nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2006‒12‒01
twelve papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. Israel M. Kirzner: An Outstanding Austrian Contributor to the Economics of Entrepreneurship By Douhan, Robin; Henrekson, Magnus; Eliasson, Gunnar
  2. The neoliberal "Rebirth" of development economics By Rémy Herrera
  3. Effective demand and short-term adjustments in the General Theory By Olivier Allain
  4. La crítica de Hicks al Tratado del Dinero de Keynes By Alexander Tobon
  5. On Prices in Myrdal's Monetary Theory By Alexander Tobon
  6. The Ignorant Observer By Thibault Gajdos; Feriel Kandil
  7. Science and Ideology in Economic, Political, and Social Thought By Hillinger, Claude
  8. The Origins of Fair Play By Ken Binmore
  9. Les monnaies parallèles : évaluation du phénomène et enjeux théoriques By Jérôme Blanc
  10. Wage forms and hierarchy in late 19th century French industry By Jérôme Bourdieu; Gilles Postel-Vinay
  11. Understanding Growth in Europe, 1700-1870: Theory and Evidence By Joel Mokyr; Hans-Joachim Voth
  12. Development Accounting in a Heckscher-Ohlin World By Harald Fadinger

  1. By: Douhan, Robin (Uppsala University); Henrekson, Magnus (Research Institute of Industrial Economics); Eliasson, Gunnar (Royal Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: Israel M. Kirzner is the 2006 winner of The International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research. In this essay, we present and evaluate his main contributions to the economics of entrepreneurship. The focus is on how Kirzner defines the entrepreneurial function. In order to better understand his theory, we posit Kirzner’s notion of an entrepreneur in the Austrian tradition. In so doing we emphasize that this concept opens up different perspectives as compared to the neoclassical theoretical framework. The three areas of economic policy, justice and freedom and economic growth are discussed. We also show why the Kirznerian entrepreneur makes these issues relevant. Perhaps most importantly, Kirzner has made the Austrian School intelligible for non-Austrians. By bridging the chasm between Austrian and mainstream thinking, the crucial role of entrepreneurship and the individual entrepreneur has become visible to a much broader audience.
    Keywords: Austrian economics; Economic development; Entrepreneurship; Small business economics
    JEL: B49 B52 B53 O31
    Date: 2006–10–26
  2. By: Rémy Herrera (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - [CNRS : UMR8174] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I])
    Abstract: This article is to be published in the May 2006 issue of the Monthly Review. Nowadays, neoclassical economics' domination of development theory is on par with that of high finance's neoliberal power over development policies. There are important complementarities between these two forms of ideological domination which are mutually reinforcing and interdependent. Thus, it is not only the absence of a scientific basis and the logical inconsistencies that disqualify these approaches, but the ideological function and antisocial project that their methodologies and conclusions support in the service of world capital.
    Keywords: Development, neo-classical economics, neo-liberalism, crisis, heterodoxies.
    Date: 2006–11–13
  3. By: Olivier Allain (Université Paris 5 René Descartes - [Université René Descartes - Paris V], CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - [CNRS : UMR8174] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I])
    Abstract: Keynes' principle of effective demand constitutes a pillar for Post Keynesians theories. But Keynes' presentation remains difficult to interpret, mainly because the aggregate demand function is based on entrepreneurs' expectations. The problem is then to demonstrate how these entrepreneurs (whose only concern is making profits) are led to produce the effective demand (which partially results from the consumers' and investors' behaviour). Previous studies by authors like Weintraub or Davidson highlight the trial and error procedure here at stake. However, since their analyses are not built on a precise accounting of monetary flows, they fail to formally demonstrate the coherence of the whole adjustment process. The aim of this article is to provide such a formal demonstration. We thus concentrate on the General Theory to verify how it constitutes a coherent framework to analyse temporary equilibriums (at the end of every elementary period) and short-term dynamics which bring the economy towards the stationary equilibrium.
    Keywords: Keynesian economics, General Theory, macroeconomics, effective demand, short-term expectations.
