nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2007‒01‒28
ten papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. What Simon says By Floris Heukelom
  2. Kahneman and Tversky and the Origin of Behavioral Economics By Floris Heukelom
  3. On the Convergence of Evolutionary and Behavioral Theories of Organizations: A Tentative Roadmap By Giovanni Dosi; Luigi Marengo
  4. Premio Nobel al microcredito By Reggiani, Tommaso
  5. Patrones de publicación internacional (ssci) de los autores afiliados a universidades españolas, en el ámbito económico-empresarial (1994-2004). By Juan Carlos Duque; Vicente Royuela; Jordi Suriñach
  6. Happiness, Morality, and Game Theory By Luca Zarri
  7. The hypostatisation of the concept of equilibrium in neoclassical economics By Andy Denis
  8. Comparative Industrial Evolution and the Quest for an Evolutionary Theory of Market Dynamics By G. Buenstorf
  9. Il successo del microcredito By Reggiani, Tommaso
  10. Transparence et Efficacité de la Politique Monétaire. By Romain Baeriswyl; Camille Cornand

  1. By: Floris Heukelom (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
    Abstract: This paper provides an overview of the work of Herbert Simon and his ideas about rational decision making. By his own standards, Simon is an economist who works in the tradition of Adam Smith and Alfred Marshall. The central theme in Simon’s research is how human beings organize themselves in different structures of distributed decision making in order to achieve a degree of rationality that is higher than which can be attained by the individual. In this realm his main preoccupation are hierarchic organizations such as the business firm and the computer. Simon sharply contrasts his views with the EUT, the dominant view on rational decision making in economics and other social sciences.
    Keywords: Herbert Simon; decision making; Expected Utility Theory; hierarchic organizations
    JEL: A12 D01 D21
    Date: 2007–01–12
  2. By: Floris Heukelom (ASE, Universiteit van Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Kahneman and Tversky and their behavioral economics stand in a long tradition of applying mathematics to human behavior. In the seventeenth century, attempts to describe rational behavior in mathematical terms run into problems with the formulation of the St. Petersburg paradox. Bernoulli’s celebrated solution to use utility instead of money marks the beginning of expected utility theory (EUT). Bernoulli’s work is taken up by psychophysics which in turn plays an important role in the making of modern economics. In the 1940s von Neumann and Morgenstern throw away Bernoulli and psychophysics, and redefine utility in monetary terms. Relying on this utility definition and on von Neumann and Morgenstern’s axiomatic constraints of the individual’s preferences, Friedman and Savage attempt to continue Bernoulli’s research. After this fails economics and psychology go separate ways. Economics employs Friedman’s positive-normative distinction; psychology uses Savag! e’s normative-descriptive distinction. Using psychophysics Kahneman and Tversky broaden the normative-descriptive distinction and argue with increasing strength for a descriptive theory of rational behavior. A prominent part of contemporary behavioral economics is founded upon the export of Tversky and Kahneman’s program to economics. Within this research, two different branches of research can be observed. One branch continues Kahneman and Tversky’s search for a descriptive theory of rational behavior and extends the normative-descriptive distinction with a prescriptive part. A second branch takes Tversky and Kahneman’s work as a falsification of positive economics. It argues that economics should take account of the psychological critique but stick to rigorous mathematical model building and Friedman’s positive-normative distinction.
    Keywords: Kahneman and Tversky; behavioral economics; expected utility theory; normative economics
    JEL: A12 B21 D01
    Date: 2007–01–11
  3. By: Giovanni Dosi; Luigi Marengo
    Abstract: The behavioral theory of the firm has been acknowledged as one of the most fundamental pillars on which evolutionary theorizing in economics has been built. Nelson and Winter’s 1982 book is pervaded by the philosophy and concepts previously developed by Cyert, March and Simon. On the other hand, some behavioral notions, such as bounded rationality, though isolated from the context, are also at the heart of some economic theories of institutions such as transaction costs economics. In this paper, after briefly reviewing the basic concepts of evolutionary economics, we discuss its implications for the theory of organizations (and business firms in particular), and we suggest that evolutionary theory should coherently embrace an “embeddedness” view of organizations, whereby the latter are not simply efficient solutions to informational problems arising from contract incompleteness and uncertainty, but also shape the “visions of the world”, interaction networks, behavioral patterns and, ultimately, the very identity of the agents. After outlining the basic features of this perspective we analyze its consequences and empirical relevance.
