nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2007‒09‒16
eleven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. "The Continuing Legacy of John Maynard Keynes" By L. Randall Wray
  2. Wieser sur l'égoïsme By Abdelaziz Berkane
  3. A propos de la confiance : le cas de la tradition théorique autrichienne By Abdelaziz Berkane
  4. Experimental Economics: Contributions, Recent Developments, and New Challenges By Marie-Claire Villeval
  5. Economics Against Human Rights By Manuel Couret Branco
  6. Tax Evasion in a Transition from Socialism to Capitalism: The Psychology of the Social Contract By Vihanto , Martti
  7. The Wealth and The Poverty of Nations By Attar, Mustafa A.
  8. "Minsky’s Approach to Employment Policy and Poverty Employer of Last Resort and the War on Poverty" By L. Randall Wray
  9. L’agire economico tra efficienza ed equità: un breve excursus teorico By Mariantonietta Fiore
  10. Do the Reciprocal Trust Less? By Steffen Altmann; Thomas Dohmen; Matthias Wibral
  11. Beyond Economic Efficiency in Biodiversity Conservation By Franz Gatzweiler; Jörg Volkmann

  1. By: L. Randall Wray
    Abstract: This working paper examines the legacy of Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money (1936), on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the publication of Keynes’s masterpiece and the 60th anniversary of his death. The paper incorporates some of the latest research by prominent followers of Keynes, presented at the 9th International Post Keynesian Conference in September 2006, and integrates this with other work that has come out of the Keynesian tradition since the 1940s. It is argued that Keynes’s contributions still provide important guidance for real-world policy formation.
    Date: 2007–09
  2. By: Abdelaziz Berkane (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - [CNRS : UMR6227] - [Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis])
    Abstract: L’école autrichienne ne constitue pas un corpus homogène. Ainsi, si Friedrich von Wieser peut être considéré comme un continuateur de Carl Menger, ils s’en démarqua également sur des questions importantes. Alors que Menger a fait l’objet d’un nombre relativement important de travaux, l’approche de Wieser a comparativement retenu moins souvent l’attention des historiens de la pensée économique. Dans l’optique subjectiviste caractéristique de l’école autrichienne, Wieser, dans Social Economics ([1927]), adopte une conception de la concurrence relativement originale. Cette conception caractéristique est basée sur la distinction entre un « égoïsme socialement contrôlé » (1927 [p. 185]), contraint par des normes et conventions sociales, et un « égoïsme personnel débridé » ([ibid.,]) qui conduit au conflit et au statu quo. Wieser essaie ainsi clairement de tenir compte du conflit social sur le marché et il s’agit dans cet article d’expliciter ce qui apparaît comme une analyse potentiellement importante, qui montre comment des considérations non économiques peuvent contraindre l’activité économique.
    Keywords: Ecole autrichienne ; concurrence, rationalité, pouvoir, sociologie économique
    Date: 2007–09–06
  3. By: Abdelaziz Berkane (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - [CNRS : UMR6227] - [Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis])
    Abstract: Notre contribution initie une reflexion visant à montrer dans quelle mesure l’approche des comportements individuels par ce qu’il est convenu désormais d’appeler la tradition théorique autrichienne, peut fournir un cadre analytique pertinent pour penser les possibilités et les conditions de la confiance.
    Keywords: Confiance; intersubjectivité; incertitude
    Date: 2007–09–07
  4. By: Marie-Claire Villeval (GATE CNRS)
    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
    JEL: A12 C90 D0
    Date: 2007–03
  5. By: Manuel Couret Branco (Department of Economics, University of Évora)
    Abstract: It is said that economics value individual and economic freedom and from that many hastily conclude that mainstream economics value human rights. The purpose of this paper is to show that on the contrary mainstream economics is fundamentally contradictory with many human rights especially Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The main reason for this is that mainstream economics and human rights have trouble in communicating, the latter speaking the rights language and the former the needs language. Within the needs language, capability to pay is the key question whereas within the rights language, entitlement is. If in the first case exclusion and inequality are acceptable in the second case the only acceptable situation is the one characterized by inclusion and equality. In other words goods and services can be unequally distributed, rights cannot. For this reason one cannot count on the market alone to ensure economic, social and cultural rights. Therefore, considering the introduction of different logics into the economic equation as unbearable interferences with economic logic, mainstream economics stands against human rights. In order to give a better illustration of this contradiction the particular conflicts between economics and the right to work, the right to water and the right to social security will be presented. The main conclusion of this paper is that in order to favour human rights economics should either suffer a paradigmatic revolution or accept to play just a supporting role in the process of global development.
    Keywords: Human Rights, Economic Theory, Social Utility, Rights-Approach, Right to Work, Social Security
    JEL: A1 B4 H4 H5 I3 J8 K0
    Date: 2007
  6. By: Vihanto , Martti (BOFIT)
    Abstract: In a common assumption of the economics of tax evasion, extending beyond the basic Allingham-Sandmo model, the choice of a taxpayer to evade taxes depends upon the perceived fairness of the tax system. The purpose of the paper is to provide a psychological foundation for this assumption by drawing on Hayek’s theory of human behavior as a process of rule following. According to the main hypothesis, taxpayers are more compliant with tax laws to which they can in principle give their full consent. A social contract as a basis of tax policy may provide a potent means to combat tax evasion particularly in transition economies that have inherited a deep mistrust of the government from their socialist past.
    Keywords: tax evasion; social contract; economics of psychology; transition economies; Austrian economics
    Date: 2007–09–13
  7. By: Attar, Mustafa A.
    Abstract: In this short survey, we review "the wealth and the poverty of nations" in two directions: First, as the core concept not only in the classical theories of economic growth but also in modern macroeconomics. Second, as the fundamental theme of the Convergence Controversy. Our emphasis focuses on (i) the reasons that make the wealth and poverty of nations controversial in mid-1980s, and (ii) the new theories of economic development (partially or fundamentally deviated from the convex neo-classical growth model) that explain persistent poverty.
