nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2008‒02‒23
thirteen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. La performativité des sciences économiques By Fabian Muniesa; Michel Callon
  2. On the Scientific Status of Economic Policy: A Tale of Alternative Paradigms By Giorgio Fagiolo; Andrea Roventini
  3. The Baltic Exchange: Mutual Influences between Economists in the German and Swedish Language Areas By Sandelin, Bo; Trautwein, Hans-Michael
  4. The Remarkable Place of the UV-Curve in Economic Theory By Peter Rodenburg
  5. Poverty Measurement in Economics (In French) By Patrick MOYES (GREThA)
  6. Inequality, Happiness and Relative Concerns: What Actually is their Relationship? By Ed Hopkins
  7. The Problem of Internalisation of Social Costs and the Ideas of Ronald Coase By Enrico, Baffi
  8. Economic distress and discourse : the rise of a corporatist rhetoric in Northern Spain after World War I By Juan Carlos Rojo Cagigal
  9. Neuroeconomics: A Critical Reconsideration By Glenn W Harrison
  10. Why do I like people like me? By Manuel F. Bagues; Maria Jose Perez Villadoniga
  11. The History of the Quantitative Methods in Finance Conference Series. 1992-2007 By Carl Chiarella; Eckhard Platen
  12. Emotion Expression and Fairness in Economic Exchange By Erte Xiao; Daniel Houser
  13. Time Aggregation and the Contradictions with Causal Relationships: Can Economic Theory Come to the Rescue? By Rangan Gupta; Kibii Komen

  1. By: Fabian Muniesa (Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation, Ecole des Mines de Paris); Michel Callon (Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation, Ecole des Mines de Paris)
    Abstract: Provides some theoretical developments on the topic of the performativity of economics.
    Keywords: Performativity, economics, economic sociology, anthropology, science and technology studies, actor-network theory
    JEL: A11 A12 A13 A14 B20 C93 D01 D02 D40 D44 E26 E27 L10 L33 M30 M40 N00 O10 O30 O31 O33 Z13
    Date: 2008–02
  2. By: Giorgio Fagiolo; Andrea Roventini
    Abstract: In the last years, a number of contributions has argued that monetary -- and, more generally, economic -- policy is finally becoming more of a science. According to these authors, policy rules implemented by central banks are nowadays well supported by a theoretical framework (the New Neoclassical Synthesis) upon which a general consensus has emerged in the economic profession. In other words, scientific discussion on economic policy seems to be ultimately confined to either fine-tuning this "consensus" model, or assessing the extent to which "elements of art" still exist in the conduct of monetary policy. In this paper, we present a substantially opposite view, rooted in a critical discussion of the theoretical, empirical and political-economy pitfalls of the neoclassical approach to policy analysis. Our discussion indicates that we are still far from building a science of economic policy. We suggest that a more fruitful research avenue to pursue is to explore alternative theoretical paradigms, which can escape the strong theoretical requirements of neoclassical models (e.g., equilibrium, rationality, etc.). We briefly introduce one of the most successful alternative research projects -- known in the literature as agent-based computational economics (ACE) -- and we present the way it has been applied to policy analysis issues. We conclude by discussing the methodological status of ACE, as well as the (many) problems it raises.
    Keywords: Economic Policy, Monetary Policy, New Neoclassical Synthesis, New Keynesian Models, DSGE Models, Agent-Based Computational Economics, Agent-Based Models, Post-Walrasian Macroeconomics, Evolutionary Economics.
    Date: 2008–02–14
  3. By: Sandelin, Bo (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Trautwein, Hans-Michael (Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg)
    Abstract: In the 19th and 20th centuries economists of the German and Swedish language areas strongly influenced each other and made significant contributions to the development and critique of neoclassical economics. In our paper, we focus on the prominent contributions of Wicksell, Cassel, Hayek and Myrdal, but consider also others, such as Lutz, Neisser, Palander and Schneider. It might look far fetched to describe their interaction as a “Baltic exchange”, since (for example) Vienna is not part of that region. But history and geographical proximity made German the scientific language for Scandinavian academics in the 19th century, helping Swedish economists to spread their ideas widely on the Continent, before they made an impact in the English language area. Much of the interaction happened indeed close to the Baltic Sea. In the paper we discuss the German influence on Swedish economics that occurred mainly before the First World War, and the Swedish influence on German economics, mainly thereafter. We provide biographical, bibliographical and textual evidence for an exchange of ideas that has stimulated the development of economics far beyond the Baltic Sea.<p>
    Keywords: Germany; Sweden; influence; history of economic thought
    JEL: B10 B20
    Date: 2008–02–15
  4. By: Peter Rodenburg (University of Amsterdam)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of the impact the UV-curve had on economic theory and to provide an account of the subsequent radical changes in its place and role over the decades since its first appearance in 1958. The paper traces the historical development of the UV-curve and argues that the role of the UV-curve has changed from a measuring device to a graphical representation of full employment to an axiom necessary for matching models of unemployment. This changing role is best understood in the light of a paradigmatic change from Keynesianism to neoclassical search theory.
    Keywords: UV-curve; Beveridge curve; UV-analysis; Matching models; Theories of Unemployment; History of Economic Thought; Induction; Full employment; Measurement of unemployment
    JEL: B E J
    Date: 2007–11–16
  5. By: Patrick MOYES (GREThA)
    Abstract: This paper gives an overview of the way the issue of poverty measurement is typically addressed in economics. After having briefly defined what is meant by poverty in economics, I examine successively the unidimensional approach to poverty based on the income or expenses, and the multidimensional approach, which introduces non-monetary attributes in addition to income. Particular emphasis is placed on those properties of the poverty measures, that are deemed reasonable, and on their implications for the structure of the corresponding indices. I also insist on the dominance approach, which allows one to take into account a large range of points of views concerning the way poverty should be assessed.
