nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2006‒05‒27
thirteen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. Behavioral Economics Comes of Age By Wolfgang Pesendorfer
  2. From moral welfarism to technical non-welfarism : A step back to Bentham’s felicific calculus of its members By A. Baujard(CREM - CNRS)
  3. Organization, evolution, cognition and dynamic capabilities By Nooteboom,Bart
  4. The Shortage of Sheilas: Why so Few Women Economists at Macquarie? By Melanie Beresford; Andrea Chareunsy
  5. Embodied cognition, organization and innovation By Nooteboom,Bart
  6. Social capital, institutions and trust By Nooteboom,Bart
  7. Human nature in the adaptation of trust By Nooteboom,Bart
  8. Max Weber and the Origin of Human Rights: A Study on Cultural Innovation By Hans Joas
  9. The Benefit of Additional Opinions By Ilan Yaniv
  10. Forms, sources and processes of trust By Nooteboom,Bart
  11. Checkmate! Winning the Game of Communication: A Study of Conversational Principles By Kaul Asha; Pandit Anuradha
  12. The return of the guild? Network relations in historical pespective By Simon Deakin
  13. Does Democracy Foster Trust? Evidence from the German Reunification By Helmut Rainer; Thomas Siedler

  1. By: Wolfgang Pesendorfer
    Date: 2006–05–14
  2. By: A. Baujard(CREM - CNRS)
    Abstract: A focus on the information used in Bentham’s felicific calculus sheds new light on the contemporary debate in normative economics opposing non-welfarism to welfarism. As a utilitarian, Bentham is de facto welfarist on a moral sense. Unexpectedly, this study shows Bentham resorts to non-welfarist information in his calculus. Thus, technical non-welfarism is coherent with moral welfarism, and even, the former proves necessary not to betray utilitarian principles. To sustain this claim, we challenge a view opposing a “cardinal” to an “ordinal” calculus: these two calculi constitute different stages of a unique calculus; because of operational constraints, Bentham is bound to rely on proxies, hence on non-utility information.
    Keywords: Bentham, individual utility, utility calculus, utilitarianism, welfarism, non-welfarism, social welfare, technical welfarism, moral welfarism.
    JEL: B12 B31 D63
    Date: 2006
  3. By: Nooteboom,Bart (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: Using insights from 'embodied cognition' and a resulting 'cognitive theory of the firm', I aim to contribute to the further development of evolutionary theory of organizations, in the specification of organizations as 'interactors' that carry organizational competencies as 'replicators', within industries as 'populations'. Especially, I analyze how, if at all, 'dynamic capabilities' can be fitted into evolutionary theory. I propose that the prime purpose of an organization is to serve as a cognitive 'focusing device'. Here, cognition has a wide meaning, including perception, interpretation, sense making, and value judgements. I analyse how this yields organizations as cohesive wholes, and differences within and between industries. I propose the following sources of variation: replication in communication, novel combinations of existing knowledge, and a path of discovery by which exploitation leads to exploration. These yield a proposal for dynamic capabilities. I discuss in what sense, and to what extent these sources of variation are 'blind' , as postulated in evolutionary theory.
    Keywords: organization;evolution;cognition;dynamic capabilities;learning;invention
    JEL: D21 L22 O31
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Melanie Beresford (Department of Economics, Macquarie University); Andrea Chareunsy (Department of Economics, Macquarie University)
    Abstract: Only 19 per cent of academic staff in the Economics Department at Macquarie University are women, a proportion that has not improved over the last decade. We investigate the reasons for this gender imbalance, focusing particularly on why it is that few qualified women have applied for positions. Declining numbers of economics graduates is a national phenomenon, but data from Macquarie show that this is a trend that particularly affects women. We found, from our surveys of staff and students in the Department, that the relative shortage of women is primarily related to attitudes and decisions taken either prior to the commencement of university studies or due to external influences such as pressure of family commitments. Interestingly, however, a higher proportion of female than male third-year students showed an interest in pursuing an academic career. While attitudes of staff were generally found to be gender neutral, we found some evidence that staff members could do more to encourage these students.
    Keywords: Gender equity, women economists, undergraduate and postgraduate economics, economics teaching, Macquarie University
    JEL: A11 A14 A2 I21 J16
    Date: 2006–05
  5. By: Nooteboom,Bart (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: This chapter explains and employs a constructivist, interactionist theory of knowledge that has come to be known as the perspective of 'embodied cognition'. That view has roots in earlier developmental psychology, and in sociology, and more recently has received further substance from neural science. It yields a basis for a cognitive theory of the firm, with the notion of cognitive distance between people, the resulting view of organization as a cognitive focusing device, the need for external relations with other organizations to compensate for organizational myopia, and the notion of optimal cognitive distance between firms for innovation by interaction.
