nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2005‒05‒07
eleven papers chosen by
Andy Denis
City University

  1. The Law of Demand Versus Diminishing Marginal Utility By Bruce Beattie; Jeffrey LaFrance
  2. How Useful Is Universal Darwinism as a Framework to Study Competition and Industrial Evolution? By G. Buenstorf
  3. Bringing Macroeconomics into the Lab. By Roberto Ricciuti
  4. Houthakker and Ville's contributions to demand theory: a new look at the debate on integrability conditions. By François Gardes; Pierre Garrouste
  5. The connections between the Austrian tradition and some of the recent developments relating to the economic analysis of institutions. By Pierre Garrouste
  6. A Review of the Empirical Literature on FDI Determinants By Bruce A. Blonigen
  7. The Tale of Two research Communities: The Diffusion of Research on Productive Efficiency By Finn R. Førsund; Nikias Sarafoglou
  8. An interdisciplinary study of information systems: Christopher Alexander and IS failure. By Chris Kimble; William Selby
  9. Fifty years of Research on Accuracy of Capital Expenditure Project Estimates: A Review of the Findings and their Validity. By Stefan Linder
  10. Economists’ Topsy-Turvy View of Piracy By Stan Liebowitz
  11. Economic Theories of Settlement Bargaining By Andrew F. Daughety; Jennifer F. Reinganum

