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Political Science


If ‘knowledge is power’, it is unsurprising that the production, legitimation, and application of social scientific knowledge, not least that which was designed to harness social organization to economic growth, is a potentially contentious process. Coping with, adapting to, or attempting to shape globalization has emerged as a central concern of policy-makers who are, therefore, interested in knowledge to assist their managerial activities. Thus, an organization that can create, synthesize, legitimate, and dissemination useful knowledge can play a significant role in the emerging global governance system. The OECD operates as one important site for the construction, standardization, and dissemination of transnational policy ideas. OECD staff conducts research and produces a range of background studies and reports, drawing on disciplinary knowledge (typically economics) supplemented by their ‘organizational discourses’. This paper probes the contested nature of knowledge production and attempts to evaluate the impact of the OECD’s efforts to produce globally applicable policy advice. Particular attention is paid to important initiatives in the labour market and social policy fields—the Jobs Study and Babies and Bosses.


This article was originally published in European Political Science Review, 1(1): 83-101. © 2009 European Consortium for Political Research