nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2005‒06‒27
eleven papers chosen by
Andy Denis
City University

  1. 05-05 "Teaching Ecological and Feminist Economics in the Principles Course" By Neva Goodwin and Julie A. Nelson
  2. Natural Concepts in Macroeconomics By Ray C. Fair
  3. Economics: the next physical science? By J. Doyne Farmer; Martin Shubik; Eric Smith
  4. Creative Thinking and Modelling for the Decision Support in Water Management By Anna Lasut
  5. Cognitive maps in spatial economics: A multidisciplinary approach By Nathalie GAUSSIER (IERSO, IFReDE-GRES); Philippe LAROQUE ETIS neurocybernetics team (UMR CNRS 8051); Nicolas CUPERLIER ETIS neurocybernetics team (UMR CNRS 8051); Mathias QUOY ETIS neurocybernetics team (UMR CNRS 8051); Sorin MOGA ENST Brest; Philippe GAUSSIER ETIS neurocybernetics team (UMR CNRS 8051)
  6. History of consumer demand theory 1871-1971: A Neo-Kantian rational reconstruction By Ivan Moscati
  7. Early Experiments in Consumer Demand Theory: 1930-1970 By Ivan Moscati
  8. W.E. Johnson’s 1913 Paper and the Question of His Knowledge of Pareto By Ivan Moscati
  9. On the equivalence of the Arrow impossibility theorem and the Brouwer fixed point theorem (forthcoming in ``Applied Mathematics and Computation''(Elsevier)) By Yasuhito Tanaka
  10. Externalities of social capital : the role of values, norms and networks By Butter, Frank A.G. den; Mosch, Robert H.J.
  11. The Evolution of Our Preferences: Evidence from Capuchin-Monkey Trading Behavior By M. Keith Chen; Venkat Lakshminarayanan; Laurie Santos

