This article develops a comparative historical exploration of the performance of two quite different markets in Chile: health insurance and public transport. Both cases were part of a common state project that looked to economize social care in the country, however knowledge has played a different role in each of them. On the one hand, the private health insurance was created without previous research (based mostly on a simple laissez faire principle), but an important amount of expert discussion has been developed in order to understand the particularities that make this market to work quite differently to how it was expected. On the other, public transport early reforms were also based on “deregulation”, but later on became a laboratory to test very sophisticated market-based policy instruments.
Through the similarities and differences between both stories this paper will make the case that more attention has to be paid to economic knowledge that is used, not only to “make” a new market, but to tame them.