The topic of policy recommendations provided by researchers has sparked a heated debate, with the Economic Research Institute Etla’s “Finland rescue package”-publication at the center of the controversy. This publication recommended several changes including cuts in corporate and income taxes. However, the dispute that was sparked questioned the selectivity of research references and the ideological nature of the tax proposals.
As the debate intensified, three economics researchers were asked to weigh in on their views: Mika Maliranta, Director of Labore, Marita Laukkanen, a WATER research professor and working life professor of economics at the University of Tampere, and Kaisa Kotakorpi, a professor of economics at the University of Tampere.
Mika Maliranta believed that similar publications should be seen as reviews presenting the scope of research literature on a particular issue rather than individual research results. He argued that meticulous reviews require generous funding and pointed to former State Council’s investigation and research activities as a successful model.
Marita Laukkanen emphasized that good scientific practice and thorough analysis are necessary for formulating policy recommendations. She highlighted the importance of evaluating prior research to ensure credibility and high quality while considering factors such as age and relevance of materials and methods.
Kaisa Kotakorpi acknowledged that writing clear policy recommendations from economic research literature is challenging due to limited policies benefiting everyone directly. She stressed examining both advantages and disadvantages of a particular policy as well as its distribution while also considering country context reliability studies.
All three researchers emphasized how difficult it is to provide unambiguous policy recommendations in social science research and emphasized the need for an evidence-based discussion on this topic.
The debate eventually garnered significant attention with experts participating from all sides. It brought about heated debates about policy recommendations provided by researchers, their credibility, selectivity, ideology and impact on society as whole.