nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2009‒02‒28
seven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Aufstieg und Niedergang der Ricardianischen Wirtschaftstheorie. By Fritz Rahmeyer
  2. New Economic Geography: an appraisal on the occasion of Paul Krugman's 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics By Fujita, Masahisa; Thisse, Jacques-François
  3. The Experimental Approach to Development Economics By Banerjee, Abhijit; Duflo, Esther
  4. Ranking Israel's Economists By Ben-David, Dan
  5. Les émotions économiques By Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde
  6. The Structure of Protection and Growth in the Late 19th Century By Lehmann, Sibylle H.; O'Rourke, Kevin H
  7. Why did Canada nationalize liquor sales in the 1920s?: A political economy story By Ruth Dupré

  1. By: Fritz Rahmeyer (University of Augsburg, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: After showing different criteria for assessing economic theories and in general terms the growth of (economic) knowledge, the essentials of classical British economic theory (Political Economy) are outlined. Next the scientific career and the genesis of the works of Ricardo are dealt with. The building blocks of his theory are Malthus’ law of population and his own theory of land rent. They serve as a basis for developing his original theory of income distribution among the three classes of society (landowners, tenants, agricultural workers). His vision is - like that of Adam Smith - a self-adjusting model of the economy. Getting at first rid of rent, his intention was to show that - in contrast to Smith - a decrease of profits is the result of an increase in wages. Rent is a price determined, but not a price determining factor. The decline of profits reduces capital accumulation and economic growth and ends up in a stationary state of the economy. The precondition of his analysis of income distribution was a theory of value. Ricardo selected the quantity of embodied labour as an invariable measure of value. From a political point of view Ricardo opposed state interventions, such as the corn laws and the poor laws. He had trust in a self-regulating economy, unlike his friend and critic Thomas Malthus.
    Keywords: History of Economic Thought; Ricardian Economics; Theory of Value and Distribution
    JEL: B12 B31 D33
    Date: 2009–02
  2. By: Fujita, Masahisa; Thisse, Jacques-François
    Abstract: Paul Krugman has clarified the microeconomic underpinnings of both spatial economic agglomerations and regional imbalances at national and international levels. He has achieved this with a series of remarkably original papers and books that succeed in combining imperfect competition, increasing returns, and transportation costs in new and powerful ways.Yet, not everything was brand new in New Economic Geography. To be precise, several disparate pieces of high-quality work were available in urban economics and location theory. Our purpose in this paper is to shed new light on economic geography through the lenses of these two fields of economics and regional science.
    Keywords: Economic geography; Location theory; Trade; Urban economics
    JEL: F12 L13 R12
    Date: 2008–12
  3. By: Banerjee, Abhijit; Duflo, Esther
    Abstract: Randomized experiments have become a popular tool in development economics research, and have been the subject of a number of criticisms. This paper reviews the recent literature, and discusses the strengths and limitations of this approach in theory and in practice. We argue that the main virtue of randomized experiments is that, due to the close collaboration between researchers and implementers, they allow the estimation of parameters that it would not otherwise be possible to evaluate. We discuss the concerns that have been raised regarding experiments, and generally conclude that while they are real, they are often not specific to experiments. We conclude by discussing the relationship between theory and experiments.
    Keywords: development economics; randomized experiment
    JEL: O16
    Date: 2008–11
  4. By: Ben-David, Dan
    Abstract: One of the more important measures of a scholar’s research impact is the number of times that the scholar’s work is cited by other researchers as a source of knowledge. This paper conducts a first of its kind examination on Israel’s academic economists and economics departments, ranking them according to the number of citations on their work. It also provides a vista into one of the primary reasons given by junior Israeli economists for an unparalleled brain drain from the country - discrepancies between research impact and promotion. The type of examination carried out in this paper can now be easily replicated in other fields and in other countries utilizing freely-available citations data and compilation software that have been made readily accessible in recent years.
    Keywords: academic economists; Israel; rankings
    JEL: A1 H83 I23
    Date: 2008–08
  5. By: Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde (IJN - Institut Jean-Nicod - CNRS : UMR8129 - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales)
    Abstract: Les relations entre émotions et rationalité posent des problèmes de différentes sortes. Il s'agit parfois de savoir si les émotions peuvent être rationnelles (Elster 1996) et parfois de se demander si les émotions peuvent contribuer à la rationalité (Damasio 1996). Evidemment si elles contribuent à la rationalité – si elles sont par exemple indispensables à la possibilité d'optimiser ses gains au cours d'une série de choix – les émotions sont alors rationnelles dans un sens trivial. Mais ce n'est pas cette question en priorité qui est posée quand des philosophes se demandent si les émotions sont rationnelles. Ils veulent plutôt se demander par là si les émotions peuvent nous apprendre quelque chose, et si ce qu'on peut apprendre à travers les émotions est cohérent, en lui-même, ainsi que relativement à ce qu'on peut apprendre par d'autres canaux cognitifs. Si les émotions ont une dimension cognitive, alors elles peuvent contribuer certainement à la rationalité, pour autant que ces enseignements de l'émotion soient compatibles plus généralement avec les enseignements de mes autres canaux cognitifs. Mais les émotions peuvent aussi contribuer à la rationalité sans nécessairement comporter en elles-mêmes cette dimension cognitive. Elles forment alors des mécanismes non cognitifs dont la présence peut être indispensable à l'usage optimal de mes facultés cognitives indépendantes, conformément
    Keywords: émotions, adaptation, rationalité, environnement économique
    Date: 2009
  6. By: Lehmann, Sibylle H.; O'Rourke, Kevin H
    Abstract: Many papers have explored the relationship between average tariff rates and economic growth, when theory suggests that the structure of protection is what should matter. We therefore explore the relationship between economic growth and agricultural tariffs, industrial tariffs, and revenue tariffs, for a sample of relatively well-developed countries between 1875 and 1913. Industrial tariffs were positively correlated with growth. Agricultural tariffs were negatively correlated with growth, although the relationship was often statistically insignificant at conventional levels. There was no relationship between revenue tariffs and growth.
    Keywords: growth; history; tariffs
    JEL: F13 F43 N10 N70 O49
    Date: 2008–11
  7. By: Ruth Dupré (IEA, HEC Montréal)
    Abstract: While the American episode of alcohol prohibition (1919-1933) is notorious and has been extensively studied, very little work has been done in a comparative international perspective. We contribute to this comparative international analysis by focusing here on the different path chosen by Canada in the 1920s. At the same time that its American neighbor went «bone dry», the Canadian provinces, one by one, starting with Quebec and British Columbia in 1921 and ending with Ontario in 1927, set up public liquor sale systems still with us today. This paper addresses the question of why and how did the Canadian provinces do this. The choice they faced between prohibition and nationalization can be analyzed with a political economy model by comparing the strength and stakes of the «drys» and the «wets» in the different provinces.
    Date: 2008–11

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