Professor George Shambaugh Publishes Oracles, Heroes, or Villains?
The New Book Examines How Experts and Policymakers Interact in Economic Crisis
George E. Shambaugh, Associate Professor of International Affairs and Government in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service has published Oracles, Heroes or Villains: Economic Policymakers, National Politicians and the Power to Change Markets with Cambridge University Press. In the book, Shambaugh examines the ability of experts to compensate for political uncertainty. Using case studies of economic crises in Argentina, the United States and Europe, he specifies the interactions between political uncertainty, market intervention, and investor risk. He then specifies the conditions under which economic technocrats can manage market behavior by shifting expectations regarding what national politicians will do and whether their policies will be effective. He demonstrates that central bankers and finance ministers are more politically active than their archetypal disinterest might suggest. Thus, their efficacy in shaping economic policy and managing markets expectations will prove a measure not only of economic conditions but also their political capability.
Shambaugh was first inspired to undertake this project after conducting interviews with current and former Ministers of Finance and Presidents of Argentina while teaching at the G.U. Development, Management and Policy Program in Buenos Aires. The Smith Richardson Foundation later funded his initial research which led to this endeavor.