nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2008‒06‒13
fourteen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Chicago

  1. 'Economic Geometry': Marshall's and Other Early Representations of Demand and Supply. By Roy Grieve
  2. Keynes, Sraffa and the Emergence of the General Theory: Some Thoughts By Roy Grieve
  3. SEN’S ECONOMIC PHILOSOPHY Capabilities and Human Development in the Revival of Economics as a Moral Science By L.A. Duhs
  4. FROM GALBRAITH TO KRUGMAN AND BACK Galbraith, Krugman and ‘Good Economics’ By L.A. Duhs
  5. Zeitschriftenrankings für die Wirtschaftswissenschaften Konstruktion eines umfassenden Metaindexes By Susanne Warning; Christian Wiermann; Günther G. Schulze
  6. Ontological issues in evolutionary economics: The debate between Generalized Darwinism and the Continuity Hypothesis By Jack Vromen
  7. Heterodox Economics and Dissemination of Research through the Internet: the Experience of RePEc and NEP By Marco Novarese; Christian Zimmermann
  8. The Corporate Governance of Benedictine Abbeys: What can Stock Corporations Learn from Monasteries? By Katja Rost; Emil Inauen; Margit Osterloh; Bruno S. Frey
  9. A Moral Approach to Global Warming Policy By Seo, S. Niggol
  10. The Economics of Scientific Misconduct. By Nicola Lacetera; Lorenzo Zirulia
  11. Why Are Market Economies Politically Stable? A Theory of Capitalist Cohesion By Dalgaard, C.; Olsson, O.
  12. In Defence of the Linear Model: An Essay. By Margherita Balconi; Stefano Brusoni; Luigi Orsenigo
  13. Economics and Ideology: Causal Evidence of the Impact of Economic Conditions on Support for Redistribution and Other Ballot Proposals By Eric Brunner; Stephen L. Ross; Ebonya Washington
  14. Schools, Skills, and Synapses By James J. Heckman

  1. By: Roy Grieve (Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde)
    Abstract: Does an apparent (minor) anomaly, said to occur not infrequently in elementary expositions of supply and demand theory, really imply – as seems to be suggested – that there is something a bit odd about Marshall’s diagrammatic handling of demand and supply? On investigation, we find some interesting differences of focus and exposition amongst the theorists who first developed the ‘geometric’ treatment of demand and supply, but find no reason, despite his differences from other marginalist pioneers such as Cournot, Dupuit and Walras, to consider Marshall’s treatment either as unconventional or forced, or as to regard him as the ‘odd man out’.
    Keywords: Marshall; Marginalist Pioneers; Diagrammatic Conventions
    JEL: B13
    Date: 2008–04
  2. By: Roy Grieve (Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde)
    Abstract: This note looks into the issue of whether or not Sraffa had any significant influence on Keynes’s thinking in the period of preparation of the General Theory. Questioning the view recently expressed by Pasinetti (2007), we suggest there is reason to surmise that Sraffa may have pointed Keynes to a way of escape from the traditional conception of the rate of interest, a line of thought which Keynes developed into the liquidity preference explanation of interest on money.
    Keywords: General Theory (Emergence); LIquidity Preference; Sraffa; Own Rates
    JEL: B22 B51
    Date: 2008–04
  3. By: L.A. Duhs (School of Economics, The University of Queensland)
    Abstract: Sen joins a line of economists – including Cropsey, Schumacher, Myrdal, Ward, Higgins and Etzioni – who have objected to the implicit political philosophy within orthodox neo-classical economics. He argues that the good or just society requires policies to remove all forms of “unfreedoms”, and policies to equalise the extent of capability deprivation. This capabilities approach calls for a rejection of utilitarianism, libertarianism and Rawlsianism in favour of the conception of justice provided by his putatively Smithian/Aristotelian approach. In taking the expansion of freedom to be both the principal end and the principal means of development, however, Sen ignores other philosophical positions which lead to quite different conclusions. Accordingly, his argument remains incomplete and unpersuasive, and the most fundamental questions remain to be resolved.
    Date: 2008
  4. By: L.A. Duhs (School of Economics, The University of Queensland)
    Abstract: J.K. Galbraith's heyday was in the 1950s-70s. He was one of the most cited economists of his time, and attracted much praise and blame. In 1994, Krugman was a caustic critic and dismissed Galbraith's influence as a victory of style over substance. He castigated Galbraith as but “a policy entrepreneur”, yet by 2004, Krugman appeared to have undergone a striking metamorphosis, and his New York Times columns (2000-2006) conspicuously echo Galbraith’s understanding of socio-economic issues. This newer Krugman questions consumer sovereignty, bemoans the power of producers, questions the uses to which State power is put, worries about a medical-industrial complex, and laments the hijacking of public policy by private interests. Is this new Krugman merely a journalist, who has left scientific economics behind, or has he 'seen the light' as to what really constitutes ‘good economics’ and a more holistic scientific procedure?
