nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2007‒12‒19
four papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. Early development economics debates revisited By Alacevich, Michele
  2. A Connection Between Correlation in Game Theory and Quantum Mechanics By Adam Brandenburger
  3. An Interview with Avinash Dixit By Oswald, Andrew J
  4. Prejudice and The Economics of Discrimination By Kerwin Kofi Charles; Jonathan Guryan

  1. By: Alacevich, Michele
    Abstract: Development economics in its early years created the image of a fierce fight between advocates of contrasting theories or approaches- " balanced growth " vs. " unbalanced growth " or " program loans " vs. " project loans. " This view has the merit to highlight such conflicts in great detail; yet it fails to take into account the reality of development economics as it was practiced in the field. This paper reassesses these old conflicts by complementing the traditional focus on theoretical debates with an emphasis on the practice of development economics.A particularly interesting example is the debate between Albert Hirschman, one of the fathers of the " unbalanced growth " approach, and Lauchlin Currie, among the advocates of " balanced growth " on how to foster iron production in Colombia in the 1950s. An analysis of the positions held by these two economists shows that they were in fact much less antithetical than is usually held and, indeed, were in some fundamental aspects surprisingly similar. Debates among development economists during the 1950s thus must be explained-at least partially-as the natural dynamics of an emerging discipline that took shape when different groups tried to achieve supremacy-or at least legitimacy-through the creation of mutually delegitimizing systemic theories.
    Keywords: Economic Theory & Research,Banks & Banking Reform,Access to Finance,,Labor Policies
    Date: 2007–12–01
  2. By: Adam Brandenburger
    Date: 2007–12–12
  3. By: Oswald, Andrew J (Department of Economics, University of Warwick)
    Abstract: In this interview, which was recorded in 2007 to celebrate the receipt of an honorary doctorate from Warwick University, Avinash Dixit of Princeton University discusses why he is an economist and how he approaches economic research. He argues, among other things, for doing what you enjoy rather than what you feel you ought to do.
    Date: 2007
  4. By: Kerwin Kofi Charles; Jonathan Guryan
    Abstract: This paper tests the predictions about the relationship between racial prejudice and racial wage gaps from Becker's (1957) seminal work on employer discrimination - something which has not previously been done in the large economics discrimination literature. Using rich data on racial prejudice from the General Social Survey, we find strong support for all of the key predictions from Becker about the relationship between prejudice and racial wage gaps. In particular, we show that, relative to white wages, black wages: (a) vary negatively with a measure of the prejudice of the "marginal" white in a state; (b) vary negatively with the prejudice in the lower tail of the prejudice distribution, but are unaffected by the prejudice of the most prejudiced persons in a state; and (c) vary negatively with the fraction of a state that is black. We show that these results are robust to a variety of extensions, including directly controlling for racial skill quality differences and instrumental variables estimates. We present some initial evidence to show that racial wage gaps are larger the more racially integrated is a state’s workforce, also as Becker's model predicts. The paper also briefly discusses familiar criticisms and extensions of the standard Becker model, including an argument of our own which, like some recent work, shows that the model's main predictions can be shown theoretically to survive the effects of long run competition.
    JEL: J01 J7
    Date: 2007–11

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