nep-hme New Economics Papers
on Heterodox Microeconomics
Issue of 2021‒01‒04
eleven papers chosen by
Carlo D’Ippoliti
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Critique of Commutopia: On an Economic Concept of the New Left By Schimmelbusch, Heinz
  2. From ‘Capital and Ideology’ to ‘Democracy and Evidence’: a review of Thomas Piketty By McGaughey, Ewan
  3. De quelques préconditions à la liberté académique By Jean Luc De Meulemeester
  4. Controversies around RCT in Development. Epistemology, Ethics, and Politics. By Florent Bédécarrats; Isabelle Guérin; François Roubaud
  5. Rise of the Kniesians: The professor-student network of Nobel laureates in economics By Richard S. J. Tol
  6. From Regulation to Deregulation and (Perhaps) Back: A Peculiar Continuity in the Analytical Framework By McColloch, William; Vernengo, Matías
  7. Die Entleerung der Bildung: Ökonomisierung als radikales Reframing By Graupe, Silja
  8. Block-Recursive Equilibria in Heterogenous-Agent Models By Leo Kaas
  9. Reconciling agency and impartiality: positional views as the cornerstone of Sen’s idea of justice By Antoinette BAUJARD; Muriel GILARDONE
  10. Separating Left from Right in Eastern Europe: Re-examining Attitudes Towards Inequality By Jesper Lindqvist
  11. Discussion on the Grounded Theory Approach on Business Resilience Study By Weng Xuanbin, Yasunari,Takaura

  1. By: Schimmelbusch, Heinz (The Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise)
    Abstract: This study is an analysis of Commutopia, a theoretical economic system. Commutopia has never existed anywhere. The system was planned to be set up in the Federal Republic of Germany by a revolution, which was propagated by the Socialist German student organization SDS. The revolution never took place. The SDS dissolved in 1969, after its revolutionary appeal was echoed only at some German universities. Commutopia is a model of a planned economy. The plan is worked out by the highest soviet and determines the input-output-relations for all communes. The communes are production cooperatives of universally educated individuals. The plan is legitimated within a concept of a kind of Soviet-democratic centralism. The high stage of educational development of the people in Commutopia is guaranteed by a permanent rotation of all individuals through all social positions. Even if a German revolution under the leadership of the SDS had taken place, Commutopia would not have been set up in the Federal Republic. It can be shown, that every attempt to reach Commutopia within a highly industrialized world is bound to end in secular dictatorship by the revolutionaries. It can also be shown that the immanent laws of the commutopic production technique lead to the destruction of Commutopia, once the heroic assumption is made that Commutopia exists. For these reasons Commutopia is no alternative
    Date: 2020–12
  2. By: McGaughey, Ewan (King's College, London)
    Abstract: Thomas Piketty’s Capital and Ideology (2020) is a major, encyclopaedic and data-driven contribution to the effort of constructing a better human civilization. This review summarises the main argument: a positive thesis that in every society, ideology feeds laws and institutions that create inequality, and inequality then bolsters ideology; a normative thesis that we need a better ideology, including ‘participatory socialism’, to solve our biggest challenges. The review then complements and critiques three central issues in the argument, that (1) the true concentration of economic power, the votes in the economy, is even more extreme than inequality of wealth and income, (2) the legal construction of markets, through property, contract, corporate, or human rights law, can ‘pre-distribute’ income and wealth to a vast extent before tax, and (3) social justice means expanding (not merely correcting or re-distributing) everyone’s opportunity, creative capacity, and human potential, and helps everyone to develop their personality to the fullest. Social justice is an unparalleled force, and is still the best answer to far-right, authoritarian or other failed ideologies, which have escalated inequality and driven climate damage. Perhaps the greatest achievement of Piketty’s work could be to bring economics firmly back to the values in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (2020) Oeconomia.
