nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2010‒01‒23
eight papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Heterodox environmental economics: theoretical strands in search of a paradigm By Marletto, Gerardo
  2. Citation Success: Evidence from Economic History Journal Publications By Gianfranco Di Vaio; Daniel Waldenström; Jacob Weisdorf
  3. Design and Evolution in Institutional Development: The Insignificance of the English Bill of Rights By Peter Murrell
  4. Look Before You Leap: The Economics of Free Trade and Income Redistribution By Erich Gundlach; Albert de Vaal
  5. Política tributaria y economía fiscal La posición Hayek (1959, 1979) con comentarios de Brenann/Buchanan (1980). By Estrada, Fernando
  6. Bounding Rationality by Discounting Time By Lance Fortnow; Rahul Santhanam
  7. An Exploration of the Content of Social Norms using Simple Games By López-Pérez, Raúl; Vorsatz, Marc
  8. Reexamination of Individual Knowledge and Common Behavior Rules: A Cross-disciplinary View Based on Empirical Evidences By Liang, Zhao

  1. By: Marletto, Gerardo
    Abstract: Heterodox environmental economics is mainly based on non-mainstream economic theories; more precisely it refers to institutional and Schumpeterian economics. Starting from these theoretical foundations, heterodox environmental economics radically differs from the mainstream approach to environmental economics and policy. Three basic concepts are at the hearth of such a different vision: resource regimes, as institutional structures established to manage natural resources; environmental appraisals, as “value articulating” institutions conditioned by the incommensurability of conflicting values; transitions, as dynamic processes that are needed to unlock existing “socio-technical” systems. But a stable community of researchers defining themselves as ‘evolutionary/institutional environmental economists’ still does not exist. Time will tell if existing connections between some research groups will generate the social core of a nascent paradigm.
    Keywords: Environmental economics; Environmental policy; Institutional economics; Evolutionary theories of economic change
    JEL: Q50 B52
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Gianfranco Di Vaio (Center for Labor and Economic Growth, LUISS Guido Carli); Daniel Waldenström (Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Stockholm); Jacob Weisdorf (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: This study analyses determinants of citation success among authors publishing in economic history journals. Bibliometric features, like article length and number of authors, are positively correlated with the citation rate up to a certain point. Remarkably, publishing in top-ranked journals hardly affects citations. In regard to author-specific characteristics, male authors, full professors and authors working economics or history departments, and authors employed in Anglo-Saxon countries, are more likely to get cited than others. As a ‘shortcut’ to citation success, we find that research diffusion, measured by number of presentations and people mentioned in acknowledgement, boosts the citation rate.
    Keywords: bibliometrics; citation analysis; citation success; economic history; scientometrics; Poisson regression
    JEL: A10 A11 A14 N10
    Date: 2009–11
  3. By: Peter Murrell (Department of Economics, University of Maryland)
    Abstract: A fundamental question in economic development is how societies first acquire a successful set of institutions. To examine this question, the paper focuses on a paradigmatic example, England in the years surrounding the Glorious Revolution of 1688. North and Weingast (1989) view the constitutional changes following 1688 as an explicit attempt to design a new polity, having the effect of radically altering the functioning of the English political and economic system. The rise of England as a world economic power followed. In contrast, Hayek (1960) views the late 17th century changes as simply summarizing what was already in existence, a product of experience accumulated through trial and error and selective survival of productive institutions, ideas, and habits. This paper argues that the English experience of institutional development cannot be described as creation by design. The rise of England fits Hayek's evolutionary perspective. This conclusion rests on three composite pieces of evidence. First, a search for structural breaks in myriad data sets reveals that socioeconomic change was under way well before 1688. Second, an examination of the historical context and institutional content of each clause of the critical laws shows either that the clauses were already a part of effective law by 1688 or that they did not survive as viable constitutional measures. Third, an analysis of institutional and administrative innovations shows that many key developments affecting government finance were a product of the era before 1688.
