nep-hme New Economics Papers
on Heterodox Microeconomics
Issue of 2023‒04‒03
thirteen papers chosen by
Carlo D’Ippoliti
Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”

  1. Objectivity in Economics and the Problem of the Individual By Davis, John B.
  2. Development of Islamic Feminism in Iran Under the Influence of Reformist Discourse By Vahedi, Meisam; Akhtar, Iqbal
  3. Combining search strategies to improve performance in the calibration of economic ABMs By Aldo Glielmo; Marco Favorito; Debmallya Chanda; Domenico Delli Gatti
  4. The surplus-value rate and the structure of the tax system By Ferran Sancho
  5. Power struggles and gender discrimination in the workplace By Yasar, Alperen
  6. Unpaid family labor and self-employment: Two multi-sector models of capitalist reproduction and endogenous cycles By Cajas Guijarro, John
  7. Reflections on the Role of Natural Capital for Economic Activity By Björn Döhring; Atanas Hristov; Anna Thum-Thysen; Cristiano Carvell
  8. The Economics of the DeLend Project: Agent-based Simulations By Frederico Dutilh Novaes; Gabriel de Abreu Madeira; Aurimar Cerqueira
  9. The cultural and aesthetic roots of The Joyless Economy By Di Giovinazzo, Viviana
  10. Evolutionary Game Theory and the Adaptive Dynamics Approach: Adaptation where Individuals Interact By Avila, Piret; Mullon, Charles
  11. Parallel processes and divergent outcomes: the transformation of the economies of former Socialist countries By Alexander Chepurenko; Miklos Szanyi
  12. Translating Intersectionality to Fair Machine Learning in Health Sciences By Lett, Elle; La Cava, William
  13. Behavioral Spillovers By Bonev, Petyo

  1. By: Davis, John B. (Department of Economics Marquette University)
    Abstract: This paper addresses objectivity in economics. It criticizes a closed science, ‘view from nowhere’ conception of economics and defends an open science, ‘view from somewhere’ conception of objective science. It ascribes the first conception to mainstream economics, associates it with its principle practices – reductionist modeling, formalization, limited interdisciplinarity, and value neutrality – and argues their foundation is the Homo economicus individual conception. Two problematic consequences of adopting this stance are: (i) value blindness regarding the range and complexity of human values; (ii) fatalism regarding human behavior associated with employing a tenseless representation of time. The paper contrasts the principle practices of an open science, view from science conception – complexity modeling, mixed methods, strong relationships to other disciplines, and value diversity – and argues their foundation is a socially and historically embedded economics individual conception that avoids the value blindness and fatalism problems.
    Keywords: objectivity in science, science practices, Homo economicus, value-blindness, fatalism, science bubble
    Date: 2023–03
  2. By: Vahedi, Meisam; Akhtar, Iqbal
    Abstract: Islamic feminism in Iran is defined as the radical rethinking of religious and sacred texts from a feminist perspective. This research aims to show how Islamic feminism developed in Iran and discuss the philosophical and epistemological foundations of different discourses influencing that movement. This study utilizes documentary research methods. It shows that central to the development of Islamic feminism is the development of the reformist movement in Iran. Reformists believe that employing justice in Islamic laws requires a novel hermeneutic interpretation of sacred texts that account for absolute equality in men’s and women’s rights. However, traditional and neo-traditional jurists present different interpretations of the notion of justice regarding gender relations. They believe that since men and women have existential and inborn differences, they hold separate rights and duties, especially regarding their social and family roles. Accordingly, two kinds of law are needed to regulate their lives. Using reformist theories, Muslim feminists in Iran have challenged the traditional interpretation of sacred texts and called for women’s rights as equal to men’s in the Islamic constitution.
    Date: 2023–02–11
  3. By: Aldo Glielmo; Marco Favorito; Debmallya Chanda; Domenico Delli Gatti
    Abstract: Calibrating agent-based models (ABMs) in economics and finance typically involves a derivative-free search in a very large parameter space. In this work, we benchmark a number of search methods in the calibration of a well-known macroeconomic ABM on real data, and further assess the performance of "mixed strategies" made by combining different methods. We find that methods based on random-forest surrogates are particularly efficient, and that combining search methods generally increases performance since the biases of any single method are mitigated. Moving from these observations, we propose a reinforcement learning (RL) scheme to automatically select and combine search methods on-the-fly during a calibration run. The RL agent keeps exploiting a specific method only as long as this keeps performing well, but explores new strategies when the specific method reaches a performance plateau. The resulting RL search scheme outperforms any other method or method combination tested, and does not rely on any prior information or trial and error procedure.