    Date: 2020–12–14
  3. By: Jean Luc De Meulemeester
    Abstract: In this paper we assess both the benefits of academic freedom and the conditions required for its existence. We propose a long run historical sketch to put forward the institutional and financial characteristics of the Humboldtian model that stressed the very idea of academic freedom. We show how this model influenced the later developments of higher education, both in Europe and the USA. We stress how the post-WW2 massive expansion of higher education led to more utilitarian considerations by the State funding the institutions. The crisis of the 70s and the rise of neoliberalism since the early 80s led to the emergence of a new vision of higher education as a tool for economic performance. In this new and anti-Humboldtian perspective, higher education institutions are monitored from above (regulated competition, selective funding, output-based rather than input-based) and transformed internally into firm-like organizations. We question the potential dangers for academic freedom.
    Keywords: Higher Education; Academic Freedom; Conditions; History
    JEL: I28 I23
    Date: 2020–12–16
  4. By: Florent Bédécarrats (AFD Paris, France); Isabelle Guérin (IRD CESSMA); François Roubaud (IRD, DIAL, PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine)
    Abstract: The article questions the scope of application of RCTs in the field of development, what they can achieve, why they sometimes fail and why other methods are both useful and necessary. It sets out the points of disagreement between supporters and critics of RCTs, which are both epistemological (scientism versus pragmatism), political (is development an aggregate of micro-interventions or a structural, institutional and political change? Is poverty understood a matter of privation or as a process leading to unequal power relationships?), and ethical (should we at all costs privilege the advancement of science or protect populations?). The paper draws the lessons, while updating them, from a recent collective book edited by the authors. Given the constraints of the method, RCTs are usually limited to micro-interventions and private goods and to behavioural tests in response to varied types of interventions. The inability of RCTs to respond to the poverty challenges posed by the current pandemic largely confirms our analyses. The article argues for the need of a real scientific controversy and proposes ways of improving RCTs and methodological alternatives.
    Keywords: Covid, Ethics, Political Economy, Poverty, Randominzed Control Trials, Scientific Controversy
    JEL: C10 C83 C93 M31 O10 O43
    Date: 2020–12
  5. By: Richard S. J. Tol
    Abstract: The paper presents the professor-student network of Nobel laureates in economics. 74 of the 79 Nobelists belong to one family tree. The remaining 5 belong to 3 separate trees. There are 350 men in the graph, and 4 women. Karl Knies is the central-most professor, followed by Wassily Leontief. No classical and few neo-classical economists have left notable descendants. Harvard is the central-most university, followed by Chicago and Berlin. Most candidates for the Nobel prize belong to the main family tree, but new trees may arise for the students of Terence Gorman and Denis Sargan.
    Date: 2020–11
  6. By: McColloch, William (Keene State College); Vernengo, Matías (Bucknell University)
    Abstract: The rise of the regulatory state during the Gilded Age was closely associated with the development of Institutionalist ideas in American academia. In their analysis of the emergent regulatory environment, Institutionalists like John Commons opera-ted with a fundamentally marginalist theory of value and distribution. This engagement is a central explanation for the ul-timate ascendancy of neoclassical economics, and the limitations of the regulatory environment that emerged in the Progres-sive Era. The eventual rise of the Chicago School and its deregulatory ambitions did constitute a rupture, but one achieved without rejecting preceding conceptions of competition and value. The substantial compatibility of the view of markets underlying both the regulatory and deregulatory periods is stressed, casting doubt about the transformative potential of the resurgent regulatory impulse in the New Gilded Age.
    Keywords: John Commons; George Stigler; Regulatory Capture; Deregulation
    JEL: B13 B15 B25 K20 L51
    Date: 2020–12–16
  7. By: Graupe, Silja
    Abstract: Der ökonomische Imperialismus kann als ein Programm des epistemischen Reframings aller menschlichen Lebensbereiche begriffen werden. Diese Entgrenzung erreicht er über eine vollständige Abstraktion von spezifischen gelebten Erfahrungen und die Reformulierung dieser Erfahrung durch die Denkform des Geldes. Die OECD hat sich als Wegbereiterin eben eines solchen Reframings im Bereich der Bildung hervorgetan. Der Beitrag rekonstruiert die Grundlegenden epistemischen Entscheidungen, die für eine solche Umdeutung und mithin auch eine Umgestaltung von Bildung vonnöten sind.