    Keywords: Institutions, institutional development, constitutions, Glorious Revolution, design, evolution, Hayek, Bill of Rights
    JEL: O1 N0 O52 K1 N43 N13 H1 P5 B31
    Date: 2009–12
  4. By: Erich Gundlach; Albert de Vaal
    Abstract: Economists tend to exalt the virtues of free international trade, while politicians are more skeptical. This paper suggests that this is the case because politicians mainly worry about the income distribution effects of trade liberalization, while economists focus on efficiency. Using textbook economic analyses we show that compensating the income distribution effects of free trade may be more complicated and hazardous than is often assumed, at least from a comparative static point of view. Hence politicians may favor trade liberalization only when distributional effects are ignored. By using a multitude of analytical tools and approaches, our paper also makes a useful teaching case for undergraduate students to test and gear their thinking about trade policy issues
    Keywords: Trade policy, income distribution, compensation schemes, undergraduate teaching
    JEL: A20 F13 H20
    Date: 2010–01
  5. By: Estrada, Fernando
    Abstract: This article describes the argumentative structure of Hayek on the relationship between tax policy and redistribution. It is observed throughout its work giving special attention to two of his works: The Constitution of Liberty (1959) and Law, Legislation and Liberty, Vol. 3, The Political Order of Free People af University of Chicago Press, Chicago, (1979) Hayek describes one of the most complete allegations on the SFP progressive tax system (progressive tax). According to the author the history of the tax system works against such a tax model. The author displays a variety of arguments on the ground preferred by his critics of liberal democracy
    Keywords: Tax Fiscal; Hayek; Buchanan; Political Economy
    JEL: E62 E64 E65 E60
    Date: 2010–01–17
  6. By: Lance Fortnow; Rahul Santhanam
    Abstract: Consider a game where Alice generates an integer and Bob wins if he can factor that integer. Traditional game theory tells us that Bob will always win this game even though in practice Alice will win given our usual assumptions about the hardness of factoring. We define a new notion of bounded rationality, where the payoffs of players are discounted by the computation time they take to produce their actions. We use this notion to give a direct correspondence between the existence of equilibria where Alice has a winning strategy and the hardness of factoring. Namely, under a natural assumption on the discount rates, there is an equilibriumwhere Alice has a winning strategy iff there is a linear-time samplable distribution with respect to which Factoring is hard on average. We also give general results for discounted games over countable action spaces, including showing that any game with bounded and computable payoffs has an equilibrium in our model, even if each player is allowed a countable number of actions. It follows, for example, that the Largest Integer game has an equilibrium in our model though it has no Nash equilibria or E-Nash equilibria.
    Keywords: Bounded rationality; Discounting; Uniform equilibria; Factoring game
    JEL: C72 D58
    Date: 2009–11–16
  7. By: López-Pérez, Raúl (Departamento de Análisis Económico (Teoría e Historia Económica). Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.); Vorsatz, Marc (Fundación de Estudios de Economía Aplicada–FEDEA)
    Abstract: The literature on social norms stresses that compliance with norms is approved while deviance is disapproved. Based on this, we explore the content of social norms using experimental data from five dictator games with a feedback stage. Our data suggests that subjects either care about a reciprocity or an efficiency norm.
    Keywords: approval; disapproval; dictator game; experiment; social Norms.
    JEL: A13 C72 D64 Z13
    Date: 2010–01
  8. By: Liang, Zhao
    Abstract: Based on evidences from empirical disciplines, the paper offers three different basic assumptions and one simplified framework on individual behavior when dealing with signals from uncertain environments. On the basis of these, the paper defines individual knowledge and shows its hierarchical state, the connatural- and the acquired-shared-knowledge among individuals. Furthermore, the paper describes and explains the sources and general mechanisms of changing of these kinds of knowledge, and stresses that human connatural knowledge is the most stable level in the entire knowledge, which constitutes the fundamental prerequisite for mutually recognizing signals (or events) and interactions among individuals; The acquired-shared-knowledge, however, is the common anticipation owned among individuals about behavioral response of other