    Date: 2023–02
  4. By: Ferran Sancho
    Abstract: We explore the relationship between the tax system and the surplus-value rate. Since government policy directly conditions the economic environment, any variations in the tax rates will affect disposable income. This, in turn, translates to consumption adjustments that give rise to changes in the surplus-value rate. For the evaluation of changes from the baseline figure, we argue that the correct data set needs to be more comprehensive than the input-output and national accounts data. The reason is that they do not include, in a coherent and integrated manner, all the tax flows taking place in the economy. A Social Accounting Matrix (SAM), however, does include all the tax flows affecting households (indirect taxes on consumption, direct taxes on income, and personal labour taxes). Therefore, the SAM provides the basis for counter-factual calculations of the surplus-value rate that a standard input-output table, for example, cannot provide. We illustrate the possibilities of the analysis using a recent SAM of Spain.
    Keywords: Surplus-value rate, Social Accounting Matrix, Taxation and consumption, Policy indicators.
    JEL: B51 C54 H22
    Date: 2023–03–21
  5. By: Yasar, Alperen (Ca' Foscari University of Venice)
    Abstract: This study explores the impact of power struggles on the emergence of gender discrimination within the organizational culture. Utilizing an agent-based model, we simulate power struggles as an asymmetric hawk and dove game where agents may categorize their opponents based on their observable traits to make effective decisions. Our model includes two categories: prestigious education and sex, with prestigious education having higher struggling power. We examine three categorization strategies: fine-grained, regular-grained, and coarse-grained categorization. Our results indicate that fine-grained categorizers gain an advantage when the cost of fighting is low. In contrast, coarse-grained categorizers become more peaceful, leading to an advantage when the cost of fighting is high. Our simulation reveals that although there is no meaningful difference between sexes, different behaviors emerge when fine-categorizing agents dominate.
    Date: 2023–02–12
  6. By: Cajas Guijarro, John
    Abstract: This paper presents two sectoral models of endogenous cycles that illustrate the relevance of unpaid family labor and self-employment for capitalist extended reproduction. In Model A, Sector 1 produces capital goods, Sector 2 produces consumption goods, and Sector 3 includes unpaid family labor producing consumption goods to improve working-class subsistence. In addition, Model B includes Sector 4 of self-employed who produce consumption goods and accumulate capital. The paper analytically proves that unpaid labor contributes to the stability of capitalist cycles, and it illustrates how self-employment may improve working-class living standards during the upper stage of these cycles.
    Keywords: unpaid family labor; self-employment; sectoral models of extended reproduction; endogenous cycles
    JEL: B51 C63 O41
    Date: 2022–11–16
  7. By: Björn Döhring; Atanas Hristov; Anna Thum-Thysen; Cristiano Carvell
    Abstract: The discussion of the role of natural capital in economic activity is not new; increasing evidence of environmental pressures, climate deregulation and biodiversity loss have however increased the interest in the role of natural capital in the production process. This paper reviews approaches to conceptualising the contribution of natural capital to economic processes. It covers the neoclassical tradition of production functions with natural resources as well as damage functions, but also considers a more heterodox approach to reflecting the vulnerability of natural assets. Different ways of modelling natural capital lead to divergent conclusions about the sustainability of economic growth on a finite planet. By focusing on efforts to integrate nature’s contribution to economic production in economic modelling and standard economic metrics, this paper differs from ‘beyond GDP’ scoreboards that complement GDP with additional statistics. The applied part of the paper discusses selected approaches for quantifying the contribution of natural capital including production functions at different levels of aggregation, environmental-economic accounting and damage functions and highlights insights to be gained as well as difficulties. On this basis, we outline next steps for modelling natural capital in the production process.
    JEL: Q57 E01 E23
    Date: 2023–02
  8. By: Frederico Dutilh Novaes; Gabriel de Abreu Madeira; Aurimar Cerqueira
    Abstract: This paper presents our methodology to simulate the behavior of the DeLend Platform. Such simulations are important to verify if the system is able to connect the different sets of agents linked to the platform in a functional manner. They also provide inputs to guide the choices of operational parameters, such as the platform spread, and strategies by DeLend, since they estimate how the key variables of interest respond to different policies. We discuss the methodology and provide examples meant to clarify the approach and to how we intend to use the tool in practice -- they should not be interpreted as representative of real life scenarios.
