Sharing the results of our research

The FickleFormulas project has been fueled by the curiosity of its team. Even though the project itself has been finished, we want to share the results of our research as widely as possible – through academic publications, but also through blogs and other channels. Here is an overview of our output. 


Lukas Linsi, Brian Burgoon, Daniel Mügge and Stefan Sliwa Ruiz, "Mirror Trade Database V2 (1948-2021)", Harvard Dataverse, March 2023.

Lukas Linsi, Brian Burgoon and Daniel Mügge, "The Problem with Trade Measurement in International Relations", International Studies Quarterly, March 2023.

Lukas Linsi, Daniel Mügge and Ana Carillo-Lopz, "The Delusive Economy: how information and affect colour perceptions of national economic performance", Acta Politica, September 2022.

Juliette Alenda-Demoutiez, “Statistical Conventions and the Forms of the State: A Story of South African Statistics”, New Political Economy, November 2021.

Jessica de Vlieger and Daniel Mügge “The Ambiguity of Public Debt Measures,” in Corado Caruso and Marta Morvillo (eds) Il Governo Dei Numeri: Indicatori Macro-Economici e Decisione Di Bilancio Nello Stato Costituzionale. 2020, Bologna: Mulino, pp. 31–51.

Joan van Heijster and Daniel DeRock, "How GDP spread to China: the experimental diffusion of macroeconomic measurement", October 2020

Daniel Mügge, “Economic Statistics as Political Artefacts”Review Of International Political Economy, October 2020.

Juliette Alenda-Demoutiez, “White, democratic, technocratic: the political charge behind official statistics in South Africa”, Review Of International Political Economy, July 2020.

Daniel Mügge and Lukas Linsi, “The National Accounting Paradox: how statistical norms corrode international economic data”, European Journal of International Relations, July 2020.

Roberto Aragão and Lukas Linsi, "Many shades of wrong: what governments do when they manipulate statistics", Review of International Political Economy, May 2020.   

Phillip Genschel and Tobias Tesche, "Supranational agents as de-commitment devices: The ECB during the Eurozone crisis", Amsterdam Centre for European Studies Research Paper Research Paper No. 2020/02, February 2020.

Daniel DeRock, "Hidden in Plain Sight: Unpaid Household Services and the Politics of GDP Measurement"New Political Economy, October 2019

Joan van Heijster, "Imagining Modernization: The Symbolic Embrace of GDP in China", Chinese Political Science Review 2020, 5: 50–73.

Juliette Alenda-Demoutiez and Daniel Mügge, "The Lure of Ill-Fitting Unemployment Statistics: How South Africa’s Discouraged Work Seekers Disappeared From the Unemployment Rate", New Political Economy 2020, 25(4): 590–606.

Daniel Mügge, "International economic statistics. Biased arbiters in global affairs?", Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2020, 13: 93–112.

Lukas Linsi and Daniel Mügge, "Globalization and the Growing Defects of International Economic Statistics",Review of International Political Economy 2019, 26(3): 361-383.   

Lukas Linsi, “Foreign Direct Investment,” in Klaus Dingwerth and Clara Weinhardt (eds) The Language of World Trade Politics: Unpacking the Terms of Trade, 2019, London: Routledge, pp. 50–63.

Daniel Mügge, "40.3 million slaves? Four reasons to question the new Global Estimates of Modern Slavery", BTS Policy Brief 2017, 1. London: openDemocracy, 17 October.

Lukas Linsi, "Less compelling than it seems: rethinking the relationship between aggregate FDI inflows and national competitiveness", Columbia FDI Perspectives 2016, 184.

Daniel Mügge, "Studying Macroeconomic Indicators as Powerful Ideas", Journal of European Public Policy 2016, 23(3): 410-427.  

Working papers 

Tobias Tesche, "Keep it complex! Prodi’s curse and the EU fiscal governance regime complex", July 2021

Tobias Tesche, "A European Fiscal Union of Macroeconomic Indicators: ‘Failing forward’ with the euro area fiscal stance", June 2021

Jessica de Vlieger and Tobias Tesche, "Set in stone? Conflict and continuity over the European Union’s measurement of government debt", June 2021

Francisca Grommé, "Thinking, seeing, and doing like a kingdom: The making of Caribbean Netherlands statistics and the 'native Bonairian'", February 2021

Roberto Aragão, "Accounting for the role of epistemic communities in developing Brazilian statistics from the 1930s to 1980s", November 2020

Juliette Alenda, "The Political Charge Behind Official Statistics in South Africa", January 2020

Daniel DeRock, "Leaving no data behind? International organizations and the conflicted global governance of monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals", January 2020

Daniel Mügge, "The Revenge of Political Arithmetick. Economic Statistics and Political Purpose", May 2019.

Jessica de Vlieger and Daniel Mügge, "Fuzzy debt. Why it is impossible to specify what governments owe", November 2018.

Lukas Linsi, "The Shadow of Socialization: Economic Narratives and the Intergenerational Divide in Attitudes Towards Foreign Takeovers", November 2017. 

Blogs, op-eds, etc.  

Do we Really Know that Chinese COVID-19 Statistics are being Manipulated? - Lukas Linsi and Roberto Aragao, Global Policy, 18 April 2020

Data fails to capture complexity of South Africa’s unemployment crisis - Daniel Mügge and Juliette Alenda-Demoutiez, The Conversation, 22 May 2019

Unpaid Work and the Governance of GDP Measurement - Daniel DeRock, E-International Relations, 11 January 2019.

