Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Economic policy is one of the central activities of government. This entry describes the changing nature of economic policy, discusses the important forms of government intervention, and describes the emerging trends in public sector interventions in the economy. The decision makers, content, and policy instruments of economic policy have changed substantially over the past 50 years. It was once a more straightforward matter to define economic policy than it is in the early 21st century. At one time, economic policy was about macroeconomic policy—the targeting of policy objectives such as growth, employment, and inflation through measures to influence the demand side of the economy principally using the policy instruments of fiscal policy, taxation, and government spending. National governments were the principal decision makers and were held accountable by their electorates in democratic societies for the conduct of economic policy. In communist societies, the economic plan was a central device for ...