nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2007‒04‒28
seven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. The moral layer of contemporary economics: A virtue-ethics perspective By vranceanu, radu
  2. Experimental Economics: Contributions, Recent Developments, and New Challenges By Marie-Claire Villeval
  3. Exploring a New ExpAce: The Complementarities between Experimental Economics and Agent-based Computational Economics By Bruno Contini; Roberto Leombruni; Matteo Richiardi
  4. Towards a "sophisticated" model of belief dynamics By Hill, Brian
  5. Uncertainty and exploitation in history By Engelbert Stockhammer; Paul Ramskogler
  6. Subjective Well-being Poverty versus Income Poverty and Capabilities Poverty? By Geeta Kingdon; John Knight
  7. Frames and Games By Jordi Brandts; Christiane Schwieren

  1. By: vranceanu, radu (ESSEC Business School)
    Abstract: This paper questions whether the contemporary science of economics and its recommendations are built on sound moral foundations as assessed from a virtue-based definition of ethical behaviour. We argue that the model of man underlying economic analyses can correspond to the model of a virtuous person, and that economics, by advocating reasoned choice and careful resource utilization, makes a positive contribution to the moral development of individuals.
    Keywords: Economics; Efficiency; Rationality; Tastes; Virtue Ethics
    JEL: A11 A13
    Date: 2007–04
  2. By: Marie-Claire Villeval (GATE - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - [CNRS : UMR5824] - [Université Lumière - Lyon II] - [Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines])
    Abstract: Although economics has long been considered as a non-experimental science, the development of experimental economics and behavioral economics is amazingly rapid and affects most fields of research. This paper first attempts at defining the main contributions of experiments to economics. It also identifies four main trends in the development of experimental research in economics. The third contribution of this paper is to identify the major theoretical and methodological challenges faced by behavioral and experimental economics.
    Keywords: behavioral economy ; Experimental economics ; field experiment ; quantitative methods
    Date: 2007–04–19
  3. By: Bruno Contini; Roberto Leombruni; Matteo Richiardi
    Abstract: What is the relationship, if any, between Experimental Economics and Agent-based Computational Economics? Experimental Economics (EXP) investigates individual behaviour (and the emergence of aggregate regularities) by means of human subject experiments. Agent-based Computational Economics (ACE), on the other hand, studies the relationships between the micro and the macro level with the aid of artificial experiments. Note that the way ACE makes use of experiments to formulate theories is indeed similar to the way EXP does. The question we want to address is whether they can complement and integrate with each other. What can Agent-based computational Economics give to, and take from, Experimental Economics? Can they help and sustain each other, and ultimately gain space out of their restricted respective niches of practitioners? We believe that the answer to all these questions is yes: there can be and there should be profitable “contaminations” in both directions, of which we provide a first comprehensive discussion.
    Keywords: Experimental Economics, Agent-based Computational Economics, Agent-Based Models, Simulation.
    JEL: B4 C9 C63
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Hill, Brian
    Abstract: It is well-known that classical models of belief are not realistic representations of human doxastic capacity; equally, models of actions involving beliefs, such as decisions based on beliefs, or changes of beliefs, suffer from similar inaccuracies. In this paper, a general framework is presented which permits a more realistic modelling both of instantaneous states of belief, and of the operations involving them. This framework is motivated by the inadequacies of existing models, which it overcomes, whilst retaining technical rigour in so far as it relies on known, natural logical and mathematical notions. As an illustration of this framework, it will be applied to the particular case of belief revision. A model of belief revision shall be obtained which, rstly, recovers the Gärdenfors postulates in a well-speci ed, natural yet simple class of particular circumstances; secondly, can accommodate iterated revisions, recovering several proposed revision operators for iterated revision as special cases; and nally, offers an analysis of Rott's recent counterexample to several Gärdenfors postulates [23], elucidating in what sense it fails to be one of the special cases to which these postulates apply
    Keywords: Representations of belief; bounded rationality; logical omniscience; awareness; logical locality; belief dynamics; iterated revision; Gärdenfors postulates; rational choice theory; framing effect
    JEL: C44 D83 D90
    Date: 2006–10–01
  5. By: Engelbert Stockhammer (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics & B.A.); Paul Ramskogler (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics & B.A.)
    Abstract: The paper builds on the Marxist concept of exploitation to explore the meaning of the Post Keynesian notion of uncertainty. Uncertainty is mediated by institutions and is distributed unevenly among different social groups. As different historical social formations entail different institutional structures, the distribution and nature of uncertainty also differ. The configurations between class relations and uncertainty are analyzed for the capitalist, feudal and slave modes of production. It is demonstrated that modes of production do not only imply specific exploitative relations but also different relative distributions of uncertainty amongst classes. Joining Marxian and Post Keynesian approaches allows a richer understanding of exploitive relations and illuminates the full societal impact of uncertainty. It is shown that only in capitalism is the exploited class exposed to a substantial degree of economic uncertainty.
    JEL: B50 B51 N33 N34
    Date: 2007–04
  6. By: Geeta Kingdon; John Knight (Department of Economics, University of Oxford)
    Abstract: Abstract: The conventional approach of economists to the measurement of poverty in poor countries is to use measures of income or consumption. This has been challenged by those who favour broader criteria for poverty and its avoidance. These include the fulfilment of ‘basic needs’, the ‘capabilities’ to be and to do things of intrinsic worth, and safety from insecurity and vulnerability. This paper asks: to what extent are these different concepts measurable, to what extent are they competing and to what extent complementary, and is it possible for them to be accommodated within an encompassing framework? There are two remarkable gaps in the rapidly growing literature on subjective well-being. First, reflecting the availability of data, there is little research on poor countries. Second, within any country, there is little research on the relationship between well-being and the notion of poverty. This paper attempts to fill these gaps. Any attempt to define poverty involves a value judgement as to what constitutes a good quality of life or a bad one. We argue that an approach which examines the individual’s own perception of well-being is less imperfect, or more quantifiable, or both, as a guide to forming that value judgement than are the other potential approaches.We develop a methodology for using subjective well-being as the criterion for poverty, and illustrate its use by reference to a South African data set containing much socio-economic information on the individual, the household and the community, as well as information on reported subjective well-being. We conclude that it is possible to view subjective well-being as an encompassing concept, which permits us to quantify the relevance and importance of the other approaches and of their component variables. The estimated subjective well-being functions for South Africa contain some variables corresponding to the income approach, some to the basic needs (or physical functioning) approach, some to the relative (or social functioning) approach, and some to the security approach. Thus, our methodology effectively provides weights of the relative importance of these various components of subjective well-being poverty.
    Keywords: South Africa: poverty, well-being, measures of income, consumption
    JEL: A1
    Date: 2005–07
  7. By: Jordi Brandts; Christiane Schwieren
    Abstract: Decision-makers are sometimes influenced by the way in which choice situations are presented to them or "framed" This can be seen as an important challenge to the social sciences, since strong and pervasive framing effects would make it difficult to study human behavior in a synthetic or theoretic manner. We present results from experiments with dilemma games designed to shed light on the effects of several frame variations. We study, among others, the particular public bad frame used by Andreoni (1995) and two more naturalistic frames involving stories. Our results show that none of the frame manipulations have a significant effect on average behavior, but we do find some effects on extreme behavior. We also find that incentives do matter where frames do not matter.
    Keywords: Framing, Experiments, Public Goods
    JEL: C92 H41
    Date: 2007–03–15

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