nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2005‒11‒19
seventeen papers chosen by
Andy Denis
City University

  1. Institutional Economics at the Micro Level? What Transaction Costs Theory Could Listen From Original Institutionalism (In the Spirit of Building Bridges) By Huascar Pessali; Ramon Fernandez
  2. Inside the Economist's Mind: The History of Modern Economic Thought, as Explained by Those Who Produced It By William A. Barnett; Paul A. Samuelson; E. Roy Weintraub
  3. Teoria dos custos de transacao e abordagens evolucionistas: analise e perspectivas de um programa de pesquisa pluralista By Pessali Huascar; Fernandez Ramon
  4. Empresarialidad e instituciones: dos nuevas perspectivas del analisis regional contemporáneo By Viego Valentina
  5. Accounting as Applied Ethics: Teaching a Discipline By Dolfsma, W.
  6. Economics as Vocation: Lessons for the Church in the 21st Century By Francis M. McLaughlin
  7. Agent-Based Computational Laboratories for the Experimental Study of Complex Economic Systems By Leigh Tesfatsion
  8. Linking Strategic Interaction and Bargaining Theory. The Harsanyi - Schelling Debate on the Axiom of Symmetry By Alessandro Innocenti
  9. Teaching to do economics with the computer By Kurt Schmidheiny; Harris Dellas
  11. Studying time in organizational behavior By Roe,Robert A.
  12. An Economics-based Energy Account for Classical Mechanics By Professor John M. Hartwick
  13. Formalization of ethics : the issue of standardization. By Juliette Arnal
  14. Cantillon, Quesnay, and the Tableau Economique. By Anthony Brewer
  15. The Case for Mindless Economics By Faruk Gul; Wolfgang Pesendorfer
  16. SOCIODYNAMICA: An agent based computer simulation studying the interacting web of biological, social and economic behaviors By Klaus Jaffe
  17. Marx, organisation et exploitation du travail. By Bruno Tinel

  1. By: Huascar Pessali (Universidade Federal do Parana); Ramon Fernandez (Universidade Federal do Parana)
    Abstract: Inertia in academia sometimes obstructs the development of important insights. That is one reason for the specially long gap separating Coase's seminal paper [1937] that laid the foundations of current Transaction Cost Economics (TCE) and the efforts of scholars to develop his ideas. But as TCE evolved and merged with the name of Oliver Williamson, it has absorbed a tension 'between an intuitive commitment to realism...and his commitment to some core presumptions of mainstream economics' [Hodgson 1998]. Most TCE scholars seem to rely on the latter commitment, and this could mean losing a chance of enriching economics in its methodological and theoretical foundations. This paper regroups and comments criticisms from 'Original' Institutional Economics (OIE) to TCE in the spirit of building bridges on: i) discrepancies among TCE’s and Commons’ concepts of transaction; ii) TCE’s use of efficiency as a status quo rationalization; iii) the static analysis that ignores institutional feed-backs; iv) the assumption of opportunism; and v) the incompatibility of bounded rationality and optimizing behavior.
    Keywords: Transaction cost economics, institutional economics, Oliver Williamson, new institutional economics, institutionalism, transaction costs, theories of the firm, economic organisation
    JEL: L
    Date: 2005–11–14
  2. By: William A. Barnett (University of Kansas); Paul A. Samuelson (MIT); E. Roy Weintraub (Duke University)
    Abstract: This is the front matter from a book of interviews to be published by Blackwell. The book is coedited by W. A. Barnett and P. A. Samuelson. The front matter includes the Table of Contents, Coeditor Preface by W. A. Barnett, Coeditor Foreword by Paul A. Samuelson, and History of Thought Introduction by E. Roy Weintraub. The front matter highlights some of the more startling and controversial statements contained in the interviews and puts the interviews into context relative to the history of modern economic thought. The interviews reprinted in this book include: (1) Wassily Leontief interviewed by Duncan Foley. (2) David Cass interviewed jointly by Steven Spear and Randall Wright. (3) Robert E. Lucas interviewed by Bennett T. McCallum. (4) Janos Kornai interviewed by Olivier Blanchard. (5) Franco Modigliani interviewed by William Barnett and Robert Solow. (6) Milton Friedman interviewed by John Taylor. (7) Paul A. Samuelson interviewed by William A. Barnett. (8) Paul Volcker interviewed by Perry Mehrling. (9) Martin Feldstein interviewed by James Poterba. (10) Christopher Sims interviewed by Lars Peter Hansen. (11) Robert Shiller interviewed by John Campbell. (12) Stanley Fischer interviewed by Olivier Blanchard. (13) Jacques Drèze interviewed by Pierre Dehez and Omar Licandro. (14) Tom Sargent interviewed by George Evans and Seppo Honkapohja. (15) Robert Aumann interviewed by Sergiu Hart. (16) James Tobin and Robert Shiller interviewed by David Colander.
