The recent debate over the policy recommendations provided by researchers has centered on the “Finland rescue package” publication from the Economic Research Institute Etla. This publication recommended several changes, including cuts in corporate and income taxes. The controversy sparked questions about 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. The debate eventually drew attention from many experts, with three economics researchers being asked for their opinions.
Mika Maliranta, Director of Labore, considered whether publications like “rescue package” should be viewed as reviews that present a comprehensive overview of research literature on a particular issue. He emphasized that such reviews are essential to public debates and require generous funding to ensure meticulous analysis. He pointed to previous successful models such as those established by former State Council investigations and research activities.
Marita Laukkanen, a WATER research professor working life professor of economics at the University of Tampere, stressed the importance of good scientific practices and thorough analysis when formulating policy recommendations. She emphasized evaluating and qualifying prior research for credibility and high quality while considering factors like age and relevance of materials and methods used in studies.
Kaisa Kotakorpi, a professor of economics at the University of Tampere, added that writing clear policy recommendations from economic research literature is challenging due to limited policies benefiting everyone directly, making it necessary to consider both advantages and disadvantages as well as distribution implications while examining policies’ contextual reliability.
All three researchers acknowledged that providing unambiguous policy recommendations in social science is difficult due to various factors, including uncertainty associated with social science research and the need for evidence-based discussions on these topics.
The debate has highlighted significant challenges faced by researchers when attempting to provide concrete policy recommendations based on their work. It has also underscored the importance of ensuring transparency in scientific practices while promoting critical thinking in public discourse about important societal issues.