Forty Years of Constructing Development: How China Adopted GDP Measurement - Joan van Heijster, E-International Relations, 21 December 2018

De economische statistiek wordt van binnenuit aangevreten - Daniel Mügge, FollowTheMoney, 18 September 2018.

The Dangerous Depoliticization of Economic Numbers - Daniel DeRock, Policy Corner, 26 February 2018 

Inderdaad, Nederland moet niet alleen vooruitgaan in de statistieken - Daniel Mügge, De Correspondent, 11 October 2017.

Duurzaamheid ís economische groei. - Daniel Mügge, FollowTheMoney, 1 June 2017.

Trump uses bad trade statistics. But there’s a bigger problem. - Daniel Mügge and Lukas Linsi, Monkey Cage, Washington Post, 9 March 2017.

Economic accounting - Daniel Mügge with Peter Newell and Shirin Rai; 2017 Warwick Review of International Political Economy (RIPE) Debate, 9 March 2017.

De buitenwacht: Weet wat je meet - D.K. Mügge, MeJudice, 1 November 2016.

Brexit, een maand later - D.K. Mügge, StukRoodVlees, 23 July 2016.

Hoe de politiek zich steeds meer achter       cijfers verschuilt - D.K. Mügge, FollowTheMoney, 20 April 2016.

Is controlled disintegration the answer? - D.K. Mügge, The Broker, 16 February 2016.

Hoezo is groei nog steeds basis voor beleid en niet welzijn of geluk? - D.K. Mügge, FollowTheMoney, 8 February 2016.

How Twitter and technocracy undermine collective solutions - D.K. Mügge, FollowTheMoney, 18 November 2015.

The Unsharing Economy - D.K. Mügge, FollowTheMoney, 14 August 2015.

The collateral damage of performance metrics - D.K. Mügge, Duck of Minerva, 12 August 2015.

Lectures and talks  

(given by Daniel Mügge unless otherwise stated)

Over onze obsessie met groei (samen met Jaap Tielbeke en Barbara Baarsma), Brainwash Festival Amsterdam, 30 October 2022.

Radicaal anders - Op de rand van de toekomst. Kunstlinie Almere, 26 October 2022.

Waarom groei geen graadmeter is. Brainwash Bits (YouTube), 20 AUgust 2022.

Wat zeggen cijfers nu echt over onze economie? SPUI25, Amsterdam, 27 October 2021.

Socio-economic transformations and the erosion of macroeconomic statistcs. SCRIPTS project, Berlin, 27 April 2021.

Optimists, Pessimists, and Statistics. Studium Generale Utrecht University, 8 December 2020.

Fuzzy Debt. Macroeconomic Indicators and the EU. Bologna University, 17 October 2019.

Public knowledge of economic statistics: what determines what people think they know about economic conditions?, United Nations Statistical Commission, New York, 25 June 2019.

How the Numbers Lens on the Economy Skews Global Politics, Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom, 5 June 2019.

The Revenge of Political Arithmetick. Economic Statistics and Political Purpose, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kindgom, 6 June 2019.

Daniel DeRock. Public Skepticism about Official Statistics: A view from political science, United Nations Statistics Division, 8 January 2019.

Models and their limits. How defective data skews our view of the economy. Lecture held at the European Parliament Post-Growth Conference 2018, Brussels, 18 September 2018.

Quantitative Quicksands: The Feeble Foundations of Empirical Economics, Rethinking Economics Festival, Utrecht, Netherlands, 19 May 2018.

Take a Look in the Mirror: Accounting for Measurement Errors in Trade Statistics, lecture by Lukas Linsi, University of Zurich, Switzerland, 17 April 2018.

Dilemma’s van de Economische Statistiek in de 21e eeuw, Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, [Statistics Netherlands], Leidschendam, 1 February 2018.

Die Politische Ökonomie der Wirtschaftsstatistik, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg Germany, 22 November 2017.

Harmonized Inaccuracy: International Economic Statistics in the Age of Globalization (with Lukas Linsi), Cornell University, Ithaca NY USA, 16 November 2017.

Harmonized Inaccuracy: International Economic Statistics in the Age of Globalization (with Lukas Linsi), Georgetown University, Washington DC USA, 14 November 2017.

The Political Underbelly of Economic Statistics, Leiden University, 21 September 2017.

The Political Underbelly of Economic Statistics, inaugural lecture, University of Amsterdam, 16 June 2017.

What counts: the politics of economic accounting, Annual Warwick IPE debate, University of Warwick, United Kingdom, invited speaker, 9 March 2017.

Politicoloog Daniel Mügge over het groeiende wantrouwen in cijfers, Brainwash Radio, NPO Radio 1, 28 November 2016.

De wraak van de spreadsheet, Public talk at Brainwash Festival, Amsterdam, 15 October 2016.

The Invisible Hand of the Indicator, Opening lecture of acacemic year for Political Economy Research Group, Central European University, Budapest, 10 October 2016.

The Invention of Our Economy, Rethinking Economics, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 15 June 2016.

‘What’s in a price? The political economy of inflation measurement in Europe’, Cambridge University, Cambridge, 4 March 2016.

‘The political economy of measuring inflation’, CIS seminar, Zürich University, Zürich, Switzerland, 26 November 2015.

‘Towards a Political Economy of Macroeconomic Indicators’, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA, 8 April 2015.

‘European Economic Recovery between Growth Critique and Growth Imperative’, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, 26 March 2015.

‘Fickle Formulas. Towards a Political Economy of Macroeconomic Indicators’, Brown University, Providence, USA, 5 February 2015.

‘The Power of Macroeconomic Indicators’, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo, Canada, 27 October 2014.

‘Why we measure the economy the way we do’, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, USA, 1 October.