A heated debate has ensued over the 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 suggested several changes, including cuts in corporate and income taxes. The dispute that arose 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 of Social Policy at the University of Helsinki Heikki Hiilamo of lying and exhibiting bias towards party politics.
The debate eventually gained significant attention and drew in numerous experts. Three economics researchers were asked to weigh in on the matter: Mika Maliranta, Director of Labore, Mika Maliranta; 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 argued that similar publications like “rescue package” should be seen as reviews presenting an overview of research literature on a specific issue. While these can be beneficial to public debates, they can also be challenging to provide strong or explicit policy recommendations due to uncertainty associated with social science research. He emphasized that meticulous reviews require generous funding, citing former State Council investigations as a successful model.
Marita Laukkanen highlighted good scientific practice and thorough analysis as crucial when formulating policy recommendations. She pointed out that prior research must be evaluated and qualified for credibility and high quality before making any recommendations, taking into account factors such as age and relevance of materials and methods used in research studies.
Kaisa Kotakorpi acknowledged that writing clear policy recommendations from economic research literature is difficult due to limited policies that would benefit everyone directly. It is essential to consider both advantages and disadvantages of a particular policy as well as its distribution when discussing this topic