    Date: 2023–03
  9. By: Di Giovinazzo, Viviana
    Abstract: Tibor Scitovsky’s The Joyless Economy (1976) is now regarded as a landmark publication in the combined fields of economic and psychology, with standard accounts of Scitovsky’s ideas emphasizing the influence of 1960s motivational psychology literature. While this encounter is all-important, Scitovsky’s ideas need at the same time to be read in the context of the evolution of his critique of 20th century mass society. The present paper presents that critique and demonstrates its fundamental importance for Scitovsky’s diagnosis of an economy he termed joyless. Drawing upon his Memoirs, we show how Scitovsky’s ideas were initially shaped by the culture/aesthetics of his early years in Budapest, followed by his experiences of rising totalitarianism in inter-war Europe, and further affected by his move to the consumption society of post-war America. Important the way he engaged with the writings of influential contemporary cultural commentators, including André Gide, Erich Fromm, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Lewis Mumford and Bernard Rudofsky. Close scrutiny also reveals resonances between Scitovsky’s cultural concerns and those of some of the Bloomsbury Group.
    Date: 2023–02–23
  10. By: Avila, Piret; Mullon, Charles
    Abstract: Evolutionary game theory and the adaptive dynamics approach have made invaluable contributions to understand how gradual evolution leads to adaptation when individuals interact. Here, we review some of the basic tools that have come out of these contributions to model the evolution of quantitative traits in complex populations. We collect together mathematical expressions that describe directional and disruptive selection in class- and group-structured populations in terms of individual fitness, with the aims of bridging different models and interpreting selection. In particular, our review of disruptive selection suggests there are two main paths that can lead to diversity: (i) when individual fitness increases more than linearly with trait expression; (ii) when trait expression simultaneously increases the probability that an individual is in a certain context (e.g. a given age, sex, habitat, size or social environment) and fitness in that context. We provide various examples of these and more broadly argue that population structure lays the ground for the emergence of polymorphism with unique characteristics. Beyond this, we hope that the descriptions of selection we present here help see the tight links among fundamental branches of evolutionary biology, from life-history to social evolution through evolutionary ecology, and thus favour further their integration.
    Date: 2023–03–06
  11. By: Alexander Chepurenko (National research university Higher School of Economics); Miklos Szanyi
    Abstract: The paper deals with the problems of diverging developmental trajectories of former Socialist economies of the Central and South-Eastern European countries as well as of the former USSR republics. The purpose is exploring the developmental trends of three groups of economies – ECE, Balkans and some of the CIS – which started from seemingly same initial base, but later showed some specifics both regarding the socio-economic orders and the dynamics of internal developments. The paper argues that over the 30 years of post-Socialist development, these countries moved over certain periods of adaptation and mimicry (mostly importing or imitating institutions of the established market economies and democracies), the later stage of evaluating of the experience and developing of some hybrid socio-economic models, and the contemporary stage of what is called ‘dependent’, or ‘periphery’ capitalisms in ECE and Balkan countries vs. ‘backslide transition’ in Russia and some other CIS countries. Thus, the outcomes of the systemic transition are shown as problematic, fragile and different. The paper refers these divergences to a set of differing preconditions as well as institutional traps which occurred during the systemic change itself, and shows both commonalities as well as specifics of post-Socialist socio-economic development also within each of the three sub-groups of countries. The paper bases on the desk research of the relevant literature and own investigations.
    Keywords: transition, post-Socialist economies, Central and Eastern Europe, systemic comparison
    JEL: P20 P21 P30 P51
    Date: 2021–10
  12. By: Lett, Elle; La Cava, William
    Abstract: Machine learning (ML)-derived tools are rapidly being deployed as an additional input in the clinical decision-making process to optimize health interventions. However, ML models also risk propagating societal discrimination and exacerbating existing health inequities. The field of ML fairness has focused on developing approaches to mitigate bias in ML models. To date, the focus has been on the model fitting process, simplifying the processes of structural discrimination to definitions of model bias based on performance metrics. Here, we reframe the ML task through the lens of intersectionality, a Black feminist theoretical framework that contextualizes individuals in interacting systems of power and oppression, linking inquiry into measuring fairness to the pursuit of health justice. In doing so, we present intersectional ML fairness as a paradigm shift that moves from an emphasis on model metrics to an approach for ML that is centered around achieving more equitable health outcomes.
    Date: 2023–02–27
  13. By: Bonev, Petyo
    Abstract: What is a behavioral spillover? How can a spillover be uncovered from the data? What is the precise link between the underlying psychological theory of a spillover and the econometric assumptions which are necessary to estimate it? This paper draws on recent advancements in causal inference, behavioral economics, psychology, and neuroscience to develop a framework for the causal evaluation and interpretation of behavioral spillovers. A novel research design is suggested. The paper challenges existing empirical strategies and reevaluates existing empirical results.
    Keywords: Behavioral spillovers, environmental policy evaluation, moral licensing, self-perception theory, cognitive dissonance theory, foot-in-the-door effect
    JEL: C21 C26 C9 D04 D9
    Date: 2023–03

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