nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2009‒01‒17
eighteen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. National Income in Domesday England By James Walker
  2. Classifying Monetary Economics: Fields and Methods from Past to Future By Philip Arestis; Alexander Mihailov
  4. Growth, the Environment and Keynes: Reflections on Two Heterodox Schools of Thought By Clive L Spash; Heinz Schandl
  5. Perspectives on Preference Aggregation By Regenwetter, Michel
  6. Infinite Responsibility: An expression of Saintliness By Conceição Soares
  7. Happiness and Economics: A Buddhist Perspective By Colin Ash
  8. Bridges in social capital: A review of the definitions and the social capital of social capital researchers By Akcomak, Semih
  9. Fictitious Capital and Crises By Meacci, Ferdinando
  10. Induction, complexity, and economic methodology By Smith, Peter
  11. Some Issues of Methods, Theories, and Experimental Designs By James C. Cox
  12. The Social Significance of Homogamy By Brynin M; Longhi S; Martínez pérez Ã
  13. Rational expectations in urban economics By Berliant, Marcus; Yu, Chia-Ming
  14. L'expérimentation : un autre agir politique By Yannick Barthe; Dominique Linhardt
  15. Les marchés financiers sont-ils politiquement corrects ? By Sebastián Nieto Parra; Javier Santiso
  16. If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! Survey design and the analysis of satisfaction By Conti G; Pudney S
  17. The last of the American ag economists By Epperson, J.E.
  18. Comparing the Early Research Performance of PhD Graduates in Labor Economics in Europe and the USA By Ana Rute Cardoso; Paulo Guimarães; Klaus F. Zimmermann

  1. By: James Walker (School of Management, University of Reading)
    Abstract: The Domesday Survey provides the first comprehensive national survey of any economy. The availability of two complementary data sources allows a direct estimate of Tenant-in-Chief’s lands from the Survey. By providing a means to identifying the extent of arable activity outside the demesne, as well as the extent that ploughs working on the lords estates were active in the peasant economy, we provide a transparent method of estimating the extent of non-seigniorial production. After incorporating a series of other elements valued in the Survey, and adding these to the seigniorial and non-seigniorial agricultural production estimates, we derive an estimate for the income of Domesday England in 1086. The findings are consistent with an important interpretation of the Domesday text proposed by Bridbury that is further developed conceptually. Furthermore, a ‘full capacity’ 1086 estimate, determined under differing assumptions concerning population, price, and climatic conditions, is compared against recent estimates for the earliest benchmark period circa 1300.
    Keywords: Domesday England, income, long-run economic change.
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Philip Arestis (Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge); Alexander Mihailov (Department of Economics, University of Reading)
    Abstract: We propose a simple, yet sufficiently encompassing classification scheme of monetary economics. It comprises three fundamental fields and six recent areas that expand within and across these fields. The elements of our scheme are not found together and in their mutual relationships in earlier studies of the relevant literature, neither is this an attempt to produce a relatively complete systematization. Our intention in taking stock is not finality or exhaustiveness. We rather suggest a viewpoint and a possible ordering of the accumulating knowledge. Our hope is to stimulate an improved understanding of the evolving nature and internal consistency of monetary economics at large.
    Keywords: monetary economics, monetary theory, monetary policy, public finance, classification, methodology
    JEL: E40 E50 E60
    Date: 2008
  3. By: Andrés Álvarez; Diana Guevara; Juan Pablo García; Edwin López
    Abstract: This paper is part of a larger research project on the evolution of the Perfect Competition concept in a historical perspective. We try to follow the changes this concept has gone through from the different alternative views during the so–called “Marginal Revolution” towards the consolidation of the price–taker hypothesis. Some recent theoretical developments have underlined the importance of giving up the hypothesis of price taking agents.1 These developments plead for a different conception of the theoretical functioning of the market. This implies to model a perfectly competitive market based on strategic behaviour rather than using the traditional Walrasian conception of agents. These works intend avoiding the common trend in economic theory where imperfect competition is ncreasingly taking the place of perfect competition as the general framework because of, as has been stated by Arrow (1959), if we accept the price–taker hypothesis as the equivalent of perfect competition we have no other alternative than to introduce the Walrasian auctioneer. This ’pessimistic view’ on perfect competition pushes Arrow to postulate that in order to give a more realistic interpretation of economic reality (without the fiction of the centralizing auctioneer) we need to build imperfect competition models. The only difference with the basic Walrasian competitive model being the abandonment of the hypothesis of price–taker agents.