    Keywords: theory of the firm;organizational cognition;learning;innovation
    JEL: D21 L22 M14 O31 O32
    Date: 2006
  6. By: Nooteboom,Bart (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the relations between social capital, institutions and trust. These concepts are full of ambiguity and confusion. This paper attempts to dissolve some of the confusion, by distinguishing trust and control, and analyzing institutional and relational conditions of trust. It presents a tool for the analysis of the foundations of trust and a diagnosis of its strength and viability.
    Keywords: social capital;institutions;trust;economic systems
    JEL: D63 D64 D71 L14 P16 Z13
    Date: 2006
  7. By: Nooteboom,Bart (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: This chapter pleads for more inspiration from human nature, in agent-based modeling. As an illustration of an effort in that direction, it summarizes and discusses an agentbased model of the build-up and adaptation of trust between multiple producers and suppliers. The central question is whether, and under what conditions, trust and loyalty are viable in markets. While the model incorporates some well known behavioural phenomena from the trust literature, more extended modeling of human nature is called for. The chapter explores a line of further research on the basis of notions of mental framing and frame switching on the basis of relational signaling, derived from social psychology.
    Keywords: trust;transaction costs;buyer-supplier relationships;social psychology
    JEL: A14 D64 L14 L24 Z13
    Date: 2006
  8. By: Hans Joas
    Date: 2006–05–25
  9. By: Ilan Yaniv
    Abstract: In daily decision making, people often solicit one another's opinions in the hope of improving their own judgment. According to both theory and empirical results, integrating even a few opinions is beneficial, with the accuracy gains diminishing as the bias of the judges or the correlation between their opinions increases. Decision makers using intuitive policies for integrating others’ opinions rely on a variety of accuracy cues in weighting the opinions they receive. They tend to discount dissenters and to give greater weight to their own opinion than to other people's opinions.
    Date: 2006–05
  10. By: Nooteboom,Bart (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)
    Abstract: This chapter reviews some key points in the analysis of trust, based on Nooteboom (2002)i. The following questions are addressed. What can we have trust in? What is the relation between trust and control? What are the sources of trust? And what are its limits? By what process is trust built up and broken down? What are the psychological mechanisms involved? The chapter ends with an illustration of trust in the police.
    Keywords: trust;social psychology;mental framing;relational signaling
    JEL: D23 D64 L14 M14 Z13
    Date: 2006
  11. By: Kaul Asha; Pandit Anuradha
    Abstract: Managerial communication in organizations can well be studied by using drama as a heuristic device to gain an understanding of the complexities governing structure of communication, goals of participants and application of conversational principles. The technique of learning/understanding communication by application of conversational principles and maxims to drama/theatre was applied to dialogue in three absurd plays, namely, The Zoo Story, Endgame, and The Chairs. Analysis indicated that principles and maxims of cooperation and politeness are essential but not necessary prerequisites for communication. Violations of one, namely, politeness principle do not lead to cessation of communication. Communication continues despite violations, for fructification of a higher goal than is evident at the textual level of the dialogue. Extrapolating the findings in the context of the managerial situation, we found the context/situation to be the most significant variable in determining violation of conversational principles
    Date: 2006–05–16
  12. By: Simon Deakin
    Abstract: Prior to the industrial revolution, the predominant form of economic organization in western Europe and north America was the guild. Guilds were network forms, loose associations of independent producers, with strong local and regional identities, in which cooperation and competition were combined. The decline of the guild was brought about in large part by legal changes which privileged the emerging conjunction of the vertically integrated enterprise and mass consumer market. If present- day network forms are not be consigned to the margins of capitalism as their predecessors were, we need a set of legal concepts and techniques which can underpin and protect network relations, most importantly in the context of competition law.
    Keywords: networks, guilds, vertical integration, industrialisation, competition law.
    JEL: K21 L14 L22
    Date: 2006–03
  13. By: Helmut Rainer; Thomas Siedler
    Abstract: The level of trust inherent in a society is important for a wide range of microeconomic and macroeconomic outcomes. This paper investigates how individuals' attitudes toward social and institutional trust are shaped by the political regime in which they live. The German reunification is a unique natural experiment that allows us to conduct such a study. Using data from the German General Social Survey (ALLBUS) and from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), we obtain two sets of results. On one side, we find that, shortly after reunification, East Germans displayed a significantly less trusting attitude than West Germans. This suggests a negative effect of communism in East Germany versus democracy in West Germany on social and institutional trust. However, the experience of democracy by East Germans since reunification did not serve to increase levels of social trust significantly. In fact, we cannot reject the hypothesis that East Germans, after more than a decade of democracy, have the same levels of social distrust as shortly after the collapse of communism. In trying to understand the underlying causes, we show that the persistence of social distrust in the East can be explained by negative economic outcomes that many East Germans experienced in the post-reunification period. Our main conclusion is that democracy can foster trust in post-communist societies only when citizens' economic outcomes are right.
    Date: 2006–05–16

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