nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2006‒09‒16
seven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. L'analytique et le synthétique en économie By MONGIN, Philippe
  2. A Matter of Opinion : How Ecological and Neoclassical Environmental Economists Think about Sustainability and Economics By Lydia Illge; Reimund Schwarze
  3. The Logic of Appropriability: From Schumpeter to Arrow to Teece By Sidney Winter
  4. L'a priori et l'a posteriori en Economie By MONGIN, Philippe
  5. Nash Equilibrium as an Expression of Self-Referential Reasoning By Perea Andrés
  6. The Puzzle of Altruism Reconsidered: Biological Theories of Altruism and One-Shot Altruism By Shultziner, Doron; Dattner, Arnon
  7. Epistemic Foundations for Backward Induction: An Overview By Perea Andrés

  1. By: MONGIN, Philippe
    Abstract: This article applies to microeconomics a classic distinction of the philosophy of language, i.e., that between analytical and synthetic propositions.
    Keywords: Analytical; synthetic; Quine; Giffen goods; substitutes; Hicks; consumer theory
    JEL: B21 B22 B41 D11
    Date: 2006–06–01
  2. By: Lydia Illge; Reimund Schwarze
    Abstract: The differing paradigms of ecological and neoclassical environmental economics have been described in various articles and books and are also embedded in different institutional settings. However, we cannot take for granted that the paradigm debates described in the literatu-re are actually mirrored in exactly the same way in the perceptions and opinions of researchers looking at sustainability from an economic perspective. This paper presents empirical results from a German case study on how economists and others involved in economic sustainability research from different schools of thought think about the issues of sustainability and economics, how they group around these issues, how they feel about the current scientific divide, and what they expect to be future topics of sustainability research. Knowing that sustainability research is highly and still increasingly internationally intertwined, and assuming that the opinions of German economic sustainability researchers do not dramatically differ from those in other countries, we think that these results will be of interest to the inter-national scientific community [...]
    Date: 2006
  3. By: Sidney Winter
    Abstract: This note expounds the abstract fundamentals of the appropriability problem, re-assessing insights from three classic contributions – those of Schumpeter, Arrow and Teece. Whereas the first two contributions were explicitly concerned with the implications of appropriability for society at large, Teece’s main concern was with practical questions of business strategy and economic organization. This note argues that, his practical concerns notwithstanding, Teece contributed, en passant but fundamentally, to the clarification of basic questions that previous authors had addressed less comprehensively and less satisfactorily. Specifically, his analysis of the innovator’s access to complementary assets, undertaken from a contracting perspective, can be seen as filling a significant gap in the previous theoretical discussion of appropriability.
    Keywords: Appropriability, Innovation, Complementary assets, Patents, Intellectual property.
    Date: 2006–09–11
  4. By: MONGIN, Philippe
    Abstract: A previous article investigated the semantic distinction between the analytical and the synthetic, and applied it to microeconomics; in the present one, the fundamental propositions of this field come to terms with the epistemological distinction between the a priori and the a posteriori (or empirical), while an attempt is made to systematize the four concepts.
    Keywords: A priori; a posteriori; empirical; synthetic a priori; empirism; apriorism; Kant; von Mises; law of diminishing returns; convexity; additivity; theory of producer
    JEL: B21 B41 D20
    Date: 2006–07–01
  5. By: Perea Andrés (METEOR)
    Abstract: Within a formal epistemic model for simultaneous-move games, we present the following conditions: (1) belief in the opponents'' rationality (BOR), stating that a player should believe that every opponent chooses an optimal strategy, (2) self-referential beliefs (SRB), stating that a player believes that his opponents hold correct beliefs about his own beliefs, (3) projective beliefs (PB), stating that i believes that j''s belief about k''s choice is the same as i''s belief about k''s choice, and (4) conditionally independent beliefs (CIB), stating that a player believes that opponents'' types choose their strategies independently. We show that, if a player satisfies BOR, SRB and CIB, and believes that every opponent satisfies BOR, SRB, PB and CIB, then he will choose a Nash equilibrium strategy (that is, a strategy that is optimal in some Nash equilibrium). We thus provide a set of sufficient conditions for Nash equilibrium strategy choice. We also show that none of these seven conditions can be dropped.
    Keywords: mathematical economics;
    Date: 2006
  6. By: Shultziner, Doron (Politics & International Relations Department, Oxford University); Dattner, Arnon (Department of Zoology, Tel Aviv University)
    Abstract: This paper critically examines the state of the literature in evolutionary biology regarding theories of altruistic behavior. The shared theoretical problems of Kin-selection and Group-selection are examined. Theoretical and severe methodological problems of Reciprocal Altruism theory are also discussed. We offer new conceptual clarifications of the Handicap Principle theory regarding costs and benefits to both the donor and the recipient of an altruistic act. We also summarize supportive empirical studies which demonstrate how Handicap Principle theory easily explains altruistic behavior on a different logic than the one employed by other theories of altruistic behavior. Finally, we discuss the phenomenon of one-shot altruism in order to evaluate, and distinguish between, the predictive and explanatory power of different theories of altruistic behavior.
    Keywords: altruism; altruistic behavior; theories of altruism; handicap principle; reciprocity; reciprocal altruism; group selection; kin selection; one-shot altruism
    JEL: A12 Z00
    Date: 2006–09–06
  7. By: Perea Andrés (METEOR)
    Abstract: In this survey we analyze, and compare, various sufficient epistemic conditions for backward induction that have been proposed in the literature. To this purpose we present a simple epistemic base model for games with perfect information, and translate the different models into the language of this base model. As such, we formulate the various sufficient conditions for backward induction in a uniform language, which enables us to explictly analyze their differences and similarities.
    Keywords: mathematical economics;
    Date: 2006

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