groups can tell us something about the process of developing responses to deal with the crisis. The perspective adopted is unusual for the history of economic thought: the comparison of the lexicon chosen by the two groups. Indeed, central bankers and economists find representation here through their corpora or, better, they are identified by their words. In particular, the speeches of central bankers during the crisis constitute the first linguistic corpus; scientific articles written by economists shape the second linguistic ensemble. Working on these corpora, we will try to verify the existence of linguistic exchanges between the two groups, as a premise for any theoretical or conceptual transfer.

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Keywords: Central bankers’ speeches; Central banking articles; Communication

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