    Date: 2007–01–22
  4. By: Reggiani, Tommaso
    Abstract: This article proposes to analyze Grameen Bank operational system and its own evolution, illustrating the reasons for which to Professor Yunus's mission has been conferred an important award as Nobel Peace Prize 2006, evidencing the values that support this economics theory and the innovations that microcredit brings to the understanding of the economics phenomena. [For their efforts to create economic and social development from below, M. Yunus and Grameen Bank - Nobel Peace Prize 2006]
    Keywords: Nobel Prize; Yunus; Grameen Bank; Microcredit; Poverty; Ethics in Economics
    JEL: O2 O22 G21
    Date: 2006–12–01
  5. By: Juan Carlos Duque (Regional Analysis Laboratory (REGAL). San Diego State University.); Vicente Royuela (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona.); Jordi Suriñach (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona.)
    Abstract: In this paper we analyse the status of scientific publications in Economics and Business in Spain (1994-2004). We focus our research in showing the preferred journals of the authors affiliated to Spanish universities, the quality of these journals and also the evolution along the decade. Throughout the paper we study deeply the areas of knowledge: which are more productive and also how the articles are distributed among Universities considering the areas of knowledge. The results show an important stability concerning the growth of published articles considering different levels of quality of journals. A second result is the important concentration in a few areas of knowledge: Fundamentals of Economic Analysis and Applied Economics. We observe a degree of specialization of several universities. Last, we display the relationship between journal publication and university’s publication pattern.
    Keywords: Bibliometrics, Economics and Business, University, Research.
    JEL: A10 A11 A14
    Date: 2006–12
  6. By: Luca Zarri (Corresponding author, Dipartimento di Scienze economiche (Università di Verona))
    Keywords: Non-cooperative Games, Happiness, Morality.
    JEL: B41 C72 C91 D64
    Date: 2006–12
  7. By: Andy Denis (Department of Economics, City University, London)
    Abstract: This paper explores the meanings of ‘equilibrium’ in economics, distinguishing salient appropriate and inappropriate modes of deployment of the concept. I examine a specific instance of the deployment of the concept of equilibrium by a neoclassical writer – Robert Lucas – and conclude that the concept has been hypostatised, substituting an aspect for the whole. The temporary is made permanent, and process subordinated to stasis, with apologetic results. Under far-from-equilibrium conditions, equilibrium is not even an approximate description of the condition of the system, but an abstraction – something which might obtain should a process under consideration run to its conclusion. The order of the system is, not an equilibrium, but an ephemeral balance of forces, destined to be disturbed by the passage of time. I suggest that the hypostatisation of equilibrium exemplifies the contrast between formal and dialectical modes of thought, and that the heterodoxy can make its most telling contribution by applying a dialectical notion of equilibrium.
    Date: 2006–01
  8. By: G. Buenstorf
    Abstract: The paper makes the case for an empirically grounded, "bottom-up" approach to theory building in evolutionary industrial economics. This approach is based on studying systematically selected industries that are comparable in key dimensions. It opens up opportunities for testing the relevance, preconditions, and generality of explanatory factors in industry evolution. An illustration of the approach is subsequently given by presenting some findings on the evolution of the historical U.S. farm tractor industry. Length 23 pages
    Date: 2006–12
  9. By: Reggiani, Tommaso
    Abstract: Is possible to think the credit access like a human right? Eventually, to practice an approach of this type, is it sostenibile from the entrepreneurial and social point of view? These are the two challenges that the microcredit is defying.
    Keywords: Grameen Bank; Etica ed economia; Yunus; Microcredito; Finanza etica
    JEL: O2 I31 R13 I38 G21
    Date: 2005–07–01
  10. By: Romain Baeriswyl; Camille Cornand
    Abstract: Cet article analyse les effets de la transparence économique sur l’efficacité de la politique monétaire dans un modèle de concurrence monopolistique en connaissance commune imparfaite sur les chocs de demande affectant une économie sans biais inflationniste. Nous montrons que la transparence est optimale lorsque l’économie est affectée par des chocs de demande que la banque centrale tente de neutraliser, tant que cette dernière n’est pas trop orientée en faveur de la stabilisation du produit.
    Keywords: information, politique monétaire, transparence.
    JEL: E52 E58 D82
    Date: 2007

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