Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

International Review of Applied Economics

For a Special Issue on

Risk, Uncertainty,and Democracy

Manuscript deadline
01 February 2024

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Jonathan Michie, University of Oxford
[email protected]

Suzanne Schneider, Brooklyn Institute for Social Research
[email protected]

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Risk, Uncertainty,and Democracy

Just over a century ago Frank Knight’s seminal book, Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit, set out to carefully distinguish risk from uncertainty. As Knight wrote at the time, “it will appear that a measurable uncertainty, or 'risk' proper, as we shall use the term, is so far different from an unmeasurable one that it is not in effect an uncertainty at all.” In contrast to Knight’s attempt to define risk in terms of measurement and quantification, contemporary invocations of risk are remarkably ambiguous – from health risks and climate risks to those associated with artificial intelligence, crime, terrorism, and war. These shifts have reshaped not only our language and everyday behaviors, but states and societies more broadly. Indeed, alongside what Ulrich Beck termed the risk society, we have seen the emergence of the risk management society: the conceptual and material reconfiguration of both public and private institutions around risk management as their raison d’etre.

This special edition of the International Review of Applied Economics invites proposals for articles that explore these themes, and this transformation, focusing particularly on the conceptual nexus between risk, uncertainty, economic crises, and democracy.

We invite original contributions that eschew siloed and technocratic approaches to risk assessment and management, to consider risk as a key organizing principle for social and political life in the twenty-first century. The editors particularly welcome works that consider the relationship between risk’s historic, financial applications and those that proliferate today in social and political settings ranging from education to policing and public health. Contributions should speak to one of the following broad areas of inquiry:

  1. How did the careful distinction Knight made between risk and uncertainty become so muddled, and to what effect? Is this distinction still useful for understanding capitalism in the twenty-first century?
  2. Risk and uncertainty, the global financial system, and economic crises – what role has economic theory and policy played?
  3. Why and how has risk, a concept with a long history and distinct meaning in the contexts of finance and insurance, moved mainstream to become a key organizing principle for twenty-first century social and political life
  4. What type of rationales and incentives structure the risk management industry?
  5. What type of state is the risk management state, and how do the demands to manage risk intersect with those of a democratic society?
  6. What is the role of uncertainty in contemporary efforts to assess and mitigate systemic risk, for instance, in the contexts of global finance or climate change?

The intention would be to have the Special Issue also published as a subsequent book.

Submission Instructions

Papers should be submitted to the International Review of Applied Economics, indicating they are for the Risk, Uncertainty, and Democracy’ Special Issue.

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