A heated debate has ensued over the policy recommendations provided by researchers last week, with the Economic Research Institute Etla’s “Finland rescue package” publication at the heart of the controversy. This publication proposed several changes including cuts in corporate and income taxes, which sparked a dispute over the selectivity of research references and the ideological nature of the tax proposals.
The conversation intensified as the week progressed, with CEO of Etla Aki Kangasharju accusing professor of social policy at the University of Helsinki Heikki Hiilamo of lying and exhibiting bias towards party politics. The debate eventually garnered a great deal of attention and drew the participation of many experts.
Three economics researchers were asked to weigh in on this topic: 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.
Maliranta considered whether similar publications such as “rescue package” should be seen and treated 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. Maliranta also pointed out that it can be challenging to provide strong or explicit policy recommendations given the uncertainty associated with social science research. His stance is that meticulous reviews necessitate generous funding, pointing to past State Council’s investigation and research activities as a successful model.
Laukkanen stressed the importance of good scientific practice and thorough analysis required to formulate policy recommendations. She emphasized that prior research must be evaluated and qualified for credibility and high quality while considering factors like age, relevance, materials, methods used in previous studies. Laukkanen also highlighted that writing clear policy recommendations from economic research literature is challenging due to limited policies that would benefit everyone directly. It is essential to examine both advantages and disadvantages