    Keywords: Poverty, Indices, Stochastic dominance
    JEL: D30 D63 I32
    Date: 2008
  6. By: Ed Hopkins
    Abstract: This paper briefly and informally surveys different theoretical models of relative concerns and their relation to inequality. Models of inequity aversion in common use in experimental economics imply a negative relation between inequality and happiness. In contrast, empirical studies on happiness typically employ models of relative concerns that assume that increases in others’ income always have a negative effect on own happiness. However, in these latter models, the relation between inequality and happiness can be positive. One possible solution is a rivalry model where a distinction is made between endowment and reward inequality which have respectively a negative and positive effect on happiness. These different models and their contrasting results may clarify why the empirical relationship between inequality and happiness has been difficult to establish.
    Keywords: : inequality, relative position, social preferences, tournaments, evolution.
    Date: 2008–02–11
  7. By: Enrico, Baffi
    Abstract: This work examines the influence of Coasian thought on the analysis of externalities as used by economists and legal economists. Ronald Coase, a Chicago scholar, advanced a series of critiques of the Pigovian tax system; the theorem that bears his name is merely the best known. In his 1960 work, he sought to demonstrate that the internationalisation of social costs was not always socially useful. In addition, he identified other institutional solutions to which systems can - and often do - resort. One of these solutions is to simply authorise the harmful activity without introducing mechanisms to internalise social costs. Beyond the abstraction of his ideas, Coase's method of analysis has not had a great influence on economists' thinking. His theorem, as it is commonly known, looks more like an elegant, abstract reflection then a tool for identifying institutional solutions to concrete societal problems. Among legal economists, however, Coase's teachings have had a greater influence. Unfortunately, even within this group of scholars, the conviction that external costs should, optimally, be internalised often emerges almost unconsciously in their literature. The risk inherent in this attitude lies in the possibility of finding systems for internalising social costs in legal institutions which do not appear to have such an underlying logic, as for example some kinds of tort liability.
    JEL: D62 H20 K10 H23 D60
    Date: 2007–02–20
  8. By: Juan Carlos Rojo Cagigal
    Abstract: The paper explores the relationship between language and economy, between text and context, through a case study: the Basque region in northern Spain during World War I and the immediate postwar years. Using some tools of quantitative and qualitative analysis, I try to dissect the process of production and interpretation of the corporatist discourse, and then relate it to the evolution of the economy and the interests of the local economic elites. Contrary to the widespread Foucaldian theory, which focuses on the intrinsic structure of discourse, the results suggest that more attention should be paid to the context in explaining the process of discourse production.
    Keywords: Economic crisis, Discourse, Language, Communication, Economic elites, Political economy, Rhetoric, Corporatism, World War I, Spain
    JEL: N14 N44 N94
    Date: 2008–01
  9. By: Glenn W Harrison
    Date: 2008–02–18
  10. By: Manuel F. Bagues; Maria Jose Perez Villadoniga
    Abstract: In many dimensions the ability to assess knowledge depends critically on the observer's own knowledge of that dimension. Building on this feature, this paper offers both theoretical and empirical evidence showing that, in those tasks where multidisciplinary knowledge is required, evaluations exhibit a similar-to-me effect: candidates who excel in the same dimensions as the evaluator tend to be ranked relatively higher. It is also shown that, if races or genders differ in their distribution of ability, group discrimination will arise unless evaluators (i) are well informed about the extent of intergroup differences and (ii) they may condition their assessments on candidates' group belonging.
    Keywords: Statistical discrimination, Evaluation biases
    JEL: J71 D82
    Date: 2008–02
  11. By: Carl Chiarella (School of Finance and Economics, University of Technology, Sydney); Eckhard Platen (School of Finance and Economics, University of Technology, Sydney)
    Abstract: This report charts the history of the Quantitative Methods in Finance (QMF) conference from its beginning in 1993 to the 15th conference in 2007. It lists alphabetically the 1037 speakers who presented at all 15 conferences and the titles of their papers.
    Date: 2007–12–01
  12. By: Erte Xiao; Daniel Houser (Interdsciplinary Center for Economic Science, George Mason University)
    Abstract: Research in economics and psychology has established that informal sanctions,particularly expressions of negative emotion, can enforce fair economic exchange. However, scholars are only beginning to understand the reasons informal sanctions affect economic outcomes. Here we provide direct empirical evidence that a preference to avoid negative emotion expression plays an important role in promoting fair exchange. We study one-shot Dictator games, where one subject has the right to determine a division of an amount of money between herself and her receiver. In relation to the standard game, there are significantly less profit-maximizing offers when receivers can react to offers with ex post written messages. Our data provide new perspectives on roles communication systems play in promoting economic efficiency in social environments, and support economic theories of decision that incorporate psychological factors such as guilt and self-deception.
    Keywords: emotions, fairness, ultimatum games
    JEL: C92 D63
    Date: 2007–11
  13. By: Rangan Gupta (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria); Kibii Komen (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria)
    Abstract: The literature on causality takes contradictory stands regarding the direction of causal relationships based on whether one uses temporally aggregated or systematically sampled data. Using the relationship between a nominal target and the instrument used to achieve it, as an example, we show that one can fall back upon the data in itself, and analyse it from the perspective of economic theory, not only as a source of second opinion to econometric theories and Monte Carlo simulations, but also to draw proper conclusions regarding the form of the causal relationship that might be actually existing in the data.
    Keywords: Temporal Aggregation, Systematic Sampling, Granger Causality, Cointegration, Error Correction Models
    JEL: C15 C32 C43
    Date: 2008–02

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