nep-hme New Economics Papers
on Heterodox Microeconomics
Issue of 2019‒04‒22
sixteen papers chosen by
Carlo D’Ippoliti
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Beyond quantified ignorance: Rebuilding rationality without the bias bias By Brighton, Henry
  2. Introduction : Malaise dans la science économique ? By Akhabbar, Amanar
  3. Ecological Limits and Hierarchical Power By Fix, Blair; Bichler, Shimshon; Nitzan, Jonathan
  4. Human Rights, Artificial Intelligence and Heideggerian Technoskepticism: The Long (Worrisome?) View By Risse, Mathias
  5. Multiple-interaction kinetic modelling of a virtual-item gambling economy By Giuseppe Toscani; Andrea Tosin; Mattia Zanella
  6. How important are Personal Ties, Trust and Tolerance for Life Satisfaction in Europe? By Crowley, Frank; Walsh, Edel
  7. Does microfinance have an impact on borrower's consumption patterns and women's empowerment? By Feldhoff, Charlotte H.; Liu, Yi; Feldhoff, Patricia R.
  8. Evaluation der Charta für Holz 2.0: Methodische Grundlagen und Evaluationskonzept By Purkus, Alexandra; Lüdtke, Jan; Becher, Georg; Dieter, Matthias; Jochem, Dominik; Lehnen, Ralph; Liesebach, Mirko; Polley, Heino; Rüter, Sebastian; Schweinle, Jörg; Weimar, Holger; Welling, Johannes
  9. Le destin singulier de Marx dans la science économique en France By Thierry Pouch
  10. Donald Blacks Moralsoziologie By Pies, Ingo
  11. Discrimination in Hiring Based on Potential and Realized Fertility: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment By Becker, Sascha O.; Fernandes, Ana; Weichselbaumer, Doris
  12. Natural Disasters, Cascading Losses, and Economic Complexity: A Multi-layer Behavioral Network Approach By Naqvi, Asjad; Monasterolo, Irene
  13. Fragile New Economy: The Rise of Intangible Capital and Financial Instability By Li, Ye
  14. Gender Identity and Wives' Labor Market Outcomes in West and East Germany between 1984 and 2016 By Maximilian Sprengholz; Anna Wieber; Elke Holst
  15. Is Economics for Me? Increasing the Participation of Black Women in Economics : a speech at the Sadie T. M. Alexander Conference for Economics, Washington, D.C., February 22, 2019. By Brainard, Lael
  16. The Smithian Market of Religions and its Legacy: Another Great Schism between Economics and Sociology? By Georges El Haddad

  1. By: Brighton, Henry
    Abstract: If we reassess the rationality question under the assumption that the uncertainty of the natural world is largely unquantifiable, where do we end up? In this article the author argues that we arrive at a statistical, normative, and cognitive theory of ecological rationality. The main casualty of this rebuilding process is optimality. Once we view optimality as a formal implication of quantified uncertainty rather than an ecologically meaningful objective, the rationality question shifts from being axiomatic/probabilistic in nature to being algorithmic/ predictive in nature. These distinct views on rationalitymirror fundamental and longstanding divisions in statistics.
    Keywords: cognitive science,rationality,ecological rationality,bounded rationality,bias bias,bias/variance dilemma,Bayesianism,machine learning,pattern recognition,decision making under uncertainty,unquantifiable uncertainty
    JEL: A12 B4 C1 C44 C52 C53 C63 D18
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Akhabbar, Amanar
    Abstract: This is the introductive chapter to the book "Wassily Leontief and Economics", published in February 2019 (ENS editions). Economists produce their statements and forecasts from devices articulating abstract theories with mathematical models and statistical instruments of measurement. What is the empirical significance of these theories, models and instruments? We consider this question from the reflection of Wassily Leontief, 1973 Nobel Prize winner, on the role of mathematics and statistical analysis in economics. His perspective makes it possible to reconsider why, in economics, "the connection does not go by itself" between the theory and the observation, according to the expression of Alain Desrosières. We reconstruct Leontief’s methodology of economics as an empirical science. From there, we show how the input-output device paves the way to empirical and disaggregated macroeconomics.
    Keywords: economics; economic methodology; history of economic thought; Leontief; macroeconomics; input-output analysis
    JEL: B00 B21 B22 B23
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Fix, Blair; Bichler, Shimshon; Nitzan, Jonathan
    Abstract: Nowadays, it is commonplace to claim that the economy overuses our limited material and energy resources and that this overuse threatens both human society and the biosphere. Other than anti-science cranks, the only ones who seem to deny this claim are mainstream economists. In our view, though, this conventional condemnation of the economy is somewhat misleading. As we see it, the root of our ecological problems lies not in the ‘economy’, but in the hierarchical power structure of capitalism.
