nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2005‒12‒09
ten papers chosen by
Andy Denis
City University

  1. Alternative Concepts of Utility and Applied Economics By David Colander
  2. Wirtschaftliche Entwicklung oder evolutorischer Wandel Ein integrativer Versuch zur Fundierung der evolutorischen Ökonomik By Fritz Rahmeyer
  3. Inside the Economist's Mind: The History of Modern Economic Thought, as Explained by Those Who Produced It By William Barnett; Paul A. Samuelson; E. Roy Weintraub
  4. Sound and Fury: McCloskey and Significance Testing in Economics By Kevin D. Hoover; Mark V. Siegler
  5. Why is economic geography not an evolutionary science? Towards an evolutionary economic geography Model By Ron A. Boschma; Koen Frenken
  6. Evolutionary Approaches to Legal Change By Dr. Martina Eckardt
  7. Schumpeter und das Sozialprodukt. Ein Beitrag zur Archäologie der Volkswirtschaftlichen Gesamtrechnungen in der ersten Hälfte des Zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts By Klaus Voy
  8. Keynesian Economics, Monetary Policy and the Business Cycle - New and Old By Cukierman, Alex
  9. Institutions, Institutional Change, Language, and Searle By Dolfsma, W.; McMaster, R.; Finch, J.
  10. Do Men and Women-Economists Choose the Same Research Fields? Evidence from Top-50 Departments By Juan J. Dolado; Florentino Felgueroso; Miguel Almunia

