nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2007‒02‒03
four papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. Representation in Econometrics: A Historical Perspective By Christopher L. Gilbert; Duo Qin
  2. Commensurable freedoms in the capability approach By Antoinette Baujard (CREM – CNRS)
  3. Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History By Becker, Sascha O.; Wößmann, Ludger
  4. Understanding the Old and New Bretton Woods By Paul Wachtel

  1. By: Christopher L. Gilbert (Università degli Studi di Trento); Duo Qin (Queen Mary, University of London)
    Abstract: Measurement forms the substance of econometrics. This chapter outlines the history of econometrics from a measurement perspective – how have measurement errors been dealt with and how, from a methodological standpoint, did econometrics evolve so as to represent theory more adequately in relation to data? The evolution is organized in terms of four phases: ‘theory and measurement’, ‘measurement and theory’, ‘measurement with theory’ and ‘measurement without theory’. The question of how measurement research has helped in the advancement of knowledge advance is discussed in the light of this history.
    Keywords: Econometrics, History, Measurement error
    JEL: B16 B23 C10 C50
    Date: 2007–01
  2. By: Antoinette Baujard (CREM – CNRS)
    Abstract: The basis of the capability approach (CA) was recently attacked by a paper by Prasanta Pattanaik and Yonghseng Xu: the CA is strongly committed to two substantial principles, dominance on the one hand, and relativism on the other hand. The authors have shown these two principles, along with a harmless continuity condition, are together inconsistent. The aim of this paper is twofold. On the one hand, it provides a discussion on the interpretation of this result, based on a reading of the literature on the CA, which brings to the fore the diversity of the approaches. On the second hand, it aims at proposing a way out from the impossibility, which yields to further discussions of Sen's CA.
    Keywords: freedom, commensurability, capability, relativism, universalism, local ethics
    JEL: D63 I31
    Date: 2007
  3. By: Becker, Sascha O.; Wößmann, Ludger
    Abstract: Max Weber attributed the higher economic prosperity of Protestant regions to a Protestant work ethic. We provide an alternative theory, where Protestant economies prospered because instruction in reading the Bible generated the human capital crucial to economic prosperity. County-level data from late 19th-century Prussia reveal that Protestantism was indeed associated not only with higher economic prosperity, but also with better education. We find that Protestants’ higher literacy can account for the whole gap in economic prosperity. Results hold when we exploit the initial concentric dispersion of the Reformation to use distance to Wittenberg as an instrument for Protestantism.
    Keywords: Human capital; Protestantism; economic history
    JEL: N33 Z12 I20
    Date: 2007–01
  4. By: Paul Wachtel
    Date: 2006

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