nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2008‒02‒09
nine papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. Probability and Uncertainty in Economic Modeling, Second Version By Itzhak Gilboa; Andrew Postlewaite; David Schmeidler
  3. John Maynard Keynes and Ludwig von Mises on Probability By van den Hauwe, Ludwig
  4. ”Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren” 75 Years after: A Global Perspective By Fabrizio Zilibotti
  5. Relating the Philosophy and Practice of Ecological Economics. The Role of Concepts, Models, and Case Studies in Inter- and Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research By Stefan Baumgärtner; Christian Becker; Karin Frank; Birgit Müller; Martin F. Quaas
  6. Friedman’s Methodology: A Puzzle and A Proposal for Generating Useful Debates through Causal Comparisons By Khan, Haider
  7. Problem- and policy-analyis for human development: Sen in the light of Dewey, Myrdal, Streeten, Stretton and Haq. By Des Gasper
  8. What is Globalisation and What is Not?: A Political Economy Perspective By Turan Subasat
  9. Which development for the 21st century ? Reflections on sustainable development\r\n (In French) By Eric BERR (GREThA-GRES)

  1. By: Itzhak Gilboa (Department of Economic, Tel-Aviv University); Andrew Postlewaite (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania); David Schmeidler (Department of Economics, Ohio State University)
    Abstract: Economic modeling assumes, for the most part, that agents are Bayesian, that is, that they entertain probabilistic beliefs, objective or subjective, regarding any event in question. We argue that the formation of such beliefs calls for a deeper examination and for explicit modeling. Models of belief formation may enhance our understanding of the probabilistic beliefs when these exist, and may also help up characterize situations in which entertaining such beliefs is neither realistic nor necessarily rational.
    Keywords: Decision making, Bayesian, Behavioral Economics
    JEL: B4 D8
    Date: 2007–08–01
  2. By: Bill Gibson (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
    Abstract: Professor Crotty once casually observed that in his view economics could not be properly thought of as a science. This paper investigates the implications of this view in light of the question of how the scientific method has recently contributed to the evolution of economic practice. It is argued that agent-based models might provide a platform for an integration of recent micro and macroeconomic theories.
    Keywords: Agent-based models, macroeconomics, Keynes, James Crotty.
    Date: 2008–01
  3. By: van den Hauwe, Ludwig
    Abstract: The economic paradigms of Ludwig von Mises on the one hand and of John Maynard Keynes on the other have been correctly recognized as antithetical at the theoretical level, and as antagonistic with respect to their practical and public policy implications. Characteristically they have also been vindicated by opposing sides of the political spectrum. Nevertheless the respective views of these authors with respect to the meaning and interpretation of probability exhibit a closer conceptual affinity than has been acknowledged in the literature. In particular it is argued that in some relevant respects Ludwig von Mises´ interpretation of the concept of probability exhibits a closer affinity with the interpretation of probability developed by his opponent John Maynard Keynes than with the views on probability espoused by his brother Richard von Mises. Nevertheless there also exist significant differences between the views of Ludwig von Mises and those of John Maynard Keynes with respect to probability. One of these is highlighted more particularly: where John Maynard Keynes advocated a monist view of probability, Ludwig von Mises embraced a dualist view of probability, according to which the concept of probability has two different meanings each of which is valid in a particular area or context. It is concluded that both John Maynard Keynes and Ludwig von Mises presented highly nuanced views with respect to the meaning and interpretation of probability.
    Keywords: General Methodology; Austrian Methodology; Keynesian Methodology; Quantitative and Qualitative Probability Concepts: Meaning and Interpretation; Frequency Interpretation; Logical Interpretation; John Maynard Keynes; Ludwig von Mises; Richard von Mises;
    JEL: B50 B53 B40 B49 C00 B00
    Date: 2007–03–12
  4. By: Fabrizio Zilibotti
    Abstract: In the heart of the Great Crisis, amidst great uncertainty and concerns surrounding the future of capitalism, John Maynard Keynes launched his optimistic prophecy that growth and technological change would allow mankind to solve its economic problem within a century. He envisioned a world where people would work much less and be less oppressed by the satisfaction of material needs. To what extent have his predictions turned out to be accurate? This essays attempts to provide some answers.
    Keywords: Capitalism, Consumption, Environmental Sustainability, Growth, Keynes, Leisure.