    Date: 2009–01–13
  4. By: Clive L Spash; Heinz Schandl (CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Australia)
    Abstract: This paper explores the approach of Post Keynesian Economics (PKE) in comparison with ecological economics. While PKE, like all macroeconomics, has failed to address environmental problems it does have many aspects which make compatibility with ecological economics seem feasible. Ecological economics has no specific macroeconomic approach although it has strong implications for economic growth and how this should be controlled, directed and in materials terms limited. We highlight growth as the key area of difference and reflect upon how Keynes himself saw capital accumulation as a means to an end not an end in itself, regarded it as a temporary measure and also was well aware of some of its psychological and social drawbacks.
    Keywords: environment, Keynes, post keynesian, ecological economics
    JEL: E12 O40 P16 Q01
    Date: 2008–12
  5. By: Regenwetter, Michel (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
    Abstract: For centuries, the mathematical aggregation of preferences by groups, organizations or society has received keen interdisciplinary attention. Extensive 20th century theoretical work in Economics and Political Science highlighted that competing notions of “rational social choice” intrinsically contradict each other. This led some researchers to consider coherent “democratic decision making” a mathematical impossibility. Recent empirical work in Psychology qualifies that view. This nontechnical review sketches a quantitative research paradigm for the behavioral investigation of mathematical social choice rules on real ballot, experimental choice, or attitudinal survey data. The paper poses a series of open questions. Some classical work sometimes makes assumptions about voter preferences that are descriptively invalid. Do such technical assumptions lead the theory astray? How can empirical work inform the formulation of meaningful theoretical primitives? Classical “impossibility results” leverage the fact that certain desirable mathematical properties logically cannot hold universally in all conceivable electorates. Do these properties nonetheless hold in empirical distributions of preferences? Will future behavioral analyses continue to contradict the expectations of established theory? Under what conditions and why do competing consensus methods yield identical outcomes?
    Date: 2008–12–15
  6. By: Conceição Soares (Faculdade de Economia e Gestão - Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Porto))
    Abstract: In this paper I will focus my attention in the distinctions embedded in standard moral philosophy, especially in the philosophy of Kant between, on the one hand, duty and supererogation on the other hand, with the aim to contrast them with the Levinas’s perspective, namely his notion of infinite responsibility. My account of Levinas’s philosophy will show that it challenges – breaking down – deeply entrenched distinctions in the dominant strands of moral philosophy, within which the theory of individual responsibility is rooted. Finally, I will argue that the notion of infinite responsibility to the Other could be viewed as an attempt to create an ethics, based on secular saintliness/holiness with individual and social consequences in our daily life.
    Keywords: Levinas, Kant, infinite responsibility, ethics
    Date: 2009–01
  7. By: Colin Ash (Department of Economics, University of Reading)
    Abstract: Economics and particularly economic policy often seems to focus almost exclusively on the growth of income and creation of wealth. However economists have always viewed Gross National Product (GNP) as an imperfect measure of human welfare. Recent research on subjective well-being (happiness) consistently confirms that there are diminishing marginal returns to income. Once basic material needs are satisfied, happiness responds more to interpersonal relationships than to income. One’s personal values and philosophy of life also matter, as do strategies and techniques for mood control and raising each individual’s baseline or set-point level of happiness. This paper briefly summarises the research findings which have led to this gradual and ongoing shift of focus. Then we take a Buddhist perspective on happiness and economics. Many of the recent research findings are consistent with Buddhist analysis, particularly its analysis of the conditioning process leading to unhappiness. Furthermore, Buddhist practices provide skilful means for the mind to control the mood. The paper ends, however, on a cautionary note: in what sense, if any, is the “greatest happiness” the Buddhist goal?
    Keywords: income; happiness; Buddhism
    Date: 2008
  8. By: Akcomak, Semih (UNU-MERIT, and Maastricht University)
    Abstract: There has been a recent surge of interest in social economics and social capital. Articles on social capital that are published in the last five years constitute more than 60 percent of all articles on social capital. Research on social capital is now massive and spans sociology, economics, management, political science and health sciences. Despite this interest there is still not a consensus on the definition and the measurement of social capital. This paper argues that this is due to lack of interaction between disciplines. The social capital of social capital researchers is low between disciplines. Different from other theories of capital, social capital theory has concurrently been developed by various disciplines and as such, advancements in social capital research could only be achieved by conducting cross-disciplinary research.
