nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2005‒06‒05
sixteen papers chosen by
Andy Denis
City University

  1. Sorting out the mess. A Review of Definitions of Ethical Issues in Business By Egels, Niklas
  2. Gerechtigkeit zwischen den Generationen – Globale Perspektiven. By Peter Koslowski
  3. On Growth and Development. By Enrico Colombatto
  4. Normality as a Theoretical Concept By Schlicht, Ekkehart
  5. Evolutionary Theory and Economic Policy with Reference to Sustainability By John M. Gowdy
  6. "Understanding the Economic History of Postal Services: Some Preliminary Observations from the Case of Meiji Japan" By Janet Elizabeth Hunter
  7. Organizational and Cognitive Duality of the firm with community concept By Frédéric CREPLET; Olivier DUPOUET; Francis KERN; Francis MUNIER
  8. Cumulative Causation and Evolutionary Micro-Founded Technical Change : A Growth Model with Integrated Economies By Patrick Llerena; André Lorentz
  9. Du paradoxe libéral-parétien à un concept de métaclassement des préférences. By Herrade IGERSHEIM
  10. Why do Academic Scientists Engage in Interdisciplinary Research ? By Nicolas CARAYOL; Thuc Uyen NGUYEN THI
  11. On-line distribution of working papers through NEP: A Brief Business History By Bernardo Batiz-Lazo; Thomas Krichel
  12. The Value of the Substance By Francesco Schettino
  13. Mathematical needs and economic interpretations. By Miguel A. Durán
  14. The problems of the the Co-Ordination problem. By Miguel A. Durán
  15. Introducing Procedural Utility: Not only What, but also How Matters By Bruno S. Frey; Matthias Benz; Alois Stutzer
  16. Direct Democracy: Designing a Living Constitution By Bruno S. Frey; Alois Stutzer

  1. By: Egels, Niklas (Gothenburg Research Institute)
    Abstract: Hundreds of concepts have been proposed for describing how ethical issues in business should be defined. In this paper, I review how the six most commonly used concepts have been defined. This is a contribution to the international business ethics research, since hardly any academic work has reviewed more than one or two concepts simultaneously. The results from the review show that differences as well as similarities exist between the concepts in terms of context, content and perspectives. In terms of context, I find that the empirical version of Corporate Social Performance (CSP) is the only concept consistently used in a certain context. In terms of perspective, a normative perspective is present in all six concepts and a shareholder perspective in four of the six concepts. I also find that an overwhelming majority of the conducted research is based on a normative perspective. In terms of content, the review shows that it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate Sustainable Development (SD), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Corporate Citizenship (CC) and Corporate Social Perfromance (CSP) from each other and that four of the six concepts have been vaguely defined and that all concepts have been inconsistently defined. Based on this, I conclude that the choice of perspective is more important than the choice of concept when defining ethical issues. I also conclude that lack of a consistent and coherent core definition in existing research makes it difficult to utilize the reviewed research for defining ethical issues in business, since it seems difficult to find a rationale for choosing between the different proposed definitions.
    Keywords: CSR; sustainability; corporate citizenship; corporate social performance; business ethics; stakeholder theory
    Date: 2005–05–27
  2. By: Peter Koslowski
    Abstract: Intergenerational justice arises from the fact that generations stand towards each other in a relationship of obligation. Children owe their existence to their parents, and therefore the continuation of their own existence in children of the next generation. Self interest demands the constant continuation of generations – for old age pensions and for the continuity of families. The welfare state weakens this bond of obligation by transferring old age pensions provision to the state. In this process, a welfare state illusion arises: individuals overrate systematically the value of their claims to pensions provided by the state and underrate the need to give birth to future generations at sufficient numbers. They underestimate the future burdens they will undergo due to a drop of the population numbers. The continental European countries are late in shifting their pensions to capital market funds that invest in countries with a high ratio younger generations. The countries with pay-as-you-go-sytems of old age pensions overrate the degree of freedom they have in withholding from the global capital market as the market for old age pensions and they underrate the degree to which their old age pensions will be devaluated due to the decrease of population.
    Date: 2005–04
  3. By: Enrico Colombatto
    Abstract: Contrary to the mainstream view, the paper offers a subjectivist approach to growth and an institutional view of development. In particular, the term development regards the prevailing rules of the game and their effects on the key variables for economic activity to take off: property rights and entrepreneurship. And growth is deemed to be the result of favourable institutional environments where chances are exploited and individuals succeed in improving their living conditions. From a methodological standpoint it is then argued that the common attempts to measure growth provide at best crude evaluations of the efforts to acquire purchasing power, but hardly measure well-being. From a normative perspective, the role of growth-enhancing government intervention is thus questioned. Doubts are also raised with respect to the recent and increasing literature on institutional design, which seems to ignore much of the lessons taught by the institutional schools - both old and new. And which tends to describe the past, rather than providing explanations that might help us understand the future.