    JEL: B31 E12 E66 I31 J22
    Date: 2007–12
  5. By: Stefan Baumgärtner (Centre for Sustainability, Leuphana University of Lüneburg); Christian Becker (Research Centre for Environmental Economics, University of Heidelberg, Germany); Karin Frank (Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research,Leipzig, Germany); Birgit Müller (Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research,Leipzig, Germany); Martin F. Quaas (Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ-Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle)
    Abstract: We develop a comprehensive multi-level approach to ecological economics (CML-approach) which integrates philosophical considerations on the foundations of ecological economics with an adequate operationalization. We argue that the subject matter and aims of ecological economics require a specific combination of inter- and transdisciplinary research, and discuss the epistemological position on which this approach is based. In accordance with this understanding of inter- and transdisciplinarity and the underlying epistemological position, we develop an operationalization which comprises simultaneous analysis on three levels of abstraction: concepts, models and case studies. We explain these levels in detail, and, in particular, deduce our way of generic modeling in this context. Finally, we illustrate the CML-approach and demonstrate its fruitfulness by the example of the sustainable management of semi-arid rangelands.
    Keywords: ecological economics, interdisciplinarity, philosophy of science,transdisciplinarity
    Date: 2008–01
  6. By: Khan, Haider
    Abstract: Milton Friedman’s “The Methodology of Positive Economies” is still one of the most widely read pieces on economic methodology. One reason for this might be Friedman’s attractive proposal that economists use theories and hypotheses as pragmatic devices to summarize data and make predictions over the relevant range of observations. Logically, this should lead to a fair minded comparison among many contending theories. However, Friedman's actual examples and discussion of these examples raise a puzzle. The field of comparison seems unduly narrow from the beginning. In my attempt to resolve this, I consider some logical and ontological problems for Friedman's position. I end up by suggesting a scientific realist approach to testing theories by causal comparisons over a wide field of contending theories.
    Keywords: economic methodology;Milton Friedman's methodology;logic and and ontology;causal comparisons;scientific realism
    JEL: A10 B41
    Date: 2005
  7. By: Des Gasper
    Abstract: Much of Amartya Sen�s work has been directly policy-related, but his methodology of policy analysis has not been explained in detail. Action-related social science involves value-imbued procedures that guide the numerous unavoidable choices. This theme was explored earlier by authors close to Sen�s milieu such as Streeten and Stretton, and by forerunners including Dewey and Myrdal. Assisted by Jean Dr�ze, Sen has evolved a form of policy analysis guided by humanist values rather than those of mainstream economics. Features of the methodology include: 1) A wider range of values employed in valuation, with central attention to: how do and can people live? 2) Conceptual investigation of the wider range of values. 3) Use of the wider range of values to guide choice of topics and boundaries of analysis. 4) Hence a focus on human realities, not on an arbitrary slice of reality selected according to commercial significance and convenience for measurement. 5) Use of the wider range of values to guide other decisions in analysis; thus a focus on the socio-economic significance of results. 6) A matching focus on a wide range of potential policy means. The paper characterizes Sen�s policy analysis methodology, its roots in earlier work, and its relations to the UNDP Human Development approach and kindred approaches.
    Keywords: policy analysis, human development, entitlements approach, capability approach
    Date: 2007
  8. By: Turan Subasat (Department of Economics, Izmir University of Economics)
    Abstract: Despite the widespread use of the concept there is neither a consistent theoretical construction nor a clear definition of globalisation. Although the debate between pro and anti globalisation scholars and activists is interesting, it largely fails to address globalisation as a fundamental structural transformation of modern capitalism from a historical perspective and tends to reduce it to a re-articulation of the old debate on states versus markets. The first aim of this paper is to provide a clearer definition of globalisation which will be helpful in assessing the validity of various arguments surrounding the concept of globalisation, including whether such a process exists. Then an alternative interpretation of globalisation viewed from a political economy perspective will be introduced. It will be argued that internationalisation in the form of increased trade and foreign direct investment is the nature of capitalist accumulation process, thus, cannot be impeded. This accumulation process necessarily creates its own ideological climate to facilitate acceptance of the doctrine and to justify the economic and social problems it creates. Finally it will argue that there is a globalisation tendency since increased internationalisation inevitably weakens the role of nation states by transferring some of their functions to newly created supranational states that are created by the dynamics of this internationalisation process.
    Keywords: Globalisation; Political Economy; International Trade Organizations
    JEL: B5 B51 F13 F15 F21 F23 F36 P12 P16
    Date: 2008–02
  9. By: Eric BERR (GREThA-GRES)
    Abstract: The objective of this paper, which synthesizes various researches, is twofold. First, starting from empirical studies, we show that development policies implemented since the beginning of the international debt crisis of 1982 led to a failure, showing that the Washington consensus based approach of development is unsustainable. Thus, from a heterodox perspective, we investigate the theoretical debate aiming at constructing a strong sustainability.
    Keywords: Washington consensus, sustainable development, debt, Keynes, post Keynesians
    JEL: B31 E12
    Date: 2008

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