    Keywords: energy,hierarchy,power,sustainability
    JEL: P48 P16 Q01
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Risse, Mathias (Harvard Kennedy School)
    Abstract: My concern is with the impact of Artificial Intelligence on human rights. I first identify two presumptions about ethics-and-AI we should make only with appropriate qualifications. These presumptions are that (a) for the time being investigating the impact of AI, especially in the human-rights domain, is a matter of investigating impact of certain tools, and that (b) the crucial danger is that some such tools--the artificially intelligent ones--might eventually become like their creators and conceivably turn against them. We turn to Heidegger's influential philosophy of technology to argue these presumptions require qualifications of a sort that should inform our discussion of AI. Next I argue that one major challenge is how human rights will prevail in an era that quite possibly is shaped by an enormous increase in economic inequality. Currently the human-rights movement is rather unprepared to deal with the resulting challenges. What is needed is greater focus on social justice/distributive justice, both domestically and globally, to make sure societies do not fall apart. I also argue that, in the long run, we must be prepared to deal with more types of moral status than we currently do and that quite plausibly some machines will have some type of moral status, which may or may not fall short of the moral status of human beings (a point also emerging from the Heidegger discussion). Machines may have to be integrated into human social and political lives.
    Date: 2019–02
  5. By: Giuseppe Toscani; Andrea Tosin; Mattia Zanella
    Abstract: In recent years, there has been a proliferation of online gambling sites, which made gambling more accessible with a consequent rise in related problems, such as addiction. Hence, the analysis of the gambling behaviour at both the individual and the aggregate levels has become the object of several investigations. In this paper, resorting to classical methods of the kinetic theory, we describe the behaviour of a multi-agent system of gamblers participating in lottery-type games on a virtual-item gambling market. The comparison with previous, often empirical, results highlights the ability of the kinetic approach to explain how the simple microscopic rules of a gambling-type game produce complex collective trends, which might be difficult to interpret precisely by looking only at the available data.
    Date: 2019–04
  6. By: Crowley, Frank; Walsh, Edel
    Abstract: Many argue that the rise in populist support in Europe and elsewhere stems from people feeling marginalised, distrustful and generally dissatisfied. Against a backdrop of populism, this paper aims to examine the relationship between social capital and life satisfaction using data on 21,000 individuals from 14 European countries obtained from the Life in Transition Survey (2016). Specifically, we test the empirical significance of a novel social capital-wellbeing conceptual framework that incorporates three key dimensions of personal social capital; (i) structural (personal ties), (ii) cognitive (trust) and (iii) tolerance. This latter aspect is the most novel addition of this research to the theoretical and empirical literature as we argue that tolerance acts as a bridging mechanism between trust and ties in affecting overall wellbeing. Using ordered probit models the paper estimates the effect of social capital on life satisfaction by using an index for aggregate personal social capital, as well as separate indices for structural social capital, cognitive social capital and tolerance. The analysis also examines the interaction effects of social capital with individual and place characteristics of respondents. Among the results we find that strong structural ties with friends and family and being a tolerant, trusting individual improves life satisfaction. Of the social capital indicators, we find that trust in institutions has the largest marginal effect on life satisfaction. Also, interaction effects indicate that social capital could be a key ingredient in overcoming income inequalities, health inequalities and spatial inequalities at the individual level. We conclude that societies that fail to invest in social capital may be more politically unstable or more susceptible to widespread intolerance, distrust and ultimately discontent.
    Keywords: life satisfaction,social capital,ties,trust,tolerance,Europe
    Date: 2018
  7. By: Feldhoff, Charlotte H.; Liu, Yi; Feldhoff, Patricia R.
    Abstract: This paper conducts a thorough data analysis using cross-sectional data from a study carried out in Mexico including over 16,500 observations. In the study, clusters were selected in areas Compartamos Banco, a Microfinance institution (MFI), has not lent in before. The clusters were randomly assigned to either the treatment or the control group. The analysis suggests that Microfinance has a significant positive effect on school and food expenditure but no apparent effect on entrepreneurship. Using regression analysis, a significant positive effect on women's empowerment and its positive effect on total consumption is found.
