nep-hme New Economics Papers
on Heterodox Microeconomics
Issue of 2012‒03‒14
eleven papers chosen by
Frederic S. Lee
University of Missouri-Kansas City

  1. Pluralism, the Lucas critique, and the integration of macro and micro By Peter Skott
  2. Class Struggle and Economic Flactuations: VAR Analysis of the post-War U.S. Economy By Deepankar Basu; Ying Chen; Jong-seok Oh
  3. The Reserve Army of Labour in the Postwar U.S. Economy: Some Stock and Flow Estimates By Deepankar Basu
  4. The evolvability of business and the role of antitrust By Ian Wilkinson
  5. Long-term Hardship in the Labor Market By John Schmitt; Janelle Jones
  6. The Declining Average Size of Establishments: Evidence and Explanations By Eleanor J. Choi; James R. Spletzer
  7. Price-price deviations are highly persistent By Andrea Vaona
  8. Silent conversion to anti-statism: Historical origins of the belief in market superiority By Engartner, Tim
  9. The distribution of full income in Greece By Christos Koutsampelas; Panos Tsakloglou
  10. Food Safety Regulation and Firm Productivity:Evidence from the French Food Industry By Bontemps, Christophe; Nauges, Céline; Réquillart, Vincent; Simioni, Michel
  11. Capital Structure and Corporate Taxation. Empirical Evidence from European Panel Data By Matthias Stöckl; Hannes Winner