    Date: 2008
  5. By: Susanne Warning; Christian Wiermann; Günther G. Schulze (Department of International Economic Policy, University of Freiburg)
    Abstract: This paper constructs several meta-indexes of journal rankings from existing journal rankings which all have limited coverage. It is applicable both for researchers in the field of economics and business administration (including their respective subfields) and includes also journals which are published in German. We discuss the relative merits of meta-indexes based on peer assessment and on citations.
    Keywords: Zeitschriftenranking, Evaluation von Forschung, Meta-Index
    JEL: A11
    Date: 2008–03
  6. By: Jack Vromen
    Abstract: Hodgson and Knudsen’s Generalized Darwinism (GD) and the Continuity Hypothesis (CH) put forward by Witt are currently vying for hegemony in the ontology of evolutionary economics. GD and the CH allegedly advance rivaling Darwinian foundations for the development of full-fledged causal evolutionary economic theories. Yet upon closer inspection it is not clear that GD and the CH are mutually exclusive rivals. For one thing, GD and the CH address different sorts of issues. Whereas GD aims at identifying general features that evolutionary processes in different domains (notably the biological and economic domain) have in common, the CH takes as its starting point the causal relations that obtain between antecedent biological evolution and ongoing economic evolution. It seems the one does not exclude the other. This impression is strengthened by the fact that Hodgson endorses rather than opposes something similar to the CH. The paper argues that the critical issue in settling whether or not GD and the CH are mutually exclusive is how much substantive content is given to GD and the CH respectively. Pushed by the critique of Witt (and some of his Evolutionary Economics Group members, Cordes and Buenstorf) that GD has not fully shaken off features that are specific for the biological domain, Hodgson and Knudsen seem to take recourse to a version of GD that is so abstract and general that it is rendered virtually vacuous. As such GD can not contribute much to the development of a full-fledged domain-specific causal economic theory of processes of economic change. It seems the CH fares better in this respect. The CH does offer building blocks for evolutionary theories of consumption and of production. But the problem with the GD is that it is unclear what constructive role (if any) Darwinian evolutionary theory has played in specifying the building blocks. The paper concludes with suggesting two other ways in which Darwinian evolutionary theory might be useful for studying economic evolution.
    Keywords: Length 29 pages
    Date: 2008–06
  7. By: Marco Novarese (Universita del Piemonte Orientale); Christian Zimmermann (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: We study how the democratization of the diffusion of research through the Internet could have helped non traditional fields of research. The specific case we approach is Heterodox Economics as its pre-prints are disseminated through NEP, the email alert service of RePEc. Comparing heterodox and mainstream papers, we find that heterodox ones are quite systematically more downloaded, and particularly so when considering downloads per subscriber. We conclude that the Internet definitely helps heterodox research, also because other researcher get exposed to it. But there is still room for more participation by heterodox researchers.
    Keywords: NEP, RePEc, heterodox economics, diffusion of research
    JEL: B50 A14
    Date: 2008–05
  8. By: Katja Rost; Emil Inauen; Margit Osterloh; Bruno S. Frey
    Abstract: The corporate governance structure of monasteries is analyzed to derive new insights into solving agency problems of modern corporations. In the long history of monasteries, some abbots and monks lined their own pockets and monasteries were undisciplined. Monasteries developed special systems to check these excesses and therefore were able to survive for centuries. These features are studied from an economic perspective. Benedictine monasteries in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and German speaking Switzerland have an average lifetime of almost 500 years and only a quarter of them broke up as a result of agency problems. We argue that this is due to an appropriate governance structure, relying strongly on the intrinsic motivation of the members and on internal control mechanisms.
    Keywords: Corporate Governance, Principal-Agency-Theory, Psychological Economics, Monasteries, Benedictine Order
    JEL: D73 G3 L14 Z12
    Date: 2008–06
  9. By: Seo, S. Niggol
    Abstract: This paper examines a widespread public belief on designing a global climate policy, that is, climate change is a moral issue and should be approached with an ethical standpoint. In this paper, I pose a question of whether a global public goods such as the control of greenhouse gases can be provided efficiently with the adoption of an ethical standard. This paper finds that a global climate policy cannot rely on ethics. The main reasons are existing knowledge gaps in climate change science and economics, heterogeneous economic agents and asymmetric information among them, and the economic reality of winners and losers from the implementation of a climate policy. For a policy to work individuals should be forced to pay an optimal carbon tax regardless of one being ethical or selfish. I relate the discussions to the examples of ‘faith based initiative’, ‘voluntary approach’, and ‘zero discounting’ analysis.
    Keywords: Climate Change, Global Public Goods, Carbon Tax, Morality.
