A heated debate has emerged over policy recommendations put forth by researchers last week, with the Economic Research Institute Etla’s “Finland rescue package” publication at the center of the controversy. The publication included several changes such as cuts in corporate and income taxes, which sparked a dispute that questioned the selectivity of research references and the ideological nature of the tax proposals.
As the week progressed, the CEO of Etla, Aki Kangasharju, accused Professor Heikki Hiilamo of lying and exhibiting bias towards party politics. This led to a great deal of attention and drew in many experts who weighed in on the debate. Three economics researchers were asked for their opinions: Mika Maliranta, Director of Labore; Marita Laukkanen, WATER research professor and working life professor of economics at the University of Tampere; and Kaisa Kotakorpi, professor of economics at the University of Tampere.
Mika Maliranta considered whether similar publications should be seen as reviews presenting the scope of research literature on a particular issue. He noted that these are more beneficial to public debates than individual research results. However, he acknowledged that it can be challenging to provide strong or explicit policy recommendations given the uncertainty associated with social science research. Maliranta believes that meticulous reviews require generous funding and pointed to the former State Council’s investigation and research activities as a successful model.
Marita Laukkanen emphasized the importance of good scientific practice and thorough analysis required to formulate policy recommendations. She highlighted the need for evaluating and qualifying prior research to ensure credibility and high quality, taking into account factors like age and relevance of materials and methods. Laukkanen also stressed that writing out clear policy recommendations from economic research literature is challenging due to limited policies that would benefit everyone directly. It is crucial to examine both advantages and disadvantages of a particular policy as well as its distribution while considering country context reliability studies.
Kaisa Kotakorpi added that providing unambiguous policy recommendations in social science is difficult due to limited policies that would benefit everyone directly. It is essential to examine both advantages