nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2006‒01‒29
five papers chosen by
Andy Denis
City University

  1. A Characterization of Single-Peaked Preferences By Miguel Angel Ballester; Guillaume Haeringer
  2. Does Bilateralism Promote Trade? Nineteenth Century Liberalization Revisited By Accominotti, Olivier; Flandreau, Marc
  3. The German industrial Census of 1936, statistics as preparation for the war By Fremdling, Rainer
  4. Searching for the accounting features of capitalism: an illustration with the economic transition process in China By Chiapello, Eve; Ding, Yuan
  5. What Happiness Research Can Tell Us About Self-Control Problems And Utility Misprediction By Alois Stutzer; Bruno S. Frey

  1. By: Miguel Angel Ballester; Guillaume Haeringer
    Abstract: We identify in this paper two conditions that characterize the domain of single-peaked preferences on the line in the following sense: a preference profile satisfies these two properties if and only if there exists a linear order $L$ over the set of alternatives such that these preferences are single-peaked with respect L. The first property states that for any subset of alternatives the set of alternatives considered as the worst by all agents cannot contains more than 2 elements. The second property states that two agents cannot disagree on the relative ranking of two alternatives with respect to a third alternative but agree on the (relative) ranking of a fourth one.
    Keywords: Single-peaked preferences, linear order.
    JEL: D71 C78
    Date: 2006–01–25
  2. By: Accominotti, Olivier; Flandreau, Marc
    Abstract: Textbook accounts of the Anglo-French trade agreement of 1860 argue that it heralded the beginning of a liberal trading order. This alleged success has much interest from a policy point of view: unlike modern GATT/WTO multilateral agreements, it rested on bilateral negotiations. But, in reality, how great were its effects? With the help of new data on international trade we provide empirical evidence. We find that the Anglo-French treaty and subsequent network of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) trade agreements coincided with the end of a period of unilateral liberalization across the world, and that it did not contribute to expand trade at all. This is contrary to a deeply rooted belief among economists and economic historians. We conclude that, contrary to a popular wisdom, bilateralism did not promote trade in the 19th century.
    Keywords: Anglo-French treaty; bilateralism; liberalization; MFN; multilateralism; trade policy
    JEL: F31 N32
    Date: 2006–01
  3. By: Fremdling, Rainer (Groningen University)
    Abstract: In 1936, the Imperial Statistical Office of Germany carried out an industrial census using the concept of net-production or value-added. In 1939, these statistics were published with strategic sectors such as aircraft industry being hidden. Originally, this census and its forerunner of 1933 had been designed to compile an input-output-table for Germany as a basis for managing the business cycle. Finally, these date were used for constructing detailed material balance sheets, which served as a statistical basis for preparing the war.
    Date: 2005
  4. By: Chiapello, Eve; Ding, Yuan
    Abstract: In this paper, the authors show that capitalism and double-entry bookkeeping are not indissociably interconnected as Sombart argued in his book in 1916. Indeed, the double-entry bookkeeping accounting system was also adopted by anti-capitalist countries where a new economic system was set up. A study of how accounting has changed with the economic transition in China helps us identify those "accounting features" required for a capitalist economy that clearly differ from those needed for the planned and centralized economy.
    Keywords: capitalism; communism; accounting; China; reform; transitional economy
    JEL: B24 M41 P16
    Date: 2005–01–01
  5. By: Alois Stutzer; Bruno S. Frey
    Abstract: Neoclassical economic theory rules out systematic errors in consumption choice. According to the basic view, individuals know what they choose. They are able to predict how much utility an activity or a good produces for them now and in the future and they can maximize their utility. This implies that behavior reveals consistent preferences. This approach makes it impossible to detect and understand sub-optimal consumption decisions, due to problems of self-control and the misprediction of utility. We propose the economics of happiness as a methodological approach to study these phenomena. Based on proxy measures for experienced utility, it is, in principle, possible to directly address whether some observed behavior is sub-optimal and is therefore reducing a person’s well-being. We discuss recent evidence on smoking and eating habits, TV viewing and commuting choice.
    Keywords: adaptation, individual decision-making, revealed preference, self-control, subjective well-being, utility misprediction
    JEL: D00 D11 D12 D84 D91 I12 I31
    Date: 2006–01

This nep-hpe issue is ©2006 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.