    Keywords: microfinance,consumption patterns,women's empowerment,Mexico
    JEL: D14 G21 I15 I25 I31 J16 O12
    Date: 2019
  8. By: Purkus, Alexandra; Lüdtke, Jan; Becher, Georg; Dieter, Matthias; Jochem, Dominik; Lehnen, Ralph; Liesebach, Mirko; Polley, Heino; Rüter, Sebastian; Schweinle, Jörg; Weimar, Holger; Welling, Johannes
    Abstract: Die Charta für Holz 2.0 (CfH 2.0) verfolgt das Ziel, den Klimaschutzbeitrag der Forst- und Holzwirtschaft zu steigern, Wertschöpfung und Wettbewerbsfähigkeit des Clusters Forst & Holz zu festigen und zu stärken, und endliche Ressourcen durch eine nachhaltige und effiziente Nutzung von Wäldern und Holz zu schonen. Die Umsetzung der CfH 2.0 stützt sich auf einen Dialogprozess, der sich an Akteure aus Politik, Verwaltung, Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft und Zivilgesellschaft richtet und sechs Handlungsfelder umfasst. Begleitend zum Charta-Prozess findet eine Evaluation statt, deren Aufgabe es ist, Charta-Akteuren wissenschaftlich basierte Informationen zum Fortschritt in den Handlungsfeldern zur Verfügung zu stellen. Der vorliegende Bericht beschreibt die wissenschaftlichen Grundlagen der Evaluationsmethodik und das Konzept der Evaluation. Als langfristig angelegter Prozess, der vielfältige Akteure einbindet und auf vielen Ebenen abläuft, weist die CfH 2.0 mehrere Besonderheiten auf. So verfügt sie über ein komplexes Zielsystem mit drei primären Zielen (Klimaschutz, Wertschöpfung und Ressourceneffizienz) und handlungsfeldspezifischen Unterzielen. Die Umsetzung der CfH 2.0 erfordert nicht nur koordiniertes Handeln auf verschiedenen Politik- und Verwaltungsebenen, sondern erfolgt unter aktiver Einbindung von Akteuren aus Wissenschaft, Wirtschaft und Zivilgesellschaft. Zuständigkeiten für Maßnahmen resultieren demnach aus dem Charta-Prozess. Der Instrumentenmix zur Umsetzung der Charta-Ziele ist bewusst nicht abschließend formuliert, sondern unterliegt einer kontinuierlichen Weiterentwicklung. Bei vielfältigen Wechselwirkungen zwischen Instrumenten kann die Abgrenzung des Beitrags, den eine einzelne Maßnahme zu einem bestimmten Ergebnis geleistet hat, mit hohen Unsicherheiten verbunden sein. [...]
    Keywords: Forstwirtschaft,Holzwirtschaft,Holznutzung,Klimaschutz,Bioökonomie,Evaluation,Innovationspolitik,forestry,forest-based industries,wood use,climate change mitigation,bioeconomy,evaluation,innovation policy
    Date: 2019
  9. By: Thierry Pouch (REGARDS - Recherches en Économie Gestion AgroRessources Durabilité Santé- EA 6292 - URCA - Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne)
    Date: 2018–04
  10. By: Pies, Ingo
    Abstract: Mit diesem Artikel soll die Moralsoziologie von Donald Black in ihren Grundzügen einem deutschsprachigen Publikum zugänglich gemacht werden. Die Rekonstruktion stützt sich auf eigens entwickelte Graphiken, mit denen sich die wesentlichen Überlegungen leicht(er) nachvollziehen lassen und die Systematizität des Blackschen Ansatzes klar(er) vor Augen tritt. Zudem werden einzelne ausgewählte Thesen der Blackschen Moralsoziologie pointierend hervorgehoben. Insgesamt will dieser Artikel dazu beitragen, die Relevanz des Blackschen Ansatzes für die ethische Grundlagenforschung generell sowie für die Theoriebildung innerhalb der Wirtschafts- und Unternehmensethik kenntlich zu machen.
    Keywords: Moralsoziologie,Ethik,Reflexionstheorie der Moral,soziale Geometrie,reine Soziologie,Moderne,sociology of morality,ethics,reflective theory of morality,social geometry,pure sociology,modernity
    Date: 2018
  11. By: Becker, Sascha O. (University of Warwick); Fernandes, Ana (Bern University of Applied Sciences); Weichselbaumer, Doris (Johannes Kepler University Linz)
    Abstract: Due to conventional gender norms, women are more likely to be in charge of childcare than men. From an employer’s perspective, in their fertile age they are also at “risk” of pregnancy. Both factors potentially affect hiring practices of firms. We conduct a largescale correspondence test in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, sending out approx. 9,000 job applications, varying job candidate’s personal characteristics such as marital status and age of children. We find evidence that, for part-time jobs, married women with older kids, who likely finished their childbearing cycle and have more projectable childcare chores than women with very young kids, are at a significant advantage vis-àvis other groups of women. At the same time, married, but childless applicants, who have a higher likelihood to become pregnant, are at a disadvantage compared to single, but childless applicants to part-time jobs. Such effects are not present for full-time jobs, presumably, because by applying to these in contrast to part-time jobs, women signal that they have arranged for external childcare.
    Keywords: Fertility; Discrimination; Experimental economics. JEL Classification: C93; J16; J71.