  1. By: Bruce Beattie (University of Arizona, Tucson); Jeffrey LaFrance (University of California, Berkeley)
    Abstract: Diminishing marginal utility is neither necessary nor sufficient for downward sloping demand, and it is not necessary for convex indifference curves. We illustrate these facts with two simple counter examples, using valid and easy to understand utility functions. The examples are accompanied with intuition, geometry, and basic mathematics of the utility functions, marginal utilities, marginal utility slopes, indifference curves, indifference curve slopes and curvatures, and ordinary demands and slopes.
    Keywords: convex indifference curves, diminishing marginal utility, downward sloping demand,
    Date: 2003–09–01
  2. By: G. Buenstorf
    Abstract: The adequate role of Darwinist concepts in evolutionary economics has long been a contentious issue. The controversy has recently been rekindled and modified by the position of "Universal Darwinism", most prominently favored by Geoffrey Hodgson and Thorbjørn Knudsen. They argue that the ontology of all evolutionary systems accords to the basic Darwinist scheme of variation, selection and inheritance. This paper focuses on the emerging application of the Universal Darwinist framework to the analysis of market competition and industrial evolution and gauges its usefulness for organizing an evolutionary approach to industrial economics. Drawing on both a theoretical discussion and recent empirical findings, it argues that selection and inheritance concepts narrowly construed after the biological example are of limited help in studying markets and industries. As an alternative to the 'top-down' approach of Universal Darwinism, 'bottom-up' causal theories are suggested that explain how the interplay of descent, experience and learning shapes the competitive performance of firms in the evolution of industries.
    Keywords: Universal Darwinism, routines, pre-entry experience, spinoffs, descent
    JEL: B52 L10 L20
    Date: 2005–04
  3. By: Roberto Ricciuti
    Abstract: This paper reviews experiments in macroeconomics, pointing out the theoretical justifications, the strengths and weaknesses of this approach. We identify two broad classes of experiments: general equilibrium and partial equilibrium experiments, and emphasize the idea of theory testing that is behind these. A large number of macroeconomic issues have been analyzed in the laboratory spanning from monetary economics to fiscal policy, from international trade and finance, to growth and macroeconomic imperfections. In a large number of cases results give support to the theories tested. We also highlight that experimental macroeconomics has increased the number of tools available to experimentalists.
    Keywords: Macroeconomics; experiments
  4. By: François Gardes; Pierre Garrouste
    Abstract: Jean Ville gave, independently of Houthakker, and prior to him, a general one page proof of the integrability of demand functions in a revealed preference scheme. It happens that this essential contribution has been largely ignored in the literature. The comparison between Ville and Houthakker’s proofs makes room for discussing the assumptions necessary to encompass the discrete version of the acyclicity into a continuous version.
  5. By: Pierre Garrouste
    Abstract: This paper has two aims. First, it studies the way the Austrian theory of institutions evolved from the main works of Menger. Second, and most significantly, it tries to justify the idea that the economic analysis of institutions was inspired more or less explicitly by Menger’s thesis but more generally by the Austrian intuitions and thesis. These intuitions and theses are however amended in order to make them more formalized as well as testable.
    Keywords: Menger; Austrian tradition; emergence of the institutions; economic analysis of institutions.
    JEL: B25 B3 D0
  6. By: Bruce A. Blonigen
    Abstract: This paper surveys the recent burgeoning literature that empirically examines the foreign direct investment (FDI) decisions of multinational enterprises (MNEs) and the resulting aggregate location of FDI across the world. The contribution of the paper is to evaluate what we can say with relative confidence about FDI as a profession, given the evidence, and what we cannot have much confidence in at this point. Suggestions are made for future research directions.
    JEL: F21 F23
    Date: 2005–05
  7. By: Finn R. Førsund; Nikias Sarafoglou
    Abstract: The field of theoretical and applied efficiency analysis is pursued both by economists and people from operational research and management science. Each group tends to cite a different paper as the seminal one. Recent availability of extensive electronically accessible databases of journal articles makes studies of the diffusion of papers through citations possible. Research strands inspired by the seminal paper within economics are identified and followed by citation analysis during the 20 year period before the operations research paper was published. The first decade of the operations research paper is studied in a similar way and emerging differences in diffusion patterns are pointed out. Main factors influencing citations apart from the quality of the research contribution are reputation of journal, reputation of author, number of close followers; colleagues, “cadres of protégés”, Ph.D. students, and extent of network (“invisible college”). Such factors are revealed by the citing papers. In spite of increasing cross contacts between economics and operations research the last decades co-citation analysis reveals a relative constant tendency to stick to “own camp” references.
    Keywords: Farrell efficiency measures, data envelopment analysis, DEA, bibliometry
    JEL: B21 D24
    Date: 2005–02
  8. By: Chris Kimble (University of York); William Selby (British Telecom)
    Abstract: This paper describes work carried out at the University of York; its contents do not represent the views or opinions of BT. It provides an example of how insights into the field of IS can be gained by looking at it from the perspective of other academic disciplines. Based on the idea that physical and virtual office spaces exist to serve parallel organisational requirements, it is argued that designers of information systems (IS) should be able to learn from the experience of architects in order to improve their methods and redefine their objectives. Firstly, the work of Christopher Alexander is reviewed to show how his work on architectural patterns has been of value to the designers object-oriented systems. Secondly, similarities in the literature between notions of failure in architecture and IS design are identified. These are then examined through interviews with practitioners to establish the relevance of the approach. Finally, the area that Alexander described as ‘the quality without a name’ is highlighted as a topic for further research.
    Keywords: Information Systems, Patterns, Virtual Office, Christopher Alexander
    JEL: O3 O32
    Date: 2005–05–04
  9. By: Stefan Linder (WHU, Vallendar Germany)
    Abstract: Capital budgeting research has traditionally focused on ever improving the methods used for evaluating projects. Since it seems futile to use sophisticated evaluation techniques if their input data – that is, estimates of cash inflows and outflows – are of inferior quality, it is justifiable to call this focus into question by exploring forecasting accuracy. In order to do so, the article analyzes the empirical findings on estimation error gathered in 35 studies published between 1954 and 2002. As the review shows, over-optimism seems to be a relevant problem in capital expenditure project forecasting. This calls the traditional research focus into question. More research effort targeted at the misestimation bias in capital budgeting and at ways to improve forecasting accuracy seems necessary.
    Keywords: Capital budgeting, Capital Expenditures, Estimation Accuracy, Forecasting, Post-Audit.
    JEL: G
    Date: 2005–04–30
  10. By: Stan Liebowitz (University of Texas at Dallas)
    Abstract: Although it was once considered inevitable that unauthorized copying would harm copyright owners, it is now understood that this is not necessarily the case. The concept of indirect appropriability played an important role in shaping this newer understanding. In recent years, however, many economists seem to have taken the message from this new understanding too far, seeing gains to the copyright owners from unauthorized copying in every nook and cranny of the economy, when in reality the instances of such gains are likely to be rather limited. The current literature on this subject, which consists mainly of theoretical models, seems to be badly out of kilter. In this paper I attempt to explain some of the problems and try to provide the outlines of what I believe to be a more balanced and nuanced view of copying. It emphasizes the importance of examining various institutional and behavioral details of individual markets, which are often overlooked by researchers.
    Keywords: copyright, indirect appropriability, copying, mp3, downloads
    JEL: K
    Date: 2005–05–03
  11. By: Andrew F. Daughety (Department of Economics and Law School, Vanderbilt University); Jennifer F. Reinganum (Department of Economics and Law School, Vanderbilt University)
    Abstract: We briefly review two basic models of settlement bargaining based on concepts from information economics and game theory. We then discuss how these models have been generalized to address issues that arise when there are more than two litigants with related cases. Linkages between cases can arise due to exogenous factors such as correlated culpability or damages, or they can be generated by discretionary choices on the part of the litigants themselves or by legal doctrine and rules of procedure.
    Keywords: Multiple litigants, externalities, asymmetric information
    JEL: K41 D82 C78
    Date: 2005–04

This nep-hpe issue is ©2005 by Andy Denis. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.