    Date: 2006–11–08
  4. By: Alexander Tobon (EconomiX - [CNRS : UMR7166] - [Université de Paris X - Nanterre])
    Abstract: El objetivo de este artículo es mostrar que la crítica que hace Hicks al Tratado del Dinero de Keynes es incorrecta. Para ello, presentamos el modelo de Keynes, mostrando que la igualdad entre la inversión y el ahorro es una condición de equilibrio monetario y no una identidad. Este resultado no puede ser obtenido en el análisis de Hicks.
    Keywords: Keynes; Hicks; precios; beneficios; ahorro; inversión
    Date: 2006–10–19
  5. By: Alexander Tobon (EconomiX - [CNRS : UMR7166] - [Université de Paris X - Nanterre])
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to show how Myrdal monetary theory can contribute to the study of the behaviour of prices in disequilibrium. The analysis explains the existence of a cumulative process based on the capacity of the entrepreneur to anticipate price variations. The variation in prices explains the persistence of the cumulative process. This, we argue, represents an opposite view of the one contained in Wicksell's theory. Myrdal's theory leads to the rejection of the quantity theory of money based on Wicksell's approach. This comes as a surprising result knowing Wicksell believed his results confirmed this theory.
    Keywords: Myrdal; monetary equilibrium; cumulative process; prices; profit
    Date: 2006–10–19
  6. By: Thibault Gajdos (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - [CNRS : UMR8174] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I]); Feriel Kandil (CERC - [Conseil de l'Emploi, des Revenus et de la Cohésion sociale])
    Abstract: Most prominent models of economic justice (and especially those proposed by Harsanyi and Rawls) are based on the assumption that impartiality is required for making moral decisions. However, although Harsanyi and Rawls agree on that, and furthermore agree on the fact that impartiality can be obtained under appropriate conditions of ignorance, they strongly disagree on the consequences of these assumptions. According to Harsanyi, they provide a justification for the utilitarian doctrine, whereas Rawls considers that they imply egalitarianism. We propose here an extension of Harsanyi's Impartial Observer Theorem, that is based on the representation of ignorance as the set of all possible probability distributions. We obtain a characterization of the observer's preferences that, under our most restrictive conditions, is a linear combination of Harsanyi's and Rawls' criteria. Furthermore, this representation is ethically meaningful, in the sense that individuals' utilities are cardinally measurable and unit comparable. This allows us to conclude that the impartiality requirement cannot be used to decide between Rawls' and Harsanyi's positions. Finally, we defend the view that a (strict) combination of Harsanyi's and Rawls' criteria provides a reasonable rule for social decisions.
    Keywords: Impartiality, justice, decision under ignorance.
    Date: 2006–11–22
  7. By: Hillinger, Claude
    Abstract: This paper has two sources: One is my own research in three broad areas: business cycles, economic measurement and social choice. In all of these fields I attempted to apply the basic precepts of the scientific method as it is understood in the natural sciences. I found that my effort at using natural science methods in economics was met with little understanding and often considerable hostility. I found economics to be driven less by common sense and empirical evidence, then by various ideologies that exhibited either a political or a methodological bias, or both. This brings me to the second source: Several books have appeared recently that describe in historical terms the ideological forces that have shaped either the direct areas in which I worked, or a broader background. These books taught me that the ideological forces in the social sciences are even stronger than I imagined on the basis of my own experiences. The scientific method is the antipode to ideology. I feel that the scientific work that I have done on specific, long standing and fundamental problems in economics and political science have given me additional insights into the destructive role of ideology beyond the history of thought orientation of the works I will be discussing.