    Date: 2005–04
  4. By: Schlicht, Ekkehart
    Abstract: This note comments briefly on Mehdad Vahabi's article on Alfred Marshall's concept of "Normal Value." It points out, in particular, the relationship between normality and equilibrium in the context of Marshall's moving equilibrium method.
    JEL: B41 B13
    Date: 2005–05
  5. By: John M. Gowdy (Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY 12180-3590, USA)
    Abstract: The policy recommendations of most economists are driven by a view of economic reality embodied in Walrasian general equilibrium theory. Ironically, the Walrasian system has been all but abandoned by leading economic theorists. It has been demonstrated to be theoretically untenable, its basic assumptions about human decision making have been empirically falsified, and it consistently makes poor predictions of economic behavior. The current revolution in welfare economics offers opportunities on two related fronts for an evolutionary perspective on human behavior to reshape economic theory and policy. The first opportunity is to incorporate empirically-based information about human behavior to the study of human wants and their formation. This includes information about the evolution of the genetic component of decision making as well as the cultural dimensions of behavior. Expanding the role of economic analysis beyond stylized market behavior to focus on well-being (real utility) has far-reaching consequences for microeconomic policy. Secondly, abandoning the Walrasian model also means rethinking the microfoundations approach to the economic analysis of sustainability. This opens the door for economists to engage with the growing body of research on the evolution of whole societies. One link between the evolution of human behavior and the evolution of human societies is the psychological phenomenon of considering sunk costs. Understanding and overcoming the sunk cost fallacy may be the key to creating a sustainable society.
    Date: 2005–05
  6. By: Janet Elizabeth Hunter (Economic History Department, London School of Economics and Political Science)
    Abstract: This object of this paper is to raise some methodological issues relating to the economic history of postal services, an area relatively neglected by Western economic historians, and to use Japan in the second half of the 19th century as a case study for exploring some of these issues. The first half of the paper surveys the previous historical literature on 19th century postal systems, and then considers several key analytical issues, in particular the fact that postal systems were government monopolies, the nature of postal systems as technologies, and the significance of the improved information flow that these systems offered to an industrializing economy. The second half of the paper looks at the economic significance of the Meiji governments's postal regulatory framework, the use that was made of these provisions, and how this use changed over time. The analysis focuses in particular on the issue of demand for and supply of postal services, and suggests that in most cases the increasing use made of the service was supply-led. The conclusion puts Japan's postal usage in this period in comparative perspective, and suggests possibilities for future research.
    Date: 2005–05
  7. By: Frédéric CREPLET; Olivier DUPOUET; Francis KERN; Francis MUNIER
    Abstract: On the basis of the recent concepts of epistemic communities and communities of practice, we show that the firm can be defined according to a form of double duality: cognitive and organisational. The interest of this approach is to put ahead the differentiated behavior from the manager and the entrepreneur inside the firm. It also puts in light the important questions concerning the organisational tensions under the vision of the knowledge-based economies.
    Keywords: Creation of knowledge - Learning process - Routines – Community of Practice – Epistemic Community – Knowledge conversion modes – Knowledge management
    JEL: L20 L21 L23 M11 M12 M13 M14
    Date: 2004
  8. By: Patrick Llerena; André Lorentz
    Abstract: We propose to develop in this paper an alternative approach to the New Growth Theory to analyse growth rate divergence among integrated economies. The model presented here considers economic growth as a disequilibrium process. It introduces in a cumulative causation framework, micro-founded process of technical change taking into account elements rooted in evolutionary and Neo-Austrian literature. We then attempt to open the ‘Kaldor-Verdoorn law black-box’ using a micro-level modelling of industrial dynamics. We use this framework to study the nature and sources of growth rate divergence, focusing on the effect of some macro-economic parameters (income elasticities) and of some technological parameters (technological opportunities and absorptive capacities). If the results remain broadly in Kaldorian lines, this framework allows for more subtle considerations of growth rate divergence.
    Date: 2004
  9. By: Herrade IGERSHEIM
    Abstract: Notre contribution défend la thèse selon laquelle le paradoxe libéralparétien, formulé en 1970 par Sen, plaide en faveur de l’élaboration d’un nouveau formalisme en termes de métaclassement des préférences. Il s’agit d’enrichir la structure de préférences traditionnelle par la prise en considération des motivations individuelles comme vise à le prouver l’analyse des tentatives de résolution du conflit Pareto-liberté que nous opérons tout d’abord. Puis, après avoir montré que le fait de tenir compte des motivations individuelles justifie un recours au concept de métaclassement des préférences, nous suggérons une solution au paradoxe libéral-parétien intégrant cette notion.
    Keywords: Iparadoxe libéral-parétien, choix collectif, métaclassement des préférences.
