“The French Minister of Budget raises more ideas than taxes.” Two literary prizes for economic books under the “high patronage” of the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance

Special report. The nation of economists. Economics in the face of public power (twentieth to twenty-first centuries) Vol. 2
By Jean-Michel Chahsiche

Since the 2000s, The French Ministry of Budget has been committed to a policy of economics education, bringing together public, private, and nonprofit organizations. An example of where the effects of this policy can be seen is in “the high patronage of the Ministry for the Economy and Finance” granted to two litterary prizes in the field of economics: the Prix du livre d’économie – run by the nonprofit organization Lire la société, which has close ties to the political and administrative elite and the economic press – and the Prix Turgot for the best book on financial economics – awarded by a think tank with strong links to financial elites.
By examining their institutional environment (partner companies and public institutions), and the prosopography of their actors (organizers, judges, and winners), this study questions a particular form of relationship between temporal power and spiritual power over the economy. We show that the two prizes seek to capture and control resources that the judges and organizers lack: titles of intellectual and scientific legitimacy, academic positions and expertise, and media notoriety. If this differential shows the heteronomy of the work of consecration, entrusted to agents and institutions lacking legitimacy in the production of economic knowledge, our investigation shows that the function of consecration is coupled with a latent function of socialization between economic, intellectual, and media elites, and with an ideological function of promoting economic liberalism that benefits from the “high patronage” of the Ministry of Budget.

  • ministry of budget
  • ministry of economy
  • economic education
  • economic culture
  • literary prize
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