    Keywords: Business cycles; Ideology; Science; Voting; Welfare measurement
    JEL: B40 C50 D71 E32
    Date: 2006–11
  8. By: Ken Binmore
    Abstract: This paper gives a brief overview of an evolutionary theory of fairness. The ideas are fleshed out in Binmore's book 'Natural Justice' (Oxford University Press, New York, 2005.), which is itself a condensed version of his earlier two-volume book 'Game Theory and the Social Contract' (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 1994 and 1998). Length 29 pages
    Date: 2006–11
  9. By: Jérôme Blanc (LEFI - Laboratoire d'économie de la firme et des institutions - [Université Lumière - Lyon II])
    Abstract: Les monnaies parallèles sont des moyens de paiement et des unités de compte très divers employés aux côtés des monnaies nationales. Un essai de recension des monnaies parallèles sur une période récente (1988-96) révèle leur existence dans des situations que l'on peut qualifier de normales. Cette permanence conduit à interroger la théorie économique. Or elle ne s'y intéresse que de façon très marginale et éprouve beaucoup de difficultés à en rendre compte. Ce texte esquisse les pistes d'un réexamen critique du concept de monnaie et d'un schéma général de pratiques monétaires intégrant la possibilité de leur emploi permanent.
    Keywords: Monnaies parallèles, pratiques monétaires, théorie monétaire, substitution des monnaies
    Date: 2006–11–06
  10. By: Jérôme Bourdieu; Gilles Postel-Vinay
    Abstract: Two opposing views of industrialization are commonly expressed. The first emphasizes capitalism’s coercion of workers into furnishing more effort than they had long been accustomed to when they themselves decided the rhythm and timing of work. In this optic, factory discipline is an essential part of capitalist development. The second point of view notes that the need for factory discipline emerged only slowly during the Nineteenth Century, as increasingly productive technologies rendered the closer coordination of workers essential. Both views agree that largescale production, the division of labour, and the breakdown of tasks into individual standardized operations were essential to the industrial firm of the XIXth century. They also agree that achieving such an organization implied reshaping labour relations within the firm, and the development of a hierarchical structure of decision and control, which was implemented on the shop floor by a new character: the foreman. However, advocates of the first view argue that foremen were a necessary condition of capitalist development, as the generalisation of supervisory tasks in labour relations was a distinctive feature of the organization of new industrial plants. In the second view, foremen only progressively became more important, and were simply a corollary of the development of large firms. To distinguish between these two views it would thus seem important to determine if, and at which pace, firms recruited more foremen over time. Answering these questions is fraught with difficulty, if only because, over time, foremen were not always explicitly identified, either because they may have played a number of different roles in the firm or because their position was not defined as such. These type of questions are usually addressed via case studies and research monographs as the best way of capturing precisely the evolution of hierachical organization over a protracted period of time. Here we will argue, paradoxically, that cross-sectional analysis is perhaps better suited to the systematic observation of the long run evolution of work organization inside firms, insofar as it allows reliable comparisons between a large number of firms with a clear definition of who exactly the foremen were.
    Keywords: French industry; 19th century; industrialization; factory discipline; worker; foreman; division of labour; time work; capitalism; France
    JEL: L2 N33
    Date: 2006–07
  11. By: Joel Mokyr; Hans-Joachim Voth
    Date: 2006–06
  12. By: Harald Fadinger
    Abstract: This paper tries to contribute to the strand of literature that investigates the question to what extend differences in per capita income between countries are due to differences in factor endowments like human- and physical capital on the one hand and due to differences in technology on the other hand. In particular, I am trying to assess to what extend structural transformation, ie the ability of a country to specialize in the production of goods that intensively use the factors with which it is abundantly endowed, has an important role in determining cross country income differences. I find that when productivities are country specific, for realistic parameter values structural transformation plays little role and productivity differences between countries remain large. However, when I allow for factor augmenting technology differences and factors are complementary in sectoral production, there seem to be large differences in the productivity of physical capital that are strongly correlated with per capita income, while human capital seems to have an inverse hump shape. This result is ad odds with Caselli (2005), who finds that poor countries use capital more efficiently than rich countries, while having a lower productivity of human capital. Finally, I use trade data and the Heckscher-Ohlin-Vanek equations to assess the plausibility of my calibrations and find a good fit for the model with factor specific productivities and complementary factors.
    Date: 2006–06

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