    Keywords: Capital, social capital, co-authorship network, network analysis, diffusion processes
    JEL: A13 D85 O33 Z13
    Date: 2009
  9. By: Meacci, Ferdinando
    Abstract: This paper is concerned with chapters 25-35 of Part V, The Division of Profit into Interest and Profit of Enterprise, of Volume 3 of Capital. These chapters may be properly grouped in an ideal Part to be possibly titled "Credit and Crises, or Money Capital and Fictitious Capital" and is referred to in this paper as 'the unidentified Part'. This Part should be strictly considered as a follow-up of Part IV, The Transformation of Commodity Capital and Money Capital into Commodity-Dealing Capital and Money-Dealing Capital (Merchant's Capital) in the sense that while the former deals with the role played by merchant's capital, and particularly by money-dealing capital, the latter deals with the obstruction or perversion inflicted on this role by money capital being turned into fictitious capital by an improper use of credit. The paper is structured in three ideal sections. The aim of the first section is to clear the debris of 'the unidentified Part' and to reconstruct Marx's own thinking about the nature and role of credit and of fictitious capital in relation to the concept of merchant's capital and to the phenomenon of crises. On the contrary, the second section, which is mostly focused on different forms versus different sets of crises, highlights some contradictions in Marx's unsystematic treatment of the relations between financial and real crises. The third section is derived from the arguments set out in the previous two sections. Its aim is to assess Marx's similarity with Keynes on the matter of 'money as money' and of financial crises. Its conclusion (which is also the conclusion of the paper) is that this similarity, however strong with regard to the role of money as a store of value, is bound to collapse if Marx's law of the falling rate of profit is believed to be true. For in this case the fictitious-capital theory of crises developed in 'the unidentified Part' acquires a secondary importance while financial crises come to be viewed as a typical effect, rather than as the cause, of real crises.
    Keywords: Marx; fictitious capital; money capital; financial crises
    JEL: E32 B14 E11
    Date: 1998
  10. By: Smith, Peter
    Abstract: This paper focuses on induction, because the supposed weaknesses of that process are the main reason for favouring falsificationism, which plays an important part in scientific methodology generally; the paper is part of a wider study of economic methodology. The standard objections to, and paradoxes of, induction are reviewed, and this leads to the conclusion that the supposed ‘problem’ or ‘riddle’ of induction is a false one. It is an artefact of two assumptions: that the classic two-valued logic (CL) is appropriate for the contexts in which induction is relevant; and that it is the touchstone of rational thought. The status accorded to CL is the result of historical and cultural factors. The material we need to reason about falls into four distinct domains; these are explored in turn, while progressively relaxing the restrictions that are essential to the valid application of CL. The restrictions include the requirement for a pre-existing, independently-guaranteed classification, into which we can fit all new cases with certainty; and non-ambiguous relationships between antecedents and consequents. Natural kinds, determined by the existence of complex entities whose characteristics cannot be unbundled and altered in a piecemeal, arbitrary fashion, play an important part in the review; so also does fuzzy logic (FL). These are used to resolve two famous paradoxes about induction (the grue and raven paradoxes); and the case for believing that conventional logic is a subset of fuzzy logic is outlined. The latter disposes of all questions of justifying induction deductively. The concept of problem structure is used as the basis for a structured concept of rationality that is appropriate to all four of the domains mentioned above. The rehabilitation of induction supports an alternative definition of science: that it is the business of developing networks of contrastive, constitutive explanations of reproducible, inter-subjective (‘objective’) data. Social and psychological obstacles ensure the progress of science is slow and convoluted; however, the relativist arguments against such a project are rejected.
    Keywords: induction; economics; methodology; complexity
    JEL: B41
    Date: 2009–01–12
  11. By: James C. Cox
    Abstract: null
    Date: 2009–01
  12. By: Brynin M (Institute for Social and Economic Research); Longhi S (Institute for Social and Economic Research); Martínez pérez à (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: It is a long-standing principle in anthropology, sociology but also economics, that there are strong social and material incentives for people to marry or partner on the basis of social similarity, thus encouraging equality within partnerships but social inequality in the distribution of education, income, or other characteristics. It has been argued, however, that marriage is becoming less homogamous, and therefore that society is becoming more open. Using both the Longitudinal Study and the British Household Panel Study, we find that homogamy remains a powerful factor in marriage and partnership. Further, it reduces stress levels in the partnership and increases over the period of the relationship as partnersÂ’ social and political attitudes become closer over time.
