nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2006‒11‒18
eleven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. Economics and Transitions: Lessons from Economic Sub-disciplines By Kemp, R.; van den Bergh, J.
  2. On the Origins of "A Monetary History" By Hugh Rockoff
  3. Validity As Bindingness: The Normativity of Legality By Giovanni Sartor
  4. Rational Economic Man og Bounded Rationality - Nogle betragtninger over rationalitetsbegrebet i økonomisk teori By Finn Olesen
  5. Deliberative Supranationalism Revisited By Christian Joerges; Jurgen Neyer
  6. Should We Maximize National Happiness? By Bruno S. Frey; Alois Stutzer
  7. Towards an Organization Theory of International Integration By Morten Egeberg
  8. Dictators and Their Viziers: Agency Problems in Dictatorships By Georgy Egorov; Konstantin Sonin
  9. On the Fundamental Theorems of General Equilibrium By Eric Maskin; Kevin W.S. Roberts
  10. Syllogism and Defeasibilty: A Comment on Neil MacCormick’s Rhetoric and the Rule of Law By Giovanni Sartor
  11. Demand Theory and General Equilibrium: From Explanation to Introspection, a Journey down the Wrong Road By Alan Kirman

  1. By: Kemp, R. (UNU-MERIT); van den Bergh, J. (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Vrije Universiteit and Institute for Environmental Studies)
    Abstract: Currently, there is much interest in stimulating or 'speeding up' socio-technical transitions to sustainable systems, most notably in the sectors of energy, transport and agriculture. This essay attempts to assess whether and how 'transition' type problems and issues are being addressed in the various sub-disciplines and methodological approaches of economics. This allows us to identify concepts, ideas, theories and empirical methods in economics that are suitable for inclusion and elaboration in 'transition research'. Surprisingly, we find that many sub-disciplines of economics have in one way or another addressed problems similar to transitions. Our main conclusion therefore is that economics offers a rich palette of ideas that may be useful for transition research. Studies on development stages, long waves, technological path-dependency, conflict resolution, public investments, emergence of institutions and, transitions from communist to market-democracy systems seem especially relevant to the study of transition. Although mainstream economics conflicts in certain ways with the approach called for by many involved in transition research, we show that economics certainly has something to offer to the study of transitions.
    Keywords: Sustainable Development, Technological Change, Economic Development
    JEL: Q01 O13 O33
    Date: 2006
  2. By: Hugh Rockoff
    Abstract: This paper explores some of the scholarship that influenced Milton Friedman and Anna J. Schwartz's "A Monetary History". It shows that the ideas of several Chicago economists -- Henry Schultz, Henry Simons, Lloyd Mints, and Jacob Viner -- left clear marks. It argues, however, that the most important influence may have been Wesley Clair Mitchell and his classic book "Business Cycles" (1913). Mitchell, and the NBER, provided the methodology for "A Monetary History", in particular the emphasis on compiling long time series of monthly data and analyzing the effects of specific variables on the business cycle. A common methodology and the stability of monetary relationships produced similar conclusions about money. Friedman and Schwartz deemphasized Mitchell's "bank-centric" view of the monetary transmission process, but they reinforced Mitchell's conclusion that money had an independent, predictable, and important influence on the business cycle.
    JEL: B22
    Date: 2006–11
  3. By: Giovanni Sartor
    Abstract: I shall argue that the concept of (valid) law is a purely normative notion, irreducible to any factual description. This uncontroversial notion, which is shared by all approaching the law from the internal point of view, needs to be distinguished from the competing theories on the grounds of legal bindingness, namely, on the reasons for qualifying a norm as legally valid. I shall consider some implications of this distinction for legal reasoning and for the role of the jurist.
    Keywords: law
    Date: 2006–07–01
  4. By: Finn Olesen (Department of Environmental and Business Economics, University of Southern Denmark)
    Abstract: As a core element in economic theory we accept that economic agents behave rationally. They either maximize their profit or their utility. But is the behavior of the rational economic man really a realistic assumption? Or is Simon right when he argues that firms satisfy rather than maximize? In this paper we dis-cuss some aspects of bounded rationality and pose the question: Is this the way out? Uden på nogen måde at ville kompromittere mine kolleger, Tommy S. Poulsen og Eva Roth, skal jeg takke dem begge for kommentarer til en tidligere version at dette papir.
