nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2006‒07‒15
eight papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. The Spectre of Deflation: A Review of Empirical Evidence By Gregor W. Smith
  2. Contributions of Zvi Griliches By James J. Heckman
  3. Den prækeynesianske Malthus By Finn Olesen
  4. Three Lectures on Monetary Theory and Policy: Speaking Notes and Background Papers By David Laidler
  5. Wicksell at the Bank of Canada By Kevin Clinton
  6. "Dissent and Discipline in Ben Gurion's Labor Party: 1930-32" By Joel Perlmann
  7. On Research in Action and Action in Research By Bodil Stilling Blichfeldt; Jesper Rank Andersen
  8. Do we need a new 'Great Transformation'? Is one likely? By Frances Stewart (QEH)

  1. By: Gregor W. Smith (Queen's University)
    Abstract: What explains the widespread fear of deflation? This paper reviews the history of thought, economic history, and empirical evidence on deflation, with a view to answering this question. It also outlines informally the main effects of deflation in applied monetary models. The main finding is that -- for both historical and contemporary deflations -- there are many open, empirical questions that could be answered using the tools economists use to study inflation and monetary policy more generally.
    Keywords: deflation
    JEL: E31
    Date: 2006–07
  2. By: James J. Heckman (University of Chicago and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: In this article, I summarize Griliches’ contributions to economics and to applied econometrics.
    Keywords: social rate of return, growth, productivity improvement
    JEL: B31 D24 O33
    Date: 2006–06
  3. By: Finn Olesen (Department of Environmental and Business Economics, University of Southern Denmark)
    Abstract: Fra den økonomiske teorihistorie er Thomas Malthus kendt, berømt og måske også berygtet for sin pessimistiske befolkningslære. Udover med dette teori-element at levere argumentationen hos de klassiske økonomer for, at arbejds-kraften i normale situationer nødvendigvis må blive aflønnet på et eksistensmi-nimum, indeholder hans forfatterskab dog også elementer, der med nutidige øj-ne ser helt moderne ud. I nærværende papir belyses det potentielle prækeyne-sianske element hos Malthus. Således synes det sandsynligt, at han ikke alene anerkendte, at økonomien kunne være i en generel uligevægtssituation, måske forudså han også opsparingsparadokset, ligesom han tilsyneladende gav argu-menter, der kunne støtte en konjunkturstimulerende offentlig investeringspolitik i hvert tilfælde i en helt ekstrem situation, som den, der indtraf i England efter Napoleonskrigenes afslutning.
    Date: 2004–12
  4. By: David Laidler
    Abstract: In order to promote the exchange of ideas and to support its own research capacity, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank regularly invites internationally renowned economists for short guest professorships. This year, from June 12 -14 2006, David Laidler gave three public lectures on topics related to monetary theory and monetary policy. The first lecture was on “Monetary Policy and the Austrians”, the second on “The Rise and Fall of Monetarism” and the third has dealt with the question “Is there a Role for Money in Monetary Policy in the 21st Century?”. The lectures were based on three background papers, which are contained in this OeNB Working Paper that also includes the lecture notes that were prepared for the lecture series.
    Date: 2006–06–19
  5. By: Kevin Clinton (Queen's University)
    Abstract: Wicksell, writing around the start of the 20th century, outlined an approach to monetary policy strikingly similar to the modern approach, of which the Bank of Canada has been a pioneer. Its features include: the overriding objective of price stability (or low inflation); an interest rate instrument controlled by the rates on settlement balances at the central bank; and a policy rule under which the instrument varies in response to deviations from the objective. Wicksell’s natural rate of interest has resurfaced as the neutral rate in mainstream macroeconomic models; and his description of the inflation process has parallels in the modern Phillips curve. Moreover, in a mandate for price stability, one can find a logical basis for the independence and accountability of central banks. The paper tries to explain why Wicksell’s ideas fell by the wayside for a century, and describes how the Bank of Canada, by pragmatic steps in the 1990s, helped reinvent Wicksell, and install a neo-Wicksellian monetary policy.
    Keywords: Wicksell, central bank, monetary policy, Bank of Canada
    JEL: E42 E52 E58
    Date: 2006–06
  6. By: Joel Perlmann
    Abstract: This paper describes a small opposition group that functioned during 1930-33 on the left fringes of Ben Gurion's Mapai party in Palestine. Mapai dominated Jewish Palestine's politics, and later the politics of the young State of Israel; it lives on today in Israel's Labor Party. The opposition group, probably no more than a dozen active individuals at the outset, was comprised mostly of young adults, recently arrived from the Soviet Union or Poland. They put out a series of pamphlets, <em>Reshimot Sozialistiyot</em> (Socialist Notes), apparently held some public meetings and sought some minor party offices as well. These activities, and especially the pamphlets troubled Ben Gurion and the other party leaders. The leadership discussed the opposition group on 10 separate occasions at their private official meetings during 1932. They invited the opposition for an extensive clarification of views, and then insisted that the members cease functioning as an organized group. When that insistence failed to stop the publications, the leadership published a decree (written by party ideologue, B. Katznelson) expelling each of them from Mapai by name. The opposition's critique of Mapai revolved around the balance of internationalism inherent in socialism and nationalism inherent in Zionism. The party reaction showed 1) specific features of ideology that were unacceptable even to this eclectic party; 2) the leadership's concern for control and for disciplined followers; and 3) the nature of leadership discussion and behavior in regard to expulsion.
    Date: 2006–07
  7. By: Bodil Stilling Blichfeldt (Department of Environmental and Business Economics, University of Southern Denmark); Jesper Rank Andersen (Center for Industrial Production, Aalborg University)
    Abstract: A unique (and challenging) characteristic of social sciences is that these sci-ences are multi-paradigmatic and adhere to a wide range of research strategies. One research strategy that social scientists can choose to rely on is action re-search. However, action research qualifies as a research strategy much criticised for not being subject to scientific rigor. Drawing on an extensive review of the literature on action research, this paper discusses what action research is (not) and what it can (not) do for social scientists, who wish to do research of rele-vance to practitioners. Especially, this paper discusses lines of criticism that ac-tion research is subject to and further, it suggests ways in which action re-searchers may enhance quality of action research. In particular, we argue that enhancement of quality of action research is necessary if we wish for communi-ties of social scientists to acknowledge action research as a scientific endeavour as well as if we wish for such communities to rely on the findings of action re-search studies.
    Date: 2005–01
  8. By: Frances Stewart (QEH)
    Abstract: Karl Polanyi wrote 'The Great Transformation' in 1944 which analysed the double movement Europe experienced, from a situation where the market was heavily regulated and controlled in the 18th century to a virtually unregulated market in the 19th century; and the great Transformation in which the market was once more brought under control as a reaction to the poverty, unemployment and insecurity brought about by the unregulated market. Yet in both developed and developing countries there has since been a reaction with a new move towards the market. This paper analyses such processes in contemporary developing countries, and considers whether, in the light of the consequences of the unregulated market, a new 'Great Transformation' is needed. It also considers whether such a transformation is likely, reviewing moves towards increased regulation of the market, and also the constraints faced by any contemporary great transformation arising from globalisation and the nature of politics.

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