nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2008‒02‒02
eight papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. Rhetorical Dualism and the Orthodox/Heterdox Distinction in Economics By Andrew Mearman
  2. Anthropological and ethical foundations of organization theory By Argandoña, Antonio
  3. Freedom and Rationality By Christophe Salvat
  4. Replicating Marx: a Reply to Mohun By Kliman, Andrew; Freeman, Alan
  5. Does Benford’s law hold in economic research and forecasting? By Günnel, Stefan; Tödter, Karl-Heinz
  6. Autorité morale et autorité By Christophe Salvat
  7. Income Distribution and Inequality By Frank A Cowell
  8. Towards a Unified Theory of Economic Growth: Oded Galor on the Transition from Malthusian Stagnation to Modern Economic Growth By Brian Snowdon

  1. By: Andrew Mearman (School of Economics, University of the West of England, Bristol)
    Abstract: This paper attempts to combine elements of the approaches of two influential economists, Sheila Dow and Deirdre McCloskey and expands on previous work (2005) on Dow’s concept of dualism. A concept of rhetorical dualism is developed: dualism (defined variously) engaged in for a rhetorical purpose. It is argued by way of example case studies that rhetorical dualism is a significant feature of economics and that several influential authors have engaged in it. Further rhetorical dualism is shown to be prevalent in the current orthodox/heterodox distinction, and in the arguments of heterodox economists; but also that this distinction and type of distinction are unhelpful.
    Keywords: Rhetoric; dualism; heterodox economics
    JEL: B41
    Date: 2008–01
  2. By: Argandoña, Antonio (IESE Business School)
    Abstract: The ever more frequent and forceful criticisms of management sciences suggest that we need a new model. In fact, the number of proposed alternatives has multiplied, with some suggesting that the range of economic points of departure be extended, while others turn to other sciences (sociology, psychology, neuroeconomics, political sciences, philosophy) for their inspiration. This article suggests returning to the origins of economic science, action theory, with a broader approach that takes in the contributions of realist philosophy (Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas), with a view to laying the foundations for a richer organizational theory in which ethics plays a clearer role.
    Keywords: action theory; ethics; management; moral virtues; organization theory;
    Date: 2007–09–07
  3. By: Christophe Salvat (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - CNRS : UMR6579)
    Abstract: This paper deals with Rousseau’s idea of freedom in terms of rationality and deliberation. It gives support to Berlin’s interpretation of the general will as a rational and objective will but dismisses the idea that Rousseau’s theory necessarily leads to authoritarianism. The general will, publicly expressed by the law, may be defined as the rational and self-regarding will agents would have if put in an independent and objective state, i.e. the state of nature. The general and the particular will, henceforth considered from an individual point of view, theoretically constitute two alternative choices for an agent. A special focus will then be placed on the function of the law in the process of individual deliberation. By signalling the general will, the law urges individuals to deliberate and to question the autonomy of their preferences. I shall argue that citizenship denotes for Rousseau the tendency of individuals to favour the general will and to master their natural weakness of will. The achievement of citizenship, however, strongly relies upon man’s identification with the community, i.e. patriotism, and upon the emotions stirred by the potential death of the body politic.
    Keywords: Rousseau ; Rationality; Freedom ; Deliberation, Emotions
    Date: 2008–01–24
  4. By: Kliman, Andrew; Freeman, Alan
    Abstract: This is a prepublication version of ‘Replicating Marx: a reply to Mohun’, Capital and Class No. 88, Spring 2006, pp 117-123. ISSN 0309 8168 Kliman (2001) showed that “simultaneist” interpretations – those which hold that Marx valued inputs and outputs simultaneously – contradict his exploitation theory of profit, while the temporal single-system interpretation (TSSI) conforms to it. Mohun, S. 2003. “On the TSSI and the Exploitation Theory of Profit,” Capital and Class 81, Autumn 2003, pp85-102. calls these demonstrations into question. This note defends them.
    Keywords: Value; Price; Money; Labour; Marx; MELT; Okishio; TSSI; temporalism; rate of profit.
    JEL: B5 B51 B14 B4 B31 B12
    Date: 2006–04
  5. By: Günnel, Stefan; Tödter, Karl-Heinz
    Abstract: First and higher order digits in data sets of natural and socio-economic processes often follow a distribution called Benford’s law. This phenomenon has been used in many business and scientific applications, especially in fraud detection for financial data. In this paper, we analyse whether Benford’s law holds in economic research and forecasting. First, we examine the distribution of leading digits of regression coefficients and standard errors in research papers, published in Empirica and Applied Economics Letters. Second, we analyse forecasts of GDP growth and CPI inflation in Germany, published in Consensus Forecasts. There are two main findings: The relative frequencies of the first and second digits in economic research are broadly consistent with Benford’s law. In sharp contrast, the second digits of Consensus Forecasts exhibit a massive excess of zeros and fives, raising doubts on their information content.
    Keywords: Benford’s Law, fraud detection, regression coefficients and standard errors, growth and inflation forecasts
    JEL: C12 C52 C8
    Date: 2007
  6. By: Christophe Salvat (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales - CNRS : UMR6579)
    Abstract: La notion de souveraineté renvoie généralement dans la tradition rousseauiste à la souveraineté du corps politique et non à celle des individus comme c'est le cas dans les théories du droit naturel. Rousseau, pourtant, ne cède jamais à la tentation holiste. L'individu, et sa protection, reste au fondement de son système. L'objet de cet article est de questionner le concept d'autonomie morale, en particulier dans sa relation à l'autorité, et de mettre en exergue les effets positifs, notamment en terme de rationalité, de la loi.
    Keywords: Rousseau, volonté, hétéronomie, liberté
    Date: 2007–12–30
  7. By: Frank A Cowell
    Abstract: What are the principal issues on which research on income distributionand inequality focus? How might that focus shift in the immediate future?Prepared for the The Elgar Handbook of Socio-Economics.
    JEL: C13 D63
    Date: 2007–10
  8. By: Brian Snowdon
    Abstract: An interview with Oded Galor on the development of unified growth theory.
    Keywords: Unified Growth Theory; Population; Technology; Demographic Transition; Sustained Growth
    Date: 2008

This nep-hpe issue is ©2008 by Erik Thomson. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.