    JEL: Q5 Q54
    Date: 2008–04–07
  10. By: Nicola Lacetera (Department of Economics, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western University, Cleveland, OH, USA); Lorenzo Zirulia (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy; CESPRI, Bocconi University, Milano, Italy; and Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis)
    Abstract: Scientific fraud is a pervasive phenomenon with deleterious consequences, as it leads to false scientific knowledge being published, therefore a¤ecting major individual and public decisions. In this paper we build a game-theoretic model of the research and publication process that ana- lyzes why scientists commit fraud and how fraud can be detected and prevented. In the model, authors are asymmetrically informed about the success of their projects, and can fraudulently manipulate their results. We show four main results. First, the types of scientific frauds that are observed are unlikely to be representative of the overall amount of malfeasance in science; also, star scientists are more likely to misbehave, but are less likely to be caught than average scientists. Second, a reduction in the costs of checking for frauds may not lead to a reduction of misconduct episodes, but rather to a change in the type of research that is performed. Third, an increase in competition between scientists may in fact reduce, and not increase, scientific misconduct. Finally, a more active role of editors in checking for misconduct does not always provide additional deterrence.
    Keywords: Research and publication process, peer review, fraud.
    JEL: A14 D82 K42 O31 Z13
    Date: 2008–03
  11. By: Dalgaard, C.; Olsson, O.
    Abstract: The present paper documents that political stability is positively associated with the extent of domestic trade. In explaining this regularity, we provide a model where political cohesion is linked to the emergence of a fully functioning market economy. Without market exchange, the welfare of inherently selfish individuals will be mutually independent. As a result, political negotiations, echoing the preferences of the citizens of society, will be dog-eat-dog in nature. Whoever has greater bargaining power will be willing to make decisions that enhance the productivity of his supporters at the expense of other groups in society. If the gains from specialization become sufficiently large, however, a market economy will emerge. From being essentially non-cooperative under self-sufficiency, the political decision making process becomes cooperative in the market economy, as the welfare of individuals will be mutually interdependent due to the exchange of good.
    Keywords: Political cohesion, Economic growth
    JEL: P16 O41
    Date: 2007–10
  12. By: Margherita Balconi (University of Pavia, Pavia - Italy); Stefano Brusoni (CESPRI Bocconi University, Milan, Italy); Luigi Orsenigo (University of Brescia, Brescia - Italy; CESPRI Bocconi University, Milan - Italy and Open University, U.K.)
    Abstract: This paper has been prompted by an increasing sense of dissatisfaction with the current fashion of criticising the so-called “Linear Model” of innovation. LM). The frequency and hostility of remarks against the linear model raises the suspicion that something is wrong indeed. Why so much hostility to a concept that is unanimously recognised to be false and discredited? Is it only a (repetitive and abused) rhetorical device? Or does the LM still maintain a credibility in scientific research and policy-making that makes it useful or even necessary to constantly remind its deep shortcomings? If this is the case, why is it that despite all the evidence, the LM continues to be so influential in the policy debate? The sense of uneasiness and dissatisfaction is compounded by the recognition that it is quite hard to find in the critical literature a precise definition of the so called linear model. To a considerable extent, the LM is just a straw man around which a set of arguments is constructed concerning the process of technological innovation and the implied policy prescriptions. In this paper, we seek to probe the deep reasons of our dissatisfaction with undisciplined critiques to the “infamous” linear model and to clarify what are the main and most relevant problems that indeed the LM suffers from. Moreover, we ask whether at least some features of the linear model retain some interpretative and normative validity and if a complete and outright rejection of the LM would amount to throw the baby away with the dirty water
    Keywords: linear model, innovation, chain model, life sciences, sciences of the artificial
    JEL: O31 O32 O33
    Date: 2008–01
  13. By: Eric Brunner (Quinnipiac University); Stephen L. Ross (University of Connecticut); Ebonya Washington (Yale University)
    Abstract: There is a large literature demonstrating that positive economic conditions increase support for incumbent candidates, but little understanding of how economic conditions affect preferences for parties and for particulars of their platforms. We ask how exogenous shifts to the value of residentsÇ human capital affect voting behavior in California neighborhoods. As predicted by economic theory, we find that positive economic shocks decrease support for redistributive policies. More notably, we find that conservative voting on a wide variety of ballot propositions--from crime to gambling to campaign finance--is increasing in economic well being. We further show that positive economic circumstances decrease turnout and have a mixed impact on candidate choice, highlighting a limitation of inferring policy preferences from party choice.
    Keywords: Voting, Employment, Taxes, Expenditures
    JEL: D72 H0
    Date: 2008–06
  14. By: James J. Heckman
    Abstract: This paper discusses (a) the role of cognitive and noncognitive ability in shaping adult outcomes, (b) the early emergence of differentials in abilities between children of advantaged families and children of disadvantaged families, (c) the role of families in creating these abilities, (d) adverse trends in American families, and (e) the effectiveness of early interventions in offsetting these trends. Practical issues in the design and implementation of early childhood programs are discussed.
    JEL: A12
    Date: 2008–06

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