To Whisper in the King's Ear: Economists in Pahlavi and Islamic Iran
Sadr, Ehsanee Ian
Haufler, Virginia A.
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Who whispers in the King's ear, for how long, and to what effect? The primary hypothesis guiding this study is that economists gain influence when the international resources they can deliver are valued and desired by the country's political leadership; and economists lose influence when those resources are not valued or desired. Alternate hypotheses that consider the role of increasing complexity in international economic relations, epistemic communities, emulation, and economists' political activity are also considered. These hypotheses are evaluated through a study of the experiences of economists in Iran under both the Pahlavi monarchy and the Islamic regime. Results indicate support for the primary hypothesis that economists are desired for their ability to signal competence and gain the trust of the international financial and donor communities. Surprisingly, especially in the Islamic Republic, epistemic communities of economists are also found to have been very successful in using moments of political or economic crisis to influence the worldview and economic policy preferences of political leaders.