    Date: 2008–10–06
  13. By: Berliant, Marcus; Yu, Chia-Ming
    Abstract: Canonical analysis of the classical general equilibrium model demonstrates the existence of an open and dense subset of standard economies that possess fully-revealing rational expectations equilibria. This paper shows that the analogous result is not true in urban economies. An open subset of economies where none of the rational expectations equilibria fully reveal private information is found. There are two important pieces. First, there can be information about a location known by a consumer who does not live in that location in equilibrium, and thus the equilibrium rent does not reflect this information. Second, if a consumer’s utility depends only on information about their (endogenous) location of residence, perturbations of utility naturally do not incorporate information about other locations conditional on their location of residence. Existence of a rational expectations equilibrium is proved. Space can prevent housing prices from transmitting information from informed to uninformed households, resulting in an inefficient outcome.
    Keywords: Urban Economics; General Equilibrium; Private Information; Rational Expectations
    JEL: R13 D82 D51
    Date: 2009–01–13
  14. By: Yannick Barthe (Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation, Mines ParisTech); Dominique Linhardt (Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation, Mines ParisTech)
    Abstract: Comments on the potentials of the notion of "experimentation" as a vehicule for the renewal of the theoretical repertoire of political sociology.
    Keywords: Science and technology studies, political sociology, controversies, experiments, politics, democracy
    JEL: O30 D70 D74 Z10 C93
    Date: 2009–01
  15. By: Sebastián Nieto Parra; Javier Santiso
    Abstract: Les recommandations des banques d’investissement concernant les emprunts publics des pays émergents tendent à devenir particulièrement défavorables à l’approche d’une élection. Cette aversion est en fait davantage liée à l’incertitude que génère l’évènement qu’à la nature même de celui-ci. En particulier, les programmes déclarés par les candidats, notamment en matière monétaire et budgétaire, sont cruciaux pour la stabilité des recommandations des banques pendant les périodes électorales.
    Date: 2008–09
  16. By: Conti G (Department of Economics, University of Chicago); Pudney S (Institute for Social and Economic Research)
    Abstract: Surveys differ in the way they measure satisfaction and happiness, so comparative research findings are vulnerable to distortion by survey design differences. We examine this using the British Household Panel Survey, exploiting its changes in question design and parallel use of different interview modes. We find significant biases in econometric results, particularly for gender differences in attitudes to the wage and hours of work. Results suggest that the common empirical finding that women care less than men about their wage and more about their hours may be an artifact of survey design rather than a real behavioural difference.
    Date: 2008–12–01
  17. By: Epperson, J.E.
    Abstract: It has become more and more difficult to recruit prospective American Ph.D. students in Agricultural and Applied Economics. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of the problem, to ascertain why with respect to location and other important factors, and hopefully deduce recruiting solutions. Results indicate that the paramount factors in a profile of those willing to pay the price in terms of sacrifice and effort to obtain a Ph.D. encompass willingness to accept a relatively low starting salary with a Ph.D., likely to be a Foreign National, prone to be in a Midwestern university, and willing to relocate globally. Generally, the Ph.D. starting salary would have to increase dramatically to change the minds of graduate students not intending to pursue a Ph.D. including most American graduate students. A change in public policy appears to be the only real solution.
    Keywords: Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy, Agricultural Finance, Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession,
    Date: 2008–12–23
  18. By: Ana Rute Cardoso; Paulo Guimarães; Klaus F. Zimmermann
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the early research performance of PhD graduates in labor economics, addressing the following questions: Are there major productivity differences between graduates from American and European institutions? If so, how relevant is the quality of the training received (i.e. ranking of institution and supervisor) and the research environment in the subsequent job placement institution? The population under study consists of labor economics PhD graduates who received their degree in the years 2000 to 2005 in Europe or the USA. Research productivity is evaluated alternatively as the number of publications or the quality-adjusted number of publications of an individual. When restricting the analysis to the number of publications, results suggest a higher productivity by graduates from European universities than from USA universities, but this difference vanishes when accounting for the quality of the publication. The results also indicate that graduates placed at American institutions, in particular top ones, are likely to publish more quality-adjusted articles than their European counterparts. This may be because, when hired, they already have several good acceptances or because of more focused research efforts and clearer career incentives.
    Keywords: graduate programs, research productivity
    JEL: A23 J44 A11 A14 A10
    Date: 2008

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