nep-hme New Economics Papers
on Heterodox Microeconomics
Issue of 2013‒06‒16
fourteen papers chosen by
Frederic S. Lee
University of Missouri-Kansas City

  1. Towards a revision of the theory of capital By Cavalieri, Duccio
  2. A Non-Autistic Approach to Socio-Economic Problems: Kathedersozialismusand the Kathedersozialismusand the Kathedersozialismus German Historical School By Wolfgang Drechsler
  3. Neologism as Theoretical Innovation in Economics: The case of 'Financialisation' By Jan Toporowski
  4. The traverse, equilibrium analysis and post-Keynesian economics. By Joseph Halevi; Neil Hart; Peter Kriesler
  5. Introduction [to Handbook of Post-Keynesian Economics: Oxford University Press: USA]. By Geoffrey Harcourt; Peter Kriesler
  6. Cooperative firms and the crisis: evidence from some Italian mixed oligopolies By F. Delbono; C. Reggiani
  7. Michal Kalecki and Rosa Luxemburg on Marx’s schemes of reproduction: two incisive interpreters of capitalism. By Geoffrey Harcourt; Peter Kriesler
  8. A Note on Credit Allocation, Income Distribution, and the Circuit of Capital By Paulo L dos Santos
  9. Diferencias salariales por género y su vinculación con la segregación ocupacional y los desajustes por calificación. By Alma Espino
  10. Capabilities and Human Dilemmas: How to Cope with Incompleteness By Mario Biggeri; Nicolò Bellanca
  11. Green Economy and Bio-based Economics: Assessment and Critique of Their Philosophical Assumptions By Leonardi, Emanuele
  12. From state to market revisited: more empirical evidence on the efficiency of public (and privately-owned) enterprises By Mühlenkamp, Holger
  13. Who cares about financialization? Explaining the decline in political salience of active markets for corporate control By Callaghan, Helen
  14. Produttivita' e flessibilita': una critica alle ricette della BCE. Minori tutele del lavoro e contenimento salariale favoriscono la crescita della produttivita' del lavoro? By Paolo Pini

  1. By: Cavalieri, Duccio
    Abstract: This is a proposal to restate the theory of capital along critical Marxian lines aimed at providing a better integration of the theory of capital with the theory of money and finance. The time value of money must be properly accounted for. An analytical method is proposed to accomplish this task. The fundamental Marxian problem of the origin of profit is treated with reference to a specific price index, the monetary expression of labour value (MEV), which accounts for both explicit and implicit cost components, including the financial cost of capital. MEV should not be confused with MELT, the ‘New Interpretation’ money expression of living labour time, which does not consider the opportunity-cost of capital and, following the erroneous net value equality, focuses on the money value of the living labour time commanded by commodities at a given wage rate, rather than on the money value of total abstract labour time embodied in commodities, inclusive of both living and past labour.
    Keywords: Value, capital, labour, profit, Marx, neo-Marxism, accounting, MEV, MELT
    JEL: B12 B13 B22 B5 B51 D46 E22 E4 E41
    Date: 2013–06
  2. By: Wolfgang Drechsler
    Abstract: The by now highly alternative, barely even heterodox economics that dominated Germany, and in fact Continental Europe and much of the world, between the late middle of the 19th Century and the early 20th and that is at the basis both of the Social Market Economy and of much of the modern Welfare State, is particularly interesting once we realize that this is a particularly non-autistic approach to economic problems. Here, the clear recognition of fundamental and pressing social issues . what was called the ´Social Question¡ . gave rise to the realization, by economists and many other intellectuals, that both the analysis of the problem and the suggestion for remedies depend on method, and that method is never neutral. Method shapes how we see reality; it determines the policy outcome . or at least it is employed and promoted by those who want certain outcomes. And some methods, then as now (they are actually by and large the same), preserve the status quoby calling any investigation of what exists, what is wrong, and what should change, unscientific, futile, and impossible. By doing so, one need not openly oppose reform and development . it is enough if one creates a system within which dealing with the real problems is delegitimized. The late 19th century political attitude towards the Social Question, ´Kathedersozialismus¡, by and large led the economists involved to focus on realism (rather than abstraction), on relevance over precision, which by then had become a choice to be made.
    Date: 2013–05
  3. By: Jan Toporowski (Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK)
    Abstract: The term 'financialisation' is a recognition that finance has come to play a key role on the modern capitalist economy. But users of the term do not agree on its meaning and recognition of the growing scale of finance has not brought about an increased understanding of financial processes. The paper examines the reasons for increased turnover in financial markets. The main themes in the literature on financialisation are examined and shown to lack a coherent account of financial processes that goes beyond the evidence of financial activity.
