Academic IR, Money and Finance, and Policy Relevance

David Steinberg and I recently finished a paper entitled “Is International Relations Relevant for International Money and Finance?” Here is the abstract:

Using data from the Teaching, Research & International Policy (TRIP) surveys of policymakers, scholars, and academic journals, we show that scholars and policymakers agree that international money and finance are central concerns for contemporary policy, but that international relations research on money and finance remains a small fraction of all published IR research. While these data probably understate the extent to which international relations scholarship focuses on topics of money and finance, they do reflect a general asymmetry between the position of IR research on money and finance and the obvious policy relevance of international security scholarship. We suggest that the paucity of policy-oriented IR research on money and finance is largely a consequence of the relative success of economics in providing policymakers with the tools they need to understand economic policy problems, but that this is exacerbated by disciplinary incentives within the IR community. Increasing the policy relevance of academic IR research on money and finance will require changes to scholarly practice, and greater effort to capitalize on the complementarity of IR and economics.

The paper is for an upcoming conference on theory and policy in international relations, organized by the Institute for the Theory & Practice of International Relations at William & Mary. It will be interesting to compare our views of the state of IR research on money and finance to other participants’ views of international security, human rights, and international organization. Watch this space for more.