  1. By: Peter Skott (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
    Abstract: Mainstream macroeconomics has pursued .micro founded.models based on the explicit optimization by representative agents. The result has been a long and wasteful detour. But elements of the Lucas critique are relevant, also for heterodox economists. Challenging common heterodox views on microeconomics and formalization, this paper argues that (i) economic models should not be based purely on empirically observed regularities,(ii) heterodox economists must be able to tell an integrated story about goal-oriented micro behavior in a specific macro environment, and (iii)relatively simple analytical models have an essential role to play. JEL Categories: E1; B5
    Keywords: micro foundations, pluralism, old Keynesian theory, Kaleckian investment function.
    Date: 2012–02
  2. By: Deepankar Basu (Universty of Massachusetts); Ying Chen (University of Massachusetts-Amherst); Jong-seok Oh (University of Massachusetts-Amherst)
    Abstract: Building on Marx’s insights in Chapter 25, Volume I of Capital, an augmented version of the cyclical profit squeeze (CPS) theory offers a plausible explanation of macroeconomic fluctuations under capitalism. The pattern of dynamic interactions that emerges from a 3-variable (profit share, unemployment rate and nonresidential fixed investment) vector autoregression estimated with quarterly data for the postwar U.S. economy is consistent with the CPS theory for the regulated (1949Q1–1975Q1) as well as for the neoliberal periods (starting in 1980 or in 1985). Hence, the CPS mechanism seems to be in operation even under neoliberalism. JEL Categories: B51; C22
    Keywords: cyclical profit squeeze, vector autoregression
    Date: 2012–02
  3. By: Deepankar Basu (Universty of Massachusetts)
    Abstract: This paper presents some estimates of the stock of the reserve army of labour, and flows into and out of the reserve army of labour for the postwar U.S. economy. Estimates of stocks are presented for the period 1948–2011 at a monthly frequency; 6 month moving average estimates of flows into and out of the reserve army of labour are presented for the period 1990–2011. Some interesting patterns in the stock and flow data are pointed out, and it is suggested that this data base on the active and reserve army of labour can be used for empirical analysis of the labour market from a Marxian theoretical perspective. JEL Categories: B51; O1
    Keywords: Marxian political economy, reserve army of labour, labour market.
    Date: 2012–02
  4. By: Ian Wilkinson (The University of Sydney)
    Abstract: In this paper, based on theories of complex adaptive systems, I argue that the main case for antitrust policy should be extended to include the criteria of "evolvability." To date, the main case focuses on economizing, including market power as a key filter for identifying suspect cases. Both production and transaction costs are considered as part of economizing and other factors are use to consider the benefits of different industry structures. CAS analysis focuses attention on dynamics, evolution and networks. As I will show, the criteria of evolvability requires us to consider various types of direct and indirect network impacts in business that go beyond the traditional focus on production and transaction costs. These network impacts stem from the connections between transactions and relations over time and place, including how business arrangements at one time, limit or enable arrangements in the future. An assessment of the impacts, I argue, can and should be included in the rules of antitrust and in the processes of antitrust case analysis and decision making.
    Date: 2012–03
  5. By: John Schmitt; Janelle Jones
    Abstract: In this paper, we attempt to paint a demographic portrait of long-term hardship in the labor market. We display various measures of long-term hardship by race and gender, education, and age. In addition to the conventional long-term unemployment rate, we also show a broader measure that captures further dimensions of long-term hardship. This additional measure is the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s “U-6” alternative unemployment rate, which adds “discouraged” workers, the “marginally attached,” and workers who are “part-time for economic reasons” to the official unemployment rate.
    Keywords: unemployment, long-term unemployment, discouraged workers, marginally attached workers, part time for economic reasons
    JEL: J J0 J01 J6 J64
    Date: 2012–03
  6. By: Eleanor J. Choi (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics); James R. Spletzer (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
    Abstract: The average size of establishments rose through the expansion of the 1990s, and then fell slightly during the expansion of the 2000s. In this paper, we seek to understand the change in trend in the average size of establishments during the last two decades. We begin with an exploration of the robustness of the basic empirical facts. Both Business Employment Dynamics statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Business Dynamics Statistics from the Census Bureau show that the average size of businesses – both establishments and firms – is growing slower in the 2000s than in the 1990s. The Census Bureau data also show the trends of average size in the 1990s are similar to the trends from the late 1970s and the 1980s. Our empirical analysis results in two main conclusions. First, the change in trend of the average size of establishments occurs in almost all industries, and our decomposition shows that the sizeable shifts in industry composition that occurred in the U.S. economy during the past two decades account for only about half of the downward trend during the 2000s expansion. Second, we find that the decrease in the average size of establishments during the 2000s expansion can be explained by the age of establishments. Specifically, we find that establishment births are starting smaller and staying smaller.
    Keywords: Establishment Size, Industry Decompoition, Establishment Births
    JEL: J23 L25 L26
    Date: 2012–02
  7. By: Andrea Vaona (Department of Economics (University of Verona))
    Abstract: The present paper explores the persistence of the deviations between market prices on one side and either production or direct prices on the other - namely their tendency to vanish after being hit by a shock. We consider various countries - Austria, Denmark, Italy, Norway and Japan - across different time periods and different methods of computing direct and production prices. Results can change depending on such methods, but even the weakest results would point to price-price deviations taking 5 years to shrink by one half after a shock. The strongest results, instead, show no tendency of price-price deviations to disappear.
    Keywords: market prices, direct prices, production prices, deviations, persistence, dynamic panel data methods
    Date: 2012–03
  8. By: Engartner, Tim
    Abstract: Despite severe economic turmoil within the last decade the stock diagnosis for most market insufficiencies has been: the state must be 'slimmed down'. Satisfying social needs through the free market under the slogan of 'less government is good government' has been a constitutive feature of economic policy since the rise of neoliberalism in the 1980s. But even as the deregulation of the markets and the 'downsizing' of the state causes growing social turbulences - especially in the context of the current financial and economic meltdown - politicians, scholars and the media still cling to the idea of an omnipotent market. Deeprooted and widely-spread anti-statism still fulfils the role of a creed serving to legitimize the necessity of market-centred 'reforms'. --
    Keywords: anti-statism,free-market economy,laissez-faire,lean state,liberalism,neoliberalism,Mont Pèlerin Society
    JEL: A11 B22 B26 L3 N20 P16
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Christos Koutsampelas; Panos Tsakloglou
    Abstract: Non-cash incomes from either private or public sources can have substantial effects on the distribution of economic welfare. However, standard approaches to inequality measurement either neglect them or take into account only selected non-monetary items. Using data for Greece in the mid 2000s we show that it is possible to incorporate a comprehensive list of non-monetary components into the analysis of income inequality. The results indicate that inequality declines sharply when we move from the distribution of disposable monetary income to the distribution of full income, that includes both cash and non-cash incomes. Both private and public non-cash incomes are far more equally distributed than monetary income, but the inequality-reducing effect of publicly provided in-kind services is stronger. The structure of inequality changes when non-cash incomes are included in the concept of resources, but the effects are not dramatic. Non-cash incomes appear to accrue more heavily to younger and older individuals, thus reducing differences across age groups.
    Keywords: income distribution, imputed rent, in-kind public transfers.
    Date: 2012–03
  10. By: Bontemps, Christophe (GREMAQ,INRA); Nauges, Céline (LERNA-INRA); Réquillart, Vincent (TSE,GREMAQ,INRA,IDEI); Simioni, Michel (GREMAQ,INRA)
    Abstract: The purpose of this article is to assess whether food safety regulations imposed by the European Union in the 2000s may have induced a slow-down in the productivity of firms in the food processing sector. The impact of regulations on costs and productivity has seldom been studied. This article contributes to the literature by measuring productivity change using a panel of French food processing firms for the years 1996 to 2006. To do so, we develop an original iterative testing procedure based on the comparison of the distribution of efficiency scores of a set of firms. Our results confirm that productivity decreased in two major food processing sectors (poultry and cheese) at the time when safety regulation was reinforced.
    Date: 2012–01
  11. By: Matthias Stöckl; Hannes Winner (WIFO)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the impact of corporate taxation on a firm's debt policy. We contribute to the existing literature in two ways: 1. we incorporate firm heterogeneity with respect to firm size and legal form, 2. we explicitly model persistence in the debt-to-asset ratio. Econometrically this implies the use of dynamic panel data econometrics. We employ a panel of about 110,000 firms from 22 EU countries between 1999 and 2007. In line with theoretical expectations, we find that the debt ratio is positively affected by the statutory corporate income tax rate. Additionally, we find that capital structures exhibit a substantial degree of persistence over time. Finally, our empirical results show that large firms react more sensitively to the incentives of corporate taxation, while this effect is considerably smaller for stock companies.

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