    Date: 2006–09
  5. By: Christian Joerges; Jurgen Neyer
    Abstract: Legal and political science cannot merge, but they should, at the very least, listen to each other. This working paper is a further step in an ongoing interdisciplinary cooperation which seeks to make sense out of Louis Henkin’s famous admonition. This co-operation had begun with a research project on the European comitology system in 1995 and the publication, inter alia, of two articles on deliberative supranationalism in 1997. The present article is an effort to get?/go beyond the scope of our original analyses and to explore the potential of our guiding ideas at a more general level of integration research. In Part I of this paper, Jürgen Neyer summarises strands of normative and positive political theory on which deliberative approaches to international and European governance can build. These approaches not only support coherence, social acceptance and normative recognition, they also have in important potential for the design of empirical studies. They seem to be particularly promising for the understanding of the institutional design and the political process in the EU. In Part II, Christian Joerges first summarises the objections against deliberative suprantionalism and comitology in legal science. He then presents a conflict-of-law’s approach to European law which builds upon the 1997 articles and seeks to develop their normative-legal perspectives further. European law is interpreted as a new type of conflict of law which constitutionalises a European unitas in pluralitate. Comitology is interpreted as a cognitive opening of the legal system which institutionalises a second order of conflict of laws
    Keywords: democracy; law; integration theory; legitimacy; participation; political representation; supranationalism
    Date: 2006–09–01
  6. By: Bruno S. Frey; Alois Stutzer
    Abstract: Cross-disciplinary ‘happiness research’ has made big progress in the measurement of individual welfare. This development makes it tempting to pursue the old dream of maximizing aggregate happiness as a social welfare function. However, we postulate that the appropriate approach is not to maximize aggregate happiness in seeking to improve outcomes by direct policy interventions. The goal of happiness research should rather be to improve the nature of the processes through which individuals can express their preferences. Individuals should become better able to advance their idea of the good life, both individually and collectively.
    Keywords: Economic policy; happiness; life satisfaction; political economy; social welfare; utility
    JEL: D60 D70 H11 I31
    Date: 2006–10
  7. By: Morten Egeberg
    Date: 2006–10–18
  8. By: Georgy Egorov (Center for Economic and Financial Research); Konstantin Sonin (New Economic School, Center for Economic and Financial Research)
    Abstract: The possibility of treason by a close associate has been a nightmare of most dictators throughout history. Better informed viziers are also better able to discriminate among potential plotters, and this makes them more risky subordinates for the dictator. To avoid this, dictators, especially those which are weak and vulnerable, sacrifice the competence of their agents, hiring mediocre but loyal subordinates. However, any use of incentive schemes by a dictator is limited by the fact that all punishments are conditional on the dictator’s own survival, and a dictator is typically unable to commit to the optimal (i.e., less than capital) punishment for those who unsuccessfully plotted against him. We endogenize loyalty and competence in a principal-agent game between a dictator and his (probably, few) viziers in both static and dynamic settings. The dynamic model allows us to focus on the succession problem that insecure dictators face.
    Keywords: Dictatorship, Loyalty and Competence, Positive Political Theory, Principal-Agent, Non-democratic Succession
    Date: 2005–04
  9. By: Eric Maskin (School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study); Kevin W.S. Roberts (Nuffield College, Oxford)
    Date: 2006–08
  10. By: Giovanni Sartor
    Abstract: This paper provides a review of Rhetoric and the Rule of Law, by Neil MacCormick, focussing on the role of logic in legal reasoning. In particular it considers the connection between syllogism, formal methods and rhetoric, and it distinguishes various aspects of legal defeasibility
    Keywords: law
    Date: 2006–09–01
  11. By: Alan Kirman (GREQAM, EHESS)
    Date: 2006–06

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