    Keywords: history of economic thought, Samuelson, macroeconomics, microeconomics, policy, interviews
    JEL: B
    Date: 2005–11–17
  3. By: Pessali Huascar (Universidade Federal do Parana); Fernandez Ramon (Universidade Federal do Parana)
    Abstract: Transaction Costs Theory has been considered the 'new orthodoxy' in the theory of the firm, being this the very same reason for wide criticism by different schools of economic thought. However, there seems to be signs of complementarity between TCT and evolutionary approaches to the firm. Some alleged interfaces are discussed here in order to suggest new directions for a pluralistic research agenda on the theory of the firm.
    Keywords: Transaction cost economics, theory of the firm, transaction costs, new institutional economics, evolutionary economics
    JEL: L
    Date: 2005–11–13
  4. By: Viego Valentina (UNSUR)
    Abstract: This paper offers a review of the main progress made in entrepreneurship analysis and institutional economics, discussing its possible integration to general theory of economic development, considering the increasing importance that these topics have gained in contemporary approaches of terriorial development.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship, institutions, local economic development
    JEL: R
    Date: 2005–11–15
  5. By: Dolfsma, W. (Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), RSM Erasmus University)
    Abstract: In this article it is argued that there are notable parallels between all of the different strands within ethics on the one hand, and accountancy on the other that, in teaching, can be drawn upon to enhance students? understanding of the latter. Accountancy, part of economics, draws on utilitarian ethics, but not solely so. Accounting, in addition, draws on deontological and communitarian strands in ethics. The article suggests that the teaching of accounting ? especially to non-economists ? would benefit substantially from highlighting and developing these parallels.
    Keywords: Accounting;Ethics;Teaching Accounting;Utilitarianism;Deontology;Communitarian Ethics;
    Date: 2005–11–04
  6. By: Francis M. McLaughlin (Boston College)
    Keywords: Economics, vocation, church
    JEL: A1
    Date: 2005–11–09
  7. By: Leigh Tesfatsion (Economics Iowa State University)
    Abstract: Computational laboratories (CLs) are computational frameworks that facilitate the study of complex system behaviors by means of controlled and replicable experiments. CLs permit students to engage in open-ended creative research, to explore interesting questions of their own devising for which answers are not known in advance. Students can tweak key parameters and get immediate run-time feedback of results through tables, charts, and other forms of graphical visualization with no original programming required. Moreover, students with programming backgrounds can modify and extend CL features to adapt them more closely to their desired applications. This talk will discuss the development of CLs as computer-based instructional materials for an agent-based computational economics (ACE) course, Econ 308, offered each Spring as part of the undergraduate economics curriculum at Iowa State University. ACE is the computational study of economies modeled as dynamic systems of interacting agents. Topics covered in this ACE course include: the complexity of decentralized market economies; learning and the embodied mind; network economics; and the experimental study of specific types of market processes (labor, financial, electricity, and general auction markets). CLs have been successfully used in this ACE course for take-home exercises, for in-class exercises, and as the basis for student course projects. REFERENCES: On-Line Syllabus for ACE Course (Econ 308): L. Tesfatsion, "Computational Laboratories for the Experimental Exploration of Complex System Behaviors: Phase II," Preliminary Project Report for LASCAS Grant, October 2004, available at lRep2.pdf
    Keywords: Computational laboratory; Agent-based; Complex economic systems; Computer-aided instruction
    JEL: A20 B4 C6
    Date: 2005–11–11
  8. By: Alessandro Innocenti
    Abstract: This paper analyses the early contributions of John Harsanyi and Thomas C. Schelling to bargaining theory. In his work, Harsanyi (1956) draws Nash’s solution to two-person cooperative games from the bargaining model proposed by Zeuthen (1930). Whereas Schelling (1960) proposes a multi-faceted theory of conflict that, without dismissing the assumption of rational behaviour, points out some of its paradoxical consequences. Harsanyi and Schelling’s contrasting views on the axiom of symmetry, as postulated by Nash (1950), are then presented. The analysis of this debate illustrates that, although in the early 1960s two different approaches to link strategic interaction and bargaining theory were proposed, only Harsanyi’s insights were fully developed later. Lastly, the causes of this evolution are assessed.