  1. By: Neva Goodwin and Julie A. Nelson
    Abstract: It can be difficult to incorporate ecological and feminist concerns into introductory courses based on neoclassical analysis. We have faced these issues head-on as we have worked on writing introductory economics textbooks, Microeconomics in Context (Goodwin, Nelson, Ackerman and Weisskopf, 2005) and Macroeconomics in Context (in progress). In this essay, we will describe how we have modified the introductory curriculum to encompass these perspectives.
  2. By: Ray C. Fair (Cowles Foundation, Yale University)
    Abstract: Ragnar Frisch proposed in 1936 a procedure for estimating natural variable values by modifying what are now called structural macroeconometric models. This paper shows that Frisch’s procedure can be used to illuminate natural concepts using today’s models. The procedure also forces one to be precise regarding the assumptions used in moving from a short-run model to a medium-run or long-run model.
    Keywords: Natural concepts, Equilibrium
    JEL: E00
    Date: 2005–06
  3. By: J. Doyne Farmer; Martin Shubik (Cowles Foundation, Yale University); Eric Smith
    Abstract: We review an emerging body of work by physicists addressing questions of economic organization and function. We suggest that, beyond simply employing models familiar from physics to economic observables, remarkable regularities in economic data may suggest parts of social order that can usefully be incorporated into, and in turn can broaden, the conceptual structure of physics.
    Keywords: Economic theory, Physics, Econo-physics
    JEL: B49 C00 G00
    Date: 2005–06
  4. By: Anna Lasut (University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: This paper reviews the state of art in knowledge and preferences elicitation techniques. The purpose of the study was to evaluate various cognitive mapping techniques in order to conclude with the identification of the optimal technique for the NetSyMod methodology. Network Analysis – Creative System Modelling (NetSyMod) methodology has been designed for the improvement of decision support systems (DSS) with respect to the environmental problems. In the paper the difference is made between experts and stakeholders knowledge and preference elicitation methods. The suggested technique is very similar to the Nominal Group Techniques (NGT) with the external representation of the analysed problem by means of the Hodgson Hexagons. The evolving methodology is undergoing tests within several EU-funded projects such as: ITAES, IISIM, NostrumDSS.
    Keywords: Creative modelling, Cognitive mapping, Preference elicitation techniques, Decision support
    JEL: D70 D78 O21 Q0
    Date: 2005–06
  5. By: Nathalie GAUSSIER (IERSO, IFReDE-GRES); Philippe LAROQUE ETIS neurocybernetics team (UMR CNRS 8051); Nicolas CUPERLIER ETIS neurocybernetics team (UMR CNRS 8051); Mathias QUOY ETIS neurocybernetics team (UMR CNRS 8051); Sorin MOGA ENST Brest; Philippe GAUSSIER ETIS neurocybernetics team (UMR CNRS 8051)
    Abstract: If mental maps are a well-known subject in spatial analysis, they suffer from the difficulties to make them an operational concept. Nowadays, the development of cognitive science opens up new perspectives. Thanks to an association of spatial economists, roboticists and computer scientists in the context of a CNRS project “Geomatics, Space, Territories and Mobilities”, we show that it is possible to simulate cognitive maps that fit both with non-metric and situated properties. The paper works on a common assumption that space is central to understand individual strategies. It puts forward the idea that spatial visual information is central to spatial situated action. As a consequence, cognitive maps are built with endogenous preferences and exhibit interesting characteristics to better comprehend situated rationality. As an example, we show that a cognitive agent that means agent with a cognitive map, is able to solve spatial compromise without optimising any a priori known resources on a geographic map.
    Keywords: Cognitive maps; neural networks; learning; economics issues; multidisciplinary system
    JEL: D00 R10
    Date: 2005
  6. By: Ivan Moscati (Bocconi University - IEP)
    Abstract: This paper examines the history of the neoclassical theory of consumer demand from 1871 to 1971 by bringing into play the knowledge theory of the Marburg School, a Neo-Kantian philosophical movement. The work aims to show the usefulness of a Marburg-inspired epistemology in rationalizing the development of consumer analysis and, more generally, to understand the principles that regulate the process of knowing in neoclassical economics.
    Keywords: Consumer Theory, Demand Theory, Utility Theory, Neo- Kantianism, Marburg School
    JEL: B13 B21 B40 D11
    Date: 2005–06–16
  7. By: Ivan Moscati (Bocconi University - IEP)
    Abstract: This paper reconstructs the history of experimental research on consumer demand behavior between 1930 and 1970. The backgrounds of the experiments and their impact on the development of consumption theory are also investigated. Among other things, the paper shows that in fact many prominent economists of the period were involved in this stream of research.
    JEL: B21 B31 C91 D12
    Date: 2005–06–16
  8. By: Ivan Moscati (Bocconi University - IEP)
    Abstract: In 1913, the Cambridge logician W.E. Johnson published a famous article on demand theory in the Economic Journal. Although Johnson’s treatment of the subject strongly resembles the analysis set forth by Pareto in the Manual of Political Economy, Johnson does not cite the Italian economist. This has aroused a long-standing debate about Johnson’s actual acquaintance with Pareto’s works, but the debated point has never been thoroughly investigated. The present paper addresses the question of Johnson’s knowledgeof Pareto both from an analytical and historical viewpoint, by examining Johnson’s life in the Cambridge environment and his available unpublished papers. Even though the new evidence gathered gives some weight to the thesis that Johnson could not have been unaware of Pareto’s Manual, it cannot exclude the possibility that the logician wrote his paper autonomously.
    Keywords: Johnson, Pareto, Cambridge School, Consumer Theory, Complementarity
    JEL: B31 B13 B21
    Date: 2005–06–16
  9. By: Yasuhito Tanaka (Doshisha University)
    Abstract: We will show that in the case where there are two individuals and three alternatives (or under the assumption of free-triple property) the Arrow impossibility theorem for social welfare functions that there exists no social welfare function which satisfies transitivity, Pareto principle, independence of irrelevant alternatives, and has no dictator is equivalent to the Brouwer fixed point theorem on a 2-dimensional ball (circle).
    JEL: D6 D7 H
    Date: 2005–06–16
  10. By: Butter, Frank A.G. den (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Econometrie (Free University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics Sciences, Business Administration and Economitrics); Mosch, Robert H.J.
    Abstract: The economic perspective on values and norms shows that they may bring about externalities for the society as a whole. This possibility of market failure provides a good reason for the government to follow closely the developments in values and norms, and the resulting behaviour in communities and networks. It justifies the initiative of Prime Minister Balkenende to organise the debate on these matters in the Netherlands (and, under the Dutch EU-presidency, in Europe). Networks can be associated both with positive (Putnam type) and with negative (Olson type) externalities. This paper discusses the various influences of values, norms and networks on socio-economic welfare and provides empirical evidence on these relationships. The focus of our own empirical analysis is on the Netherlands. Trust as part of social capital, and the role that values, norms and networks play as co-ordination mechanism, form important aspects both in the theoretical and in the empirical analysis. It appears that there has been no obvious decrease in these aspects of social capital in the Netherlands. It contrasts the findings of Putnam for the US.
    Keywords: social capital; values and norms; trust; networks; market failure
    JEL: D62 D70 H19
    Date: 2004
  11. By: M. Keith Chen (School of Management, Yale University); Venkat Lakshminarayanan; Laurie Santos
    Abstract: Behavioral economics has demonstrated systematic decision-making biases in both lab and field data. But are these biases learned or innate? We investigate this question using experiments on a novel set of subjects — capuchin monkeys. By introducing a fiat currency and trade to a capuchin colony, we are able to recover their preferences over a wide range of goods and risky choices. We show that standard price theory does a remarkably good job of describing capuchin purchasing behavior; capuchin monkeys react rationally to both price and wealth shocks. However, when capuchins are faced with more complex choices including risky gambles, they display many of the hallmark biases of human behavior, including reference-dependent choices and loss-aversion. Given that capuchins demonstrate little to no social learning and lack experience with abstract gambles, these results suggest that certain biases such as loss-aversion are an innate function of how our brains code experiences, rather than learned behavior or the result of misapplied heuristics.
    Keywords: Prospect theory, Loss aversion, Reference dependence, Evolution, Neuroeconomics, Capuchin monkeys, Monkey business
    JEL: C91 C99 D12 D46 D80 D81
    Date: 2005–06

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