    Date: 2019
  12. By: Naqvi, Asjad; Monasterolo, Irene
    Abstract: Assessing the short-term socio-economic impacts of climate-led disasters on food trade networks requires new bottom-up models and vulnerability metrics rooted in complexity theory. Indeed, such shocks could generate cascading socio-economic losses across the networks layers where emerging agents¿ responses could trigger tipping points. We contribute to address this research gap by developing a multi-layer behavioral network methodology composed of multiple spatially-explicit layers populated by heterogeneous interacting agents. Then, by introducing a new multi-layer risk measure called vulnerability rank, or VRank, we quantify the stress in the aftermath of a shock. Our approach allows us to analyze both the supply- and the demand-side dimensions of the shock by quantifying short-term behavioral responses, the transmission channels across the layers, the conditions for reaching tipping points, and the feedback on macroeconomic indicators. By simulating a stylized two-layer supply-side production and demand-side household network model we find that, (i) socio-economic vulnerability to climate-led disasters is cyclical, (ii) the distribution of shocks depends critically on the network structure, and on the speed of supply-side and demand-side responses. Our results suggest that such a multi-layer framework could provide a comprehensive picture of how climate-led shocks cascade and how indirect losses can be measured. This is crucial to inform effective post-disaster policies aimed to build food trade network resilience to climate-led shocks, in particular in more agriculture-dependent bread-basket regions.
    Keywords: complexity economics, multi-layer networks, behavioral economics, food trade, climate-led shocks, vulnerability rank, post-disaster policy
    Date: 2019–04
  13. By: Li, Ye (Ohio State University)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the endogenous risk in economies where intangible capital is essential and its limited pledgeability induces firms' liquidity demand. Banks emerge to intermediate the liquidity supply by holding claims on firms' tangible capital and issuing deposits that firms hold to pay for intangible investment. A bubbly value of tangible capital arises and increases in banks' balance-sheet capacity. Its procyclicality induces firms' investment and savings waves, which feed into banks' risk-taking and amplify downside risks. The model produces stagnant crises and replicates several trends in the decades leading up to the Great Recession: (1) the rise of intangible capital; (2) the increase of firms' cash holdings; (3) the growth of financial intermediation; (4) the declining real interest rate; (5) the rising prices of collateral assets.
    JEL: D92 E10 E32 E41 E44 E51 G12 G20 G31
    Date: 2019–01
  14. By: Maximilian Sprengholz; Anna Wieber; Elke Holst
    Abstract: We exploit the natural experiment of German reunification in 1990 to investigate if the institutional regimes of the formerly socialist (rather gender-equal) East Germany and the capitalist (rather gender-traditional) West Germany shaped different gender identity prescriptions of family breadwinning. We use data for three periods between 1984 and 2016 from the representative German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Density discontinuity tests and fixed-effects regressions suggest that married couples in West (but not East) Germany diminished the wife’s labor market outcomes in order to avoid situations where she would earn more than him. However, the significance of the male breadwinner prescription seems to decline in West Germany since reunification, converging to the more gender-egalitarian East Germany. Our work emphasizes the view that political and institutional frameworks can shape fairly persistent gender identity prescriptions that influence household economic decisions for some time, even when these frameworks change.
    Keywords: Gender identity, male breadwinner norm, institutions, female labor market outcomes, SOEP
    JEL: J16 J12 D10
    Date: 2019
  15. By: Brainard, Lael (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.))
    Date: 2019–02–23
  16. By: Georges El Haddad
    Abstract: Adam Smith (1776) is the first to introduce religions into a market. Our article studies Smith’s neglected contribution to secularization theories and sociological market of religions then distinguishes it from his contribution to the economic market of religions. The objective of this article is to show that sociology and economics of religion both rely on Smith. Our issue analyzes if the markets of religions in the two disciplines evolve contradictory or complementary. Our results show an interdisciplinary dissemination of Smith’s ideas between sociology and economics of religion, a (unknown/neglected) Smithian background for sociology of religion and a demand-side market of religions in sociology. We demonstrate that there is no opposition between the two disciplines, but a methodological difference between demand and supply mechanisms. Our historical work remarks a methodological schism in the markets of religion with the introduction of Becker’s rational choice into sociology. We trace a historical tree to distinguish the demand mechanism (Marx, Durkheim, Weber and traditional sociological market) from the supply mechanism (Tocqueville, Blau and Homans, Becker, and rational choice theory in sociology and economics of religion) in the evolution of Smith’s market.
    Keywords: Adam Smith, Market of Religions, Rational Choice Theory, Secularization Theories, Economics and Sociology of Religion.
    JEL: Z12 B12 A12 P16 B41
    Date: 2019

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