nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2007‒10‒20
seven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  2. Our Daily Bread”: Maurice Potron, from Catholicism to Mathematical Economics By Bidard Ch.; Erreygers G.; Parys W.
  3. The Ups and Downs of Bureaucratic Organization By Johan P. Olsen
  4. Bankruptcy: from moral order to economic efficiency. By Nadine Levratto
  5. The ignorant observer By Thibault Gajdos; Feriel Kandil
  6. L’étude des cycles de KONDRATIEFF nous permet-elle d’en savoir plus sur la nature sociale de la monnaie ? By Philippe Jourdon
  7. Notas críticas sobre a macroeconomia novo-keynesiana By Cláudio Gontijo

  1. 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, than 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 D6 D71 E32
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Bidard Ch.; Erreygers G.; Parys W.
    Abstract: Maurice Potron (1872-1942) is a French Jesuit and mathematician whose main source of inspiration in economics is the encyclical Rerum Novarum. With virtually no knowledge in economic theory, he wrote down a linear model of production in which he formalized the notions of just prices and just wages. As early as 1911, he used the Perron-Frobenius theorem to prove the existence of a positive solution and established a duality result between the quantity side and the price side of the model. He returned to economics in the 1930s, but in both periods he failed to make a lasting impression upon economists.
    Date: 2007–04
  3. By: Johan P. Olsen
    Keywords: democracy; administrative adaptation; institutionalisation; institutionalism; organization theory; organization theory; public administration; institutions; European Commission; political science
    Date: 2007–09–17
  4. By: Nadine Levratto (IDHE - Institutions et Dynamiques Historiques de l'Economie - [CNRS : UMR8533] - [Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I][Université Paris VIII Vincennes-Saint Denis][Université de Paris X - Nanterre] - [Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan], EUROMED MARSEILLE - Ecole de Management)
    Abstract: The evolutions of the bankruptcy law seek to reach many aims: economic safety, firms’ creation and expansion in a capitalist economy, protection of the interests of the agents involved in transactions that goes far beyond creditors and debtors, and prolongation of the activity of viable firms. This contribution examines the French insolvency law and its transformations since the 19th century from a historical and concrete point of view which makes it possible to put in perspective the modifications and the uses of the legal rules in an economic and institutional context. The underlying assumptions and the main results contradict the conclusions of the Law and Economics theory which insist on the weak economic efficiency and the low ability to protect creditors’ interest of the bankruptcy law. We show that far from being only one means of selection thanks to which the market could be cleared of its failing agents, the bankruptcy law opens a non commercial space of resolution of the failures of market which, by releasing the actors of their former constraints, authorizes them to reinstate the business world.
    Keywords: Bankruptcy, Law and economics, insolvency, Doing Business
    Date: 2007–05
  5. 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 COHESION SOCIALE - [CONSEIL DE L'EMPLOI, DES REVENUS ET DE LA COHESION SOCIALE])
    Abstract: We propose an extension of Harsanyi's Impartial Observer Theorem based on the representation of ignorance as the set of all possible probability distributions over individuals. We obtain a characterization of the observer's preferences that, under our most restrictive conditions, is a convex combination of Harsanyi's utilitarian and Rawls' egalitarian criteria. This representation is ethically meaningful, in the sense that individuals' utilities are cardinally measurable and fully comparable. This allows us to conclude that the impartiality requirement cannot be used to decide between Rawls' and Harsanyi's positions.
    Keywords: Impartiality, Justice, Utilitarianism, Egalitarianism, Decision under ignorance.
    Date: 2007
  6. By: Philippe Jourdon
    Abstract: La monnaie a été, jusqu’à KEYNES et FRIEDMAN, la grande absente de la littérature économique. Et, depuis eux, les relations entre cycles économiques longs (cycles de cinquante ans dits “de KONDRATIEFF” ou cycles d’une centaine d’années dits “de MODELSKI” ou “de GOLDSTEIN”) et la monnaie ont été à leur tour absentes des débats. Enfin, ces deux premiers manques de la théorie constituent peut-être une explication pour laquelle les relations logiques et chronologiques entre cycles des affaires d’une part, et cycles longs d’autre part, ont été si peu et donc si mal explorées. Pourtant, c’est bien dans ces trois directions qu’il faudrait rechercher une nouvelle théorie de la monnaie, plus dynamique que les précédentes (où des modèles de gestion pourraient permettre à un public plus large qu’à l’accoutumée de s’approprier cette monnaie, de la gérer et de la gouverner) et où la théorie économique s’enracinerait cependant davantage aussi dans l’anthropologie. Nous montrons donc les relations fluctuantes entre ces trois théories (macro économie monétaire, théorie des cycles longs, gestion des liens entre les cycles des affaires et les cycles longs) depuis les premières théories des cycles, jusqu’aux dernières théories de la monnaie (l’optique anthropologique d’AGLIETTA et ORLEAN) et les dernières théories des cycles longs (les cycles longs politiques, hégémoniques, monétaires) depuis les années 1980. Nous pouvons alors proposer deux modèles économiques orientés gestion, et inspirés des modèles du spécialiste en marketing et stratégie, PORTER, pour gérer la monnaie dans un tel nouveau paradigme par défaut. Il s’agira, d’une part, du Diamant Appliqué à la Monnaie (D.A.M.), qui montre les relations dynamiques, et permanentes, entre quatre éléments qui résident soit du côté des idées soit du côté des outils de gestion des faits tangibles, afin de prendre en compte cette nouvelle dimension de la monnaie, construite le long du cycle long au détour d’une double perception de la monnaie et du cycle, consciente-immédiate d’une part, et inconsciente (mais perceptible au travers du cycle long) d’autre part. Ces quatre dimensions seraient selon nous marxisme et psychanalyse, techniques traditionnelles de gestion monétaire (tirées du monétarisme ou du keynésianisme) et techniques logistiques. Ensuite, la Chaîne de Valeur de la Monnaie explique comment cette monnaie est construite dans les représentations et dans les faits, et donc devient apte à gérer le réel et à être gérée par l’humain, au terme du cycle long. Nous concluons, après avoir évoqué l’espace de débat ainsi ouvert et indiqué quelques directions, en rappelant que notre démarche de recherche vise à réfléchir davantage à “la dimension sociale de la monnaie” – et pas seulement la dimension sociale de la politique monétaire – et en évoquant les rythmes suivant lesquels cette perception et les moyens de gestion qu’elle donne par conséquent, se dévoilent au fil du cycle long.
    Date: 2007–10
  7. By: Cláudio Gontijo (UFMG)
    Abstract: This article seeks to show that, in spite of major steps towards getting close to reality, new-Keynesian macroeconomics is still full of difficulties, like the "ad hoc" hypothesis used to explain the non neutrality of money and the existence of disequilibria in the short run. In particular, price and wage rigidities - which are recognized as "stylized facts" - seem to stand in sandy bases, while it seems problematic to derive the IS and LM curves from its neoclassical fundamentals. In this sense, the connections between the short run and the long run, which includes the relationships between the interest rate and money and between money and output do not seem consistent. Finally, the challenge of the neoclassical fundamentals posed by Joan Robinson and Sraffa criticisms remain largely uncontested.
    JEL: B22
    Date: 2007–10

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