    JEL: D63 D71
    Date: 2004
  10. By: Nicolas CARAYOL; Thuc Uyen NGUYEN THI
    Abstract: This article provides a first empirical study of the determinants of the propensity to which academic scholars tend to perform interdisciplinarity research. For that purpose we introduce a measure of interdisciplinarity as the diversity of their research production across scientific domains. Our dataset concerns more than nine hundred permanent researchers employed by a large French university which is ranked first among French universities in terms of Impact. As expected we find that the traditional academic career incentives do not stimulate interdisciplinary research while having connections with industry does. The context of work in the laboratory (size, colleagues’ status, age and affiliations) strongly affects the propensity to undertake interdisciplinary research.
    Keywords: Economics of science, Academic incentives, Interdisciplinary research, Laboratory, University.
    JEL: L31 O31 O32 O34 O38
    Date: 2004
  11. By: Bernardo Batiz-Lazo (Bristol Business School); Thomas Krichel (Long Island University)
    Abstract: This brief article tells of the emergence and development of a service for speedy, on-line distribution of recent additions to the broad literatures on economics and related areas called NEP: New Economics Papers. This service is part of a wider project called RePEc. RePEc is a digital library for the Economics discipline. Details are also provided on how to make individual and institutional contributions.
    Keywords: NEP, current awareness service, RePEc, WoPEc
    JEL: N
    Date: 2005–05–30
  12. By: Francesco Schettino (Department of Public Economics, University of Rome I, 'La Sapienza')
    Abstract: The aim of the paper is to find the reason of the commodoties exchange. That is why our analysis inquires on the substance of the commodities value as Marx did on ``The Capital'' first pages using the dialectic method. Our different approach is analytic although we apply the fundamentals of the hegelian method. We use the concept of the labour centrality in the social production as an axiom, and we consider it as the natural starting point of the investigation. The historical materialism gives us the way to observe the conceptual dominion of the (exchange) value on the use value and then we are able to analyze its substance, our primary aim. Using the hegelian categories of quality and quantity we obtain that the only common quality of any commodity is the labour that, conseqently, is the substance of the value. This element, in fact, is basical to measure and, then, to compare any commodity. We conclude deriving that any study on the so called trasformation problem of Marx is unconsistent without a necessary deep analysis of the substance of the value.
    Keywords: Value theory, Marx, Hegelian approach
    JEL: B
    Date: 2005–05–31
  13. By: Miguel A. Durán (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada)
    Abstract: This paper aims at showing that the disconnection between formal structures and theoretical content in economic model building could lead to undesirable consequences. In this sense, linking formal and verbal contents by means of coherent and relevant interpretations is worth the effort. For it is a relatively simple way of helping to improve the usefulness of mathematical economic theorization. By way of illustration of these ideas, the paper discusses the interpretation which Arrow and Debreu themselves put on the inclusion of free goods in their proof of existence of a general equilibrium.
    Keywords: Economic Methodology, Existence, General Equilibrium Theory, Interpretation, Mathematical Economics.
    Date: 2005–06–01
  14. By: Miguel A. Durán (Department of Economic Theory and Economic History, University of Granada)
    Abstract: This paper is focused on the Hayekian understanding of the operation of the market as the continuous solution of a co-ordination problem in a decentralised decision-making system. The aim is to show the reasons why the solution of this problem is imperfect. These reasons lie, on the one hand, in deficiencies in the mechanisms to which Hayek ascribes the task of solving the co-ordination problem and, on the other hand, in the implications of the Keynesian view on expectations and the workings of the market process. In this regard, the problem of co-ordination in a Hayekian world would have different implications if Keynes’s theory were taken into consideration and the possibility of mistakes in an uncertain world were not underestimated.
    Date: 2005–06–01
  15. By: Bruno S. Frey; Matthias Benz; Alois Stutzer
    Abstract: People not only care about outcomes, they also value the procedures which lead to the outcomes. Procedural utility is a potentially important source of human well-being. This paper aims at introducing the concept of procedural utility into economics, and argues that it should be incorporated more widely into economic theory and empirical research. Three building blocks of a concept of procedural utility are outlined and it is suggested how procedural utility can be fruitfully integrated. Evidence from a broad range of social sciences is reviewed in order to show that procedural utility is a relevant concept for economics.
    Keywords: procedural utility; outcome utility; institutions.
    JEL: A00 A12 D60 D70
    Date: 2003–07
  16. By: Bruno S. Frey; Alois Stutzer
    Abstract: A crucial aspect of constitutional design is the provision of rules on how a constitution is to be amended. If procedures for constitutional amendment are very restrictive, changes will take place outside the constitution. These changes are likely to be against the citizens’ interests and their ability to influence the political process. We argue that the development of the constitution must be based on the rule of law. We propose direct democratic rights that allow citizens to participate in the amendment process. The direct democratic process of institutional change is theoretically and empirically analyzed. A number of counter arguments and issues for a gradual introduction are discussed.
    Keywords: collective decision-making; constitutional design; constitutional economics; direct democracy
    JEL: D72 H1 H7
    Date: 2003–09

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