    Keywords: Financialisation, debt, credit
    JEL: B26 E11 E12
    Date: 2012–03
  4. By: Joseph Halevi (The University of Sydney); Neil Hart (The University of Western Sydney); Peter Kriesler (The University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: The Traverse refers to the movement of the economy outside equilibrium. It requires a consideration of how an economy may achieve equilibrium, and how it may navigate towards a new one if conditions change. Analysis of these themes, from the classical economists onwards, leads to the conclusion that it is difficult to envisage any useful role for equilibrium theory in the absence of some evidence that there are forces in the economy which propel it to equilibrium, without influencing the position to which the economy is gravitating towards. Complicating factors, emphasised in the post-Keynesian literature, include the existence of path-dependency, hysteresis, cumulative causation and the evolutionary nature of economic change.
    Keywords: history of economic thought, post-Keynesian, equilibrium and disequilibrium, path-dependency, hysteresis, cumulative causation and the evolutionary
    JEL: B00 B52 D5 E12
    Date: 2012–05
  5. By: Geoffrey Harcourt (The University of New South Wales); Peter Kriesler (The University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: In this Introduction, we discuss the main themes of post-Keynesian economics, and the manner in which they are dealt with by the contributors to the Handbook. In particular, the important aspects of post-Keynesian analysis are identified, and their main critiques of mainstream theory are discussed. According to Joan Robinson “post-Keynesian has a definite meaning; it applies to an economic theory or method of analysis which takes account of the difference between the future and the past”. In other words, historical time forms the basis of post-Keynesian analysis, which also stresses the importance of history, uncertainty, society and institutions in understanding economic phenomena.
    Keywords: history of economic thought, post-Keynesian, equilibrium and disequilibrium, path-dependency, hysteresis, cumulative causation and the evolutionary
    JEL: B00 B52 D5 E12
    Date: 2012–05
  6. By: F. Delbono; C. Reggiani
    Abstract: We investigate how cooperative firms reacted to the current crisis. This allows us to compare the behavior of cooperative and conventional firms facing exogenous shifts in demand. After a short survey of a stream of theoretical literature, we analyze a large group of Italian production cooperatives in the periods 2003-2010 and 1994-2011 and we contrast co-ops behavior with the overall trend in the industries in which they operate. Our sample’s evidence suggests that the cooperative’s behavior has a stabilizing effect on employment with respect to shocks in output demand. Unlike profit-maximizers, cooperative firms seem to be adjusting pay more than employment when facing shocks. Production co-ops look better equipped than their profit-maximizing counterparts in tackling the long recession also because they have been very cautious in their profit policies over time. Unlike conventional firms, they have significantly increased their own equity during “good” years instead of distributing large dividends to their members.
    JEL: P13 L13 E32
    Date: 2013–06
  7. By: Geoffrey Harcourt (The University of New South Wales); Peter Kriesler (The University of New South Wales)
    Abstract: Both Rosa Luxemburg and Michal Kalecki utilised Marx’s scheme’s or reproduction as the starting point of their analysis of economic dynamics. However, Luxemburg did not realise that they were not meant to serve as models of capitalist growth, but rather to show that the conditions for stable growth were unachievable. Luxemburg was an early proponent of the stagnationist thesis which was popularised by Kalecki, Steindl, Baran and Sweezy. She argued that capitalist economies were doomed to stagnate unless markets outside the capitalist arena could be utilised, although she also acknowledged the importance of government expenditure on armaments. Kalecki, while acknowledging some of the limitations of her analysis, was able to extend it to incorporate the main elements of modern capitalist growth.
    Keywords: reproduction schema, Marxian economics, economic growth, economic cycles, effective demand, imperialism
    JEL: B14 B24 B51 E11 E12
    Date: 2012–08
  8. By: Paulo L dos Santos (Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK)
    Abstract: This note considers the relationship between credit allocation and the aggregate, class distribution of income in the Circuit of Capital. Production and consumption credit inject means of purchase in different locations in the monetary circuits of capitalist reproduction. On the basis of comparative-dynamic analysis of the properties of steady-state evolutions, the note shows that production credit increases the wage share in total income, while consumption credit increases profit shares. These findings hold in general for any evolution in which sectoral revenue-elasticities of outlays measure less than unity. The note also motivates a new endogenous approach to the aggregate distribution of income, and offers new analytical tools facilitating work based on demand-constrained models of the Circuit of Capital.
    Keywords: Credit and Income Distribution, Circuit of Capital, Marxian Analyses
    Date: 2013–04
  9. By: Alma Espino (Universidad de la República (Uruguay). Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y de Administración. Instituto de Economía)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the gender wage gap considering the effect of gender occupational segregation and its impact on those differences and imbalances in labor skills. It also investigates to what extent these mismatches are in turn an impact that collaborates in maintaining gender wage gaps. Occupational segregation is measured and then included as an explanatory variable together with others like those related to job skills mismatches to estimate the gender wage gaps. The results show that segregation is essential to understand the persistence of gender wage gaps (though a substantial portion of it remains explained by sex) and over qualification among women. These results have implications for public policy, stressing the importance of creating mechanisms breaking gender stereotypes that lead to a pronounced economic discrimination.