    JEL: O50 O10 N10
    Date: 2007–07
  8. By: L. Randall Wray
    Abstract: While Hyman P. Minsky is best known for his work on financial instability, he was also intimately involved in the postwar debates about fiscal policy and what would become the War on Poverty. Indeed, at the University of California, Berkeley, he was a vehement critic of the policies of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, and played a major role in developing an alternative. Minsky insisted that the high investment path chosen by postwar fine-tuners would generate macroeconomic instability, and that the War on Poverty would never lower poverty rates significantly. In retrospect, he was correct on both accounts. Further, he proposed high consumption and an employer of last resort policy as essential ingredients of any coherent strategy for achieving macro stability and poverty elimination. This paper summarizes Minsky’s work in this area, focusing on his writings from the early 1960s through the early 1970s in order to explore the path not taken.
    Date: 2007–09
  9. By: Mariantonietta Fiore
    Abstract: L’economia sebbene nasca ab origine come scienza sociale e branca dell’etica si è vista snaturare nei tempi della sua veste e delle sue radici; nell’ambito della filosofia teoretica medievale, il cui fine è la teoresi, la speculazione pura logico-razionale, l’etica, l’economia e la politica rappresentavano saperi inscindibili che orientavano l’agire individuale, nella casa e nella comunità. Il ruolo che l’etica gioca nell’economia è un tema molto dibattuto nelle discussioni odierne che indagano la portata dell’economia in quanto scienza sociale o in quanto Scienza sic et sempliciter. Dalla fine degli anni Sessanta ad oggi, la confusione intorno alle politiche keynesiane e le due crisi economiche del 1973 e 1979, l’incessante crescita da una parte e le contemporanee disuguaglianze distributive sempre più evidenti dall’altra hanno determinato una svolta nel pensiero economico: le teorie dominanti cambiano sostanza e apparenza, modificano obiettivi e assumono una rinnovata veste etica e deontologica orientata al processo, ai diritti e alle libertà e diventano espressione del contrattualismo contrapponendosi alle ormai superate teorie teleologiche o conseguenzialistiche orientate al risultato dove l’obiettivo prioritario era l'efficienza e, solo quello subordinato, l'equità. Di qui, infatti, stante da una parte le inefficienze nel funzionamento del mercato come asimmetrie informative, mercati incompleti, beni comuni, esternalità e non convessità etc., dall’altra l’inadeguatezza di azioni individuali per conseguire obiettivi personali e non, la ricerca di un ricongiungimento dell’etica all’economia attraverso un codice morale di valutazione più ampio che vada oltre l’efficienza e i risultati. La riflessione che si svolge in questa sede cerca, in prima istanza, di fare una ricognizione delle cause del distacco economia-etica e una disamina delle motivazioni alla base del rinnovato interesse per la rivalutazione dei valori etici dettato anche da un’insolita “responsabilità” (Jonas 1990) ontologica verso l’ambiente e verso le generazioni future. In secundis, si approfondiscono le nuove impostazioni dottrinali passando dall’approccio ugualitario di Rawls, teorico per eccellenza della giustizia e inviolabilità dell’individuo, a quello sostanziale di A. Sen, assertore convinto del ri-appropriamento dell’etica da parte dell’economia. Il lavoro si conclude con una rapida analisi dei Rapporti sullo Sviluppo Umano dell’ONU, nei quali si è cercato di ricongiungere dimensione socio-umana e dimensione economico-ambientale.
    Date: 2007–07
  10. By: Steffen Altmann (University of Bonn and IZA); Thomas Dohmen (IZA); Matthias Wibral (University of Bonn and IZA)
    Abstract: We study the intrapersonal relationship between trust and reciprocity in a laboratory experiment. Reciprocal subjects trust significantly more than selfish ones. This finding raises questions about theories of social preferences which predict that "fairer" players should trust less.
    Keywords: trust, reciprocity, social preferences, fairness, laboratory experiment
    JEL: C91 D63
    Date: 2007–08
  11. By: Franz Gatzweiler (Center for Development Research, University of Bonn, Walter-Flex-Str. 3, 53113 Bonn); Jörg Volkmann (Amber Foundation, Freiburg, Germany,)
    Abstract: This paper aims at explaining the importance of the democracy stance as compared to the efficiency stance in order to deal with complexity in biodiversity conservation. While the efficiency stance refers to the realm of relatively simple systems, individual rationality, and instrumental values, the complexity stance transcends these boundaries into the realm of complex systems, social rationality and intrinsic values. We argue that the task of biodiversity conservation is impossible to achieve in economically efficient ways, because (a) it is impossible to come to a (fully informed) complete account of all values, not only because it is costly but also because (b) moral values are involved which (by their nature) exclude themselves from being accounted for, and (c) biodiversity conservation can be regarded as an end in itself instead of only a means towards an end. The point we raise is, that in order to cope with biodiversity conservation we need to apply valuation methods which are from the complexity stance, take better account of intrinsic values and feelings, as well as consider social rationality. Economic valuation methods are themselves 'value articulating institutions' and as biodiversity conservation confronts us with the complexity of social-ecological systems, the choice of the 'value articulating institutions' needs to consider their ability to capture instrumental and intrinsic values of biodiversity. We demonstrate a method, based on cybernetics, which is able to take into account the issues raised.
    Keywords: Biodiversity conservation, efficiency, complexity, values, institutions
    JEL: B52 Q51 Q57
    Date: 2007–08

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