    Keywords: bargaining, game theory, symmetry
    JEL: B21 B41 C78
    Date: 2005–11
  9. By: Kurt Schmidheiny; Harris Dellas (Department of Economics Tufts University)
    Abstract: This paper presents the course "Doing Economics with the Computer" we taught since 1999 at the University of Bern, Switzerland. "Doing Economics with the Computer" is a course we designed to introduce sophomores playfully and painlessly into computational economics. Computational methods are usually used in economics to analyze complex problems, which are impossible (or very difficult) to solve analytically. However, our course only looks at economic models, which can (easily) be solved analytically. This approach has two advantages: First, relying on economic theory students have met in their first year, we can introduce numerical methods at an early stage. This stimulates students to use computational methods later in their academic career when they encounter difficult problems. Second, the confrontation with the analytical analysis shows convincingly both power and limits of numerical methods. Our course introduces students to three types of software: spreadsheet and simple optimizer (Excel with Solver), numerical computation (Matlab) and symbolic computation (Maple). The course consists of 10 sessions, we taught each in a 3-hour lecture. In the 1st part of each session we present the economic problem, sometimes its analytical solution and introduce the software used. The 2nd part, in the computer lab, starts the numerical implementation with step-by-step guidance. In this part, students work on exercises with clearly defined questions and precise guidance for their implementation. The 3rd part is a workshop, where students work in groups on exercises with still very clear defined questions but no help on their implementation. This part teaches students how to practically handle numerical questions in a well-defined framework. The 4th part of a session is a graded take home assignment where students are asked to answer general economic questions. This part teaches students how to translate general economic questions into a numerical task and back into an economically meaningful answer. A short debriefing in the following week is part 5 and completes each session
    JEL: A22 C63
    Date: 2005–11–11
  10. By: Stanley C. W. Salvary
    Abstract: Accounting at various times has been referred to as a communication process, a language, and a conveyor of information. Given this condition, an analysis of accounting in terms of the theories relating to those references would enable an understanding of: (1) how well the parts of accounting conform with language theory; (2) how communication theory can aid in the clarification and improvement of the accounting communication process; and (3) how relevant is information theory for the refinement of accounting information. This study is a partial analysis which presents some implications of those theories for accounting.
    Keywords: information theory, financial analysis, behavior patterns, financial statements, structure assignment algorithm, predictability, information content, entropy.
    JEL: G
    Date: 2005–11–16
  11. By: Roe,Robert A. (METEOR)
    Abstract: This article builds on the call of various authors (e.g. George & Jones, 2000; Mitchell & James,2001; Rousseau & Fried, 2001) for a better representation of time in theory-building andresearch in organizational behavior (OB). It proposes a radical temporalist approach to the study of OB which combines a new way of conceptualizing and formulating research questions with an alternative methodology for empirical research. Abandoning the static notion of ‘variable’ the focus is placed on inherently dynamic ‘temporal phenomena’. On the basis of a generic model which assumes phenomena to be temporally bounded, an analytical scheme is proposed which relates the onset, duration and dynamics of henomenon A to those of phenomenon B. In this way, nine prototypical problem types are defined, all of which center around time. A research strategy is proposed which involves three major steps, i.e. (1) temporal modeling of OB phenomena, (2) the investigation of temporal relationships, and (3) the assessment of constancy and variety over longer time periods. After discussing some general methodological issues (related to time scale, time frame, time grid, observation/recording, and measurement) a number of methods for performing these three types of research are reviewed. They include: descriptive modeling, random coefficient modeling, latent growth modeling, event history analysis, time series analysis, analysis of variance, and multiple regression analysis. Finally, limitations of theradical temporalist approach and future challenges are discussed.