    Keywords: Ökonomisierung,Bildung,Humankapital,Economics of Education,OECD,Geldphilosophie
    JEL: A13 A20 B13 B20 B41 B50 P40 Z13
    Date: 2020
  8. By: Leo Kaas
    Abstract: Equilibrium models with heterogeneous agents and aggregate uncertainty are difficult to analyze since policy functions and market prices depend on the cross-sectional distribution over agents’ state variables which is generally a high-dimensional object. This paper develops and applies a general model framework in which this problem does not arise. If sufficiently many agents enter the economy in every aggregate state of the world, policy functions and prices depend only on the exogenous aggregate state but are independent of the distribution over idiosyncratic states. The first part of this paper proves existence results for such block-recursive equilibria and derives an ergodic property which is useful for their computation. The second part applies this equilibrium concept to models of firm dynamics with competitive or frictional input markets and to incomplete-market economies with endogenous asset market participation.
    Keywords: block-recursive equilibrium, dynamic general equilibrium, heterogeneous agents
    JEL: C62 D50 E32
    Date: 2020
  9. By: Antoinette BAUJARD (Université Jean Monnet, Université de Lyon, GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne CNRS); Muriel GILARDONE (Université de Caen Normandie, UNICAEN, CREM CNRS)
    Abstract: Our paper offers a novel reading of Sen’s idea of justice, going beyond two standard prisms that we have identified as obscuring the debate: 1) welfarism, i.e.the focus on one definition of individual welfare; and 2)transcendentalism, i.e.resting on external normative criteria. Instead we take seriously Sen’s emphasis on personal agency,and we focus on his original contribution to the issue of positional objectivity.Firstly, we demonstrate that Sen’s idea of justice, with the notion of “positional views” at its core, is more respectful of persons’agency than any theory based on individual preference or capability could be. Secondly, we argue that Sen’s conception of positional views considers that both information and sentiments are relevant. Such an alternative approach to both objectivity and subjectivity in their standard meanings allows the formation of more impartial views through collective deliberation and a better consideration of justice by agents themselves. This paper contributes to better articulating Sen’s constructive proposal regarding justice and clarifying its anti-paternalistic nature.
    Keywords: individual preferences, positional objectivity, sentiments, public reasoning, agency, justice, welfarism, transcendentalism, impartiality, anti-paternalism
    JEL: A13 B31 B41 D63 I31
    Date: 2020–12
  10. By: Jesper Lindqvist (School of Politics and International Relations, University College)
    Abstract: A number of scholars have suggested that the left-right dimension can be simplified to a conflict over how much inequality should be accepted in society. Yet previous research has found that while acceptance of inequality may correlate with right-wing self-placements in Western Europe, the same does not apply in Eastern Europe. This paper revisits this by examining inequality in relation to class, gender, sexuality and ethnicity (/immigration), taking into account that different inequalities are politicised in different countries and have differing levels of importance for the left-right dimension depending on the context. Results of multilevel regression models demonstrate that attitudes favourable to change in an egalitarian direction correlate with left-wing self-placements in both Eastern and Western Europe. This critical break from previous research is especially important for future studies on Eastern Europe, where the left-right dimension has previously been understood to function very differently compared to Western Europe.
    Keywords: Left-right dimension, equality, inequality, ideology, public opinion
    Date: 2020–11–12
  11. By: Weng Xuanbin, Yasunari,Takaura
    Abstract: The business world needs resilience more than ever. Nevertheless, research deployed by the -Grounded Theory methodology mainly focuses on the field of medical-related disciplines and sociology (Rolle-Berg & Linden, 2020; Carmichael & Craayestein, 2020; Garratt & Patching 2019), while leaving business sectors rarely considered in this subject. As clinicians figure out problems of the human body by direct observation, health indicator measurement, the grounded theory can apply to conducting first-hand-data-required business resilience research. Nevertheless, could the grounded theory have developed to the current stage, regardless of its subsystem, being applied to business resilience researches as the way of waiving medical and sociological research? Does there exist a possibility that a specific, grounded theory can be further evolved for business resilience researches in East Asia social context? Such questions are remaining covered, and this research would initiate to act as an ice-breaker to them.
    Date: 2020–11

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