  1. By: David Colander
    Date: 2005
  2. By: Fritz Rahmeyer (University of Augsburg, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: In two survey articles on evolutionary economics Hodgson points out that currently a consensus of opinion concerning the meaning and explanation of economic evolution does not exist. But most of the authors involved agree that the common characteristic of its subject is the central importance of endogenously emerging innovation activity of privately owned enterprises, causing a structured economic and organizational change. Compared with that, there is a lively dispute regarding the question if processes of technical and economic change can be explained analogously to the basic principles of biological evolution. From an economic point of view Schumpeter and Marshall, geared to the level of a single firm, are of great importance for the development of an evolutionary theory of economic change. The path-breaking approach of Nelson and Winter, also based on the significance of innovation activities of firms, but on their behaviour as well, points the way to a micro foundation of evolutionary change and its possible applications, for instance the theory of the firm and Schumpeterian competition. So, after the exposition of Schumpeter and Marshall on discontinous and gradual economic development, a concept of economic evolution following Neo-Darwinian biological evolution is worked out in detail. In that as a result the idea of „Universal Darwinism” is the focus of interest. A population of firms instead of a single firm comes to the fore, according to population thinking in biology. In enlarging the Schumpeter-Marshall model finally an evolutionary theory of innovation activity will be elaborated.
    Keywords: Marshall, Schumpeter, biological evolution, economic evolution, innovation activity management
    JEL: B30 B52 O31
    Date: 2005–11
  3. By: William Barnett (Department of Economics, The 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 Dreze 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: B20 D00 E00
    Date: 2005–11
  4. By: Kevin D. Hoover (University of California, Davis); Mark V. Siegler (California State University, Sacramento)
    Abstract: For about twenty years, Deidre McCloskey has campaigned to convince the economics profession that it is hopelessly confused about statistical significance. She argues that many practices associated with significance testing are bad science and that most economists routinely employ these bad practices: “Though to a child they look like science, with all that really hard math, no science is being done in these and 96 percent of the best empirical economics. . .” (McCloskey 1999). McCloskey’s charges are analyzed and rejected. That statistical significance is not economic significance is a jejune and uncontroversial claim, and there is no convincing evidence that economists systematically mistake the two. Other elements of McCloskey’s analysis of statistical significance are shown to be ill-founded, and her criticisms of practices of economists are found to be based in inaccurate readings and tendentious interpretations of their work. Properly used, significance tests are a valuable tool for assessing signal strength, for assisting in model specification, and for determining causal structure.
    Keywords: statistical significance, economic significance, significance testing, regression analysis, econometric methodology, Deirdre McCloskey, Neyman-Pearson testing
    JEL: C10 C12 B41
    Date: 2005–11–29
  5. By: Ron A. Boschma; Koen Frenken
    Abstract: The paper explains the commonalities and differences between neoclassical, institutional and evolutionary approaches that have been influential in economic geography during the last couple of decades. For all three approaches, we argue that they are in agreement in some respects and in conflict in other respects. While explaining to what extent and in what ways the Evolutionary Economic Geography approach differs from the New Economic Geography and the Institutional Economic Geography, we can specify the value-added of economic geography as an evolutionary science.
    Keywords: evolutionary economic geography, new economic geography, institutional economic geography
    JEL: A12 B20 B25 R0 R1
    Date: 2005–02
  6. By: Dr. Martina Eckardt (University of Rostock)
    Abstract: Institutions matter both for long-term economic evolution as well as for more short-termed economic performance. The law is particularly important in shaping the institutional framework for economic activities. This paper gives an overview of typical evolutionary explanations of legal change, i.e. the generation and dissemination of legal innovations over time. The main actors, the key determinants, and the central mechanisms are identified. In addition to approaches which deal primarily with statutory respectively judge-made legal change, the concept of legal paradigms and path dependence, the co-evolution of law and technology and the impact of institutional competition on legal change are discussed.
    Keywords: Evolutionary Economics, Law and Economics, Judge-made Legal Change, Legis- lation, Technological Change, Path Dependence
    JEL: B52 B53 K40 P16
    Date: 2004
  7. By: Klaus Voy (University of Rostock)
    Abstract: The paper deals with the history of the term Sozialprodukt (social product) in the first half of the 20. Century. It explains the specific constellation in which the term was used in Germany instead of the international used national product (Nationalprodukt). The paper indicates that Schumpeter was the first to define the term Sozialprodukt or, at least, introduced it into the German discussion. This happened in 1911 in his Theory of Economic Development“, where he also introduced the innovative entrepreneur” for which only he is well known in Germany until today. In the nineteen twenties the term Sozialprodukt spread widely and has finally been accepted as an official term by the Statistisches Reichsamt in 1932 – although with a definition different from Schumpeter‘s.
    Date: 2004
  8. By: Cukierman, Alex
    Abstract: After a brief review of the main differences between New and Old Keynesian economics from the 1960s this paper focuses on a tension between traditional sluggish measures of potential output commonly used by policy-makers and the New Keynesian (NK) notion of this variable which conceptualizes it as the level of output that would have been produced under perfect competition had all prices and wages been flexible. The paper shows that, under monopolistic competition, NK potential output is often more volatile than the level of output produced under sticky prices and wages implying either of the following. Real life policy-makers mistakenly target smooth versions of output or (since actual economies are monopolistically rather than perfectly competitive) the flexible price and wage equilibrium does not necessarily maximize welfare. The paper shows, that depending on the shape of the utility function and of the distribution of productivity shocks either case is possible and proposes a criterion for discriminating between them.
    Keywords: Relative variability of actual and potential output under flexible versus sticky prices and wages; welfare ranking of sticky versus flexible prices and wages under monopolistic competition
    JEL: E3 E4 E5 E6
    Date: 2005–10
  9. By: Dolfsma, W.; McMaster, R.; Finch, J. (Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), RSM Erasmus University)
    Abstract: This paper endeavours to contribute to the growing institutionalist literature on the conception of the institution. We draw from John Davis? (2003) analysis of the individual in posing the questions: what differentiates institutions, and how can changing institutions be identified through time and space? Our analysis develops Searle?s (2005) argument that language is the fundamental institution. Searle?s argument is rather functionalist, however, and does not convey the ambiguity of language. Moreover, language and understanding, surely when related to most institutions in real life, delineate and circumscribe a community. A community cannot function without a common language, as Searle argued, but language also constitutes a community?s boundaries, and excludes unsavoury outsiders or alien topics for discussion. This is how institutions both constrain and enable. By drawing upon Luhmann?s (1995) systems analysis and notions of discourse, communication, and text we aim to augment the existing analytical role ascribed to habit in institutional analysis. Thus, we submit, understanding institutional change and thus durability may progress.
    Keywords: Institutions;Institutional Change;Language;Discourse Re-Indentification;
    Date: 2005–11–29
  10. By: Juan J. Dolado (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, CEPR and IZA Bonn); Florentino Felgueroso (Universidad de Oviedo and CEPR); Miguel Almunia (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
    Abstract: This paper describes the gender distribution of research fields chosen by the faculty members in the top fifty Economics departments, according to the rankings available on the website. We document that women are unevenly distributed across fields and test some behavioral implications from theories underlying such disparities. Our main findings are that the probability that a woman chooses a given field is positively related to the share of women in that field (path-dependence), and that the share of women in a field at a given department increases with the sizes of the department and field, while it decreases with their average quality. However, these patterns seem to be changing for younger female faculty members. Further, by using Ph.D. cohorts, we document how gender segregation across fields has evolved over the last four decades.
    Keywords: men and women-economists, research fields, gender segregation, path-dependence, tobit and probit models
    JEL: A11 J16 J70
    Date: 2005–11

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