    Keywords: Economics ;
    Date: 2005
  12. By: Professor John M. Hartwick
    Abstract: Simple operations transform Hamilton's equations for particle motion in classical mechanics into energy units. Then one obtains a single equation in location, location-changes, momenta and momenta-changes with the interpretation: income from capital, in units of energy, balances with current investment expenditure on location changes and momenta changes, also in units of energy. For the special case of periodic motion, the inflow-useflow sub-accounts for distinct position variables and for distinct momenta variables balance over the period of motion
    Keywords: particle dynamics, energy account
    JEL: E13 B41
    Date: 2005–11–11
  13. By: Juliette Arnal (LESSOR - UniversitŽ Rennes II et MATISSE)
    Abstract: Beyond the presupposed cleavage between economics and ethics, the institutional dimension of economic ethics is to the emphasized. The question is : how can we define collective legal rules which concern the whole society ? The other great issue of ethics formalization is then the implementation on the level of firms. The firm can use a large scope of instruments in order to formalize economic ethics. The asset of ethical standards is that they represent a specific way of coordination. They bring positive effects such as the fall of coordination cost and the reduction of uncertainty. Ethical standards can be regarded as a way to get information. They are also a way to formalize a Ç common morality È, or even an universal morality in a Kantian conception. The central issue, regarding ethical standards, remains its origin and its construction.
    Keywords: Economic ethics, ethical standards, industrial economics, industrial policy.
    JEL: L16 L59 M14 P12
    Date: 2005–11
  14. By: Anthony Brewer
    Abstract: Schumpeter argued, long ago, that Quesnay's tableau economique was based on Cantillon, but this claim has never been spelled out in detail and seems not to have been generally accepted, since many writers still write of the tableau economique as though it were Quesnay's alone. This paper examines the relation between Cantillon and Quesnay in more detail than before and argues (a) that the relation between Cantillon's analysis of circulation and Quesnay's tableau is too close to be a coincidence, but (b) that the use Quesnay put it to is quite different from its role in Cantillon's system.
    Keywords: Cantillon, Quesnay, Tableau Economique
    JEL: B11
    Date: 2005–10
  15. By: Faruk Gul; Wolfgang Pesendorfer
    Date: 2005–11–13
  16. By: Klaus Jaffe
    Abstract: Sociodynamics is an interdisciplinary attempt to study the dynamics of complex systems within the conceptual frame of subjects spanning biology, sociology, politics, history, economy and other sciences. For this purpose, the agent based computer simulation Sociodynamica has been developed to study the effect of attitudes and behaviors on aggregate wealth accumulation and other macro-economic parameters in artificial societies. The model simulates a continuous two-dimensional toroidal world through which different types of agents interact in an economically meaningful environment. The simulations test for the effect of different financial structures, such as barter, money, banks and derivatives on the ability of the virtual system to produce and accumulate wealth. Sociodynamica allows exploring the effect of heterogeneous distribution of labor, different types of organizations, variable properties of natural resources, different altruistic, emotive or rational behaviors of agents, and other features on the economic dynamic of the system. The results can be compared with known economic phenomena to test for the robustness of the assumptions used. The simulations help us in understanding and quantifying the relevance of different interactions that occur at the micro-economic level to the outcome of macroeconomic variables. Sociodynamica is proposed as an analytically useful a metaphor for a complex poly-ethic society of agents living in a free competitive market. Some concrete examples of the working of altruism, division of labor and banks on macroeconomic variables are provided. Two important results achieved so far are: 1- A precise differentiation between altruism and social investment that help clarify divergences in ongoing discussion of the subject among physicists, ecologists, game theorists, computer scientists, ethologists and economists. 2- A demonstration that optimal behavior of agents differ for different economic environments. Specifically, optimal behavior for undifferentiated hunter-gatherer economies, for agricultural societies, and for highly labor-differentiated technical societies is very different regarding optimal levels of mutual cooperation and other basic behaviors
    Keywords: agent simulation micro-macro behavior
    Date: 2005–11–11
  17. By: Bruno Tinel (MATISSE)
    Abstract: This paper sums up the Marxian analysis of the capitalist exploitation process. The double aspect of direction is emphasized. Notions of formal and real exploitation are used to show that division of labor is less the way to improve productivity than to increase the capital's share of the surplus value. Classification-JEL: B14, D20, L23, P16.
    Keywords: Exploitation, cooperation, collective worker, coordination, command, subordination, division of labor.
    Date: 2005–06

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