    Keywords: Segregation, wage gap, overqualification, underqualification
    JEL: J24 J71
    Date: 2012–12
  10. By: Mario Biggeri; Nicolò Bellanca (Università degli Studi di Firenze)
    Abstract: The main objective of this paper is to discuss the role of evaluative incompleteness in the work of Amartya Sen. In section 2, we consider Sen’s distinction between optimising or perfect choices and maximising or acceptable choices, showing it is based on a restrictive interpretation of incompleteness. In section 3, we argue that this distinction does not take into account a third crucial category of human choices, the dilemmas, and we show they are based on the concept of incompleteness in a strict sense. Section 4 discusses the reason why in Sen’s theoretical approach dilemmas and incompleteness appear to be somehow neglected. Then, in section 5 we advance an attempt to analyse human choices – both in the form of dilemmas or not – in conditions of incompleteness, while in section 6 we suggest a definition of freedom able to embrace also these dilemmatic choices. Finally, section 7 concludes.
    Keywords: evaluative incompleteness; Amartya K. Sen; dilemmas; freedom;
    JEL: A13 B59 D01 D63 I30 O10
    Date: 2013
  11. By: Leonardi, Emanuele
    Abstract: The paper aims at establishing a philosophical comparison between the notion of green economy and the concept of bio-based economics. Against the background of the current, devastating economic crisis, they both represent an attempt to overcome a growth impasse through the incorporation of the environmental limit as a new terrain for accumulation and valorization. Otherwise put, both green economy and bio-based economics assume that economic growth and environmental preservation not only are not contradictory, but can actually set in motion – through the discursive formation of sustainability – a virtuous circle in which the increase of one element fosters a parallel increase of the other. The analysis of such an affinity will be historically analyzed by referring to Michel Foucault's biopolitical analyses. Subsequently, the crucial notion of bio-mimicry will be theoretically approached, as will the dangers embodied in the currently under way process of economization of nature. The argument is that by modelling nature according to industrial needs or competitive frameworks a crucial risk emerges: the possibility of tackling an undeniable environmental crisis by deepening an already unjust social polarization. By contrast, a public goods or common-based perspective would provide a theoretical background for tackling the social, economic and ecological crises simultaneously. For such a background to emerge, however, market competitiveness as well as sacred property rights regimes should be substituted by common cooperation and sharing-cultures.
    Keywords: green economy, economization of nature, bio-mimicry, Michel Foucault, liberalism/neoliberalism, Environmental Economics and Policy, International Development, Q50, Q57,
    Date: 2013–06
  12. By: Mühlenkamp, Holger
    Abstract: For several decades public enterprises have been criticised for their poor economic performance. Many economists take it as “conventional wisdom” that publicly owned enterprises are inefficient by their very nature. This seemed to be proved by what is probably the most cited survey worldwide, that was written by Megginson and Netter (2001). They claim: “Research now supports the proposition that privately owned firms are more efficient and more profitable than otherwise-comparable state-owned firms” (p. 380). The objective of this paper is to question the proposition that public enterprises are necessarily less efficient as their private counterparts. In doing so, we argue that profits are not a reasonable performance measure for public enterprises. However, our main focus is to present a much more comprehensive review of the empirical evidence than was provided by Megginson and Netter. The evidence indicates that these authors’ conclusions were biased in favour of privatization despite the evidence indicating that the true picture is much more differentiated.
