Daniel Mügge, professor of Political Arithmetic

29 September 2016

Dr D.K. Mügge (1977) has been named Professor of Political Arithmetic at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

Daniel Mügge will research macroeconomic indicators as technocratic policy instruments. Such indicators – including price indexes and the gross domestic product (GDP) – are mainstays of modern economic policy. However, they have also been the subject of criticism: calculations are less objective than the hard figures suggests. And governance by indicators limits attention to measurable facets of our lives, and diverts attention from everything else.

Statistics have been applied as policy instruments since the 17th century, when the Englishman William Petty invented a new discipline: Political Arithmetick - the predecessor of modern-day impact assessments and evidence-based policies. Although the term itself has now been forgotten, political arithmetic has flourished as a policy method. These days, statistics are integral to the evaluation and management of our economy, even if criticisms of for example GDP are being voiced ever more loudly.

As professor of Political Arithmetic, Mügge will mainly investigate these technocratic policy instruments, with a specific focus on quantitative indicators as a means of economic control and societal management. He will be working with his research team to analyse the political decisions that underpin the indicators and formulas used to measure our economies.

Further research themes

In addition to the political dimensions of macroeconomic indicators, Mügge is also interested in financial markets and their regulation and in political economy more broadly. In 2014, Oxford University Press published Europe and the Governance of Global Finance, offering an overview of Europe's role in global regulation policies since the 2007 financial crisis and edited by Mügge. It followed from Global Financial Integration Thirty Years On: From Reform to Crisis, which Mügge had edited for Cambridge University Press together with his UvA colleagues Geoffrey Underhill and Jasper Blom.

Teaching

Mügge's research themes are central to his teaching. He has offered courses in the Political Science Bachelor's, Research Master’s and Master's programmes, including 'Future of the international political order' as a part of the Bachelor's honours programme. Mügge is actively involved in the development and design of curricula at the Political Science Department, including the new Political Economy Master's track.

About Mügge

Mügge has worked at the UvA’s Political Science Department since 2008, first as assistant professor and, since 2013, as associate professor. He has been a visiting fellow at the Harvard Center for European Studies (USA) and the London School of Economics Political Science Centre for International Studies (UK). He has served as scientific advisor for a study of the financial instruments and legal frameworks of agricultural derivatives markets in the EU, commissioned by the European Parliament. Until the spring of 2016, Mugge has been lead-editor of the Review of International Political Economy, one of the leading global publications in International Political Economy.

In 2014, Mügge received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for his research project entitled The Global Politics of Macroeconomic Measurement. Earlier that year, he also received a Vidi grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) in support of a research project entitled The Politics of Economic Measurements. In 2009, the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) awarded him the Jean Blondel Prize for best dissertation in political science throughout Europe. The book version of this thesis, entitled Widen the Market, Narrow the Competition, was published in the subsequent year.

Published by  UvA Persvoorlichting