    Keywords: Public enterprises, publicly provided goods, efficiency, privatization, firm performance
    JEL: D24 H42 L25 L32
    Date: 2013–06–07
  13. By: Callaghan, Helen
    Abstract: Why is unprecedented financialization failing to provoke a strong political backlash? The role of financial markets, motives, actors, and institutions has expanded continuously in recent decades, but - contrary to Polanyi's 'double movement' theory and despite the current financial crisis - market-containment efforts have grown weaker over time. The present paper approaches this puzzle by explaining how the practice of corporate takeover bids gradually gained political acceptance in the United Kingdom from the 1950s onward. Through its expansion, the market for corporate control contributed directly to eroding political resistance by triggering processes of routinization, adaptation, and elimination. Routinization decreases issue salience for 'average voters' because it lowers the news value of takeover bids. Adaptation to new profit opportunities increases the number of beneficiaries from takeover bids, thereby bolstering promarket clienteles. Elimination of stakeholder-oriented companies - through constant exposure to takeover threats - demoralizes the opponents of active markets for corporate control by leaving them with less to fight for. Empirical evidence is drawn mainly from qualitative and quantitative analysis of British parliamentary debates regarding takeover bids between 1953 and 2011. -- Warum provoziert die historisch beispiellose Finanzialisierung keine starke politische Gegenreaktion? Während der Einfluss der Finanzwelt auf Märkte, Motive, Akteure und Institutionen im vergangenen Jahrzehnt kontinuierlich gewachsen ist, sind Bestrebungen zur Markteindämmung schwächer geworden - entgegen Polanyis Theorie der Doppelbewegung und trotz der gegenwärtigen Finanzkrise. Der vorliegende Aufsatz nähert sich diesem Rätsel, indem dargelegt wird, wie die Praxis von Übernahmeangeboten in Großbritannien seit den 1950er-Jahren allmählich an politischer Akzeptanz gewonnen hat. Durch seine Ausdehnung hat der Markt für Unternehmenskontrolle direkt zur Erosion politischen Widerstands beigetragen, indem er Prozesse der Routinisierung, Anpassung und Eliminierung ausgelöst hat. Routinisierung verringert die Bedeutung des Themas für den 'Durchschnittswähler', da sie den Nachrichtenwert von Übernahmeangeboten senkt. Anpassung an neue Profitmöglichkeiten erhöht die Zahl der Nutznießer von Übernahmeangeboten und stärkt so marktfreundliche Parteien. Eliminierung von stakeholderorientierten Unternehmen durch konstante Übernahmedrohungen demoralisiert die Gegner aktiver Märkte für Unternehmenskontrolle, da sich Widerstand weniger lohnt. Als empirische Belege werden quantitative und qualitative Analysen britischer Parlamentsdebatten zwischen 1953 und 2011 herangezogen.
    Date: 2013
  14. By: Paolo Pini
    Abstract: La BCE suggerisce che le retribuzioni nominali del lavoro debbano crescere in linea con la produttività dei lavoratori, e non oltre questa. I Paesi "viziosi" che non rispettano questa regola perdono progressivamente competitività. Questa è la "regola di piombo" per la distribuzione del reddito, contrapposta alla "regola d’oro" che lascia invariate le quote distributive tra lavoro e capitale. La "regola di piombo" significa svalutazioni competitive interne, a carico del lavoro e del reddito dei lavoratori, ed una distribuzione del reddito sempre più diseguale. La BCE inoltre suggerisce che occorra proseguire lungo la strada delle riforme strutturali, ad iniziare da quelle che devono deregolamentare il mercato del lavoro: più flessibilità in entrata ed in uscita e riduzione delle tutele sul posto di lavoro per aumentare quelle sul mercato. È anche questa una ricetta che si prosegue da anni, ma che i dati mostrano che non si accompagna ad una ripresa della produttività; semmai avviene l’opposto, con minore crescita della produttività che si associa a maggiore flessibilità esterna, nel mercato del lavoro. Al contempo una maggiore flessibilità interna all’impresa, con innovazione nei luoghi di lavoro, appare una strada alternativa alla precedente, che si coniuga a maggiore produttività. Ma questo la BCE non lo dice, disconoscendo le numerose e robuste evidenze della letteratura economica più recente. La BCE sembra afflitta da miopia: vede sfocati i fattori di medio-lungo periodo (l’innovazione) che davvero contano, e si concentra sui fattori di breve (la flessibilità di mercato) che però non sembrano favorire la competitività e la ripresa della produttività. English version: Wages and productivity. A criticism to the recipes of the ECB The ECB suggests that hourly nominal wages should increase in line with real hourly labour productivity, and not exceed it. The "vicious" countries which do not follow this rule loose progressively competitiveness. This is the "rule of lead" for income distribution, contrasting with the “role of gold†that leaves unchanged the labour share on national income. The "rule of lead" means domestic competitive devaluation, against workers and labour income, and income distribution with even more inequality. The ECB suggests also to go ahead with structural reform, to start with more deregulation of labour market: more market flexibility and less protections in the job for more protection in the market. This policy is what has been adopted in the last decade and more by the great part of industrialized countries, without any gains in productivity and competitiveness. In fact, data show that more market flexibility is associated to weak productivity growth. By contrast, more internal flexibility, within the firm, with innovations in work organization, seems an alternative road which goes hand in hands with higher productivity. But the ECB does not seem interested in stressing this point, ignoring large and robust evidence of the recent economic literature. The ECB seems suffer from myopia: it sees out of focus medium and long-run factors (innovation) that really make the difference, and focus mainly on short-run factors (market flexibility) which however do not positively affect competitiveness and productivity recovery.
    Keywords: Employment protection; nominal and real wages; productivity; income distribution
    JEL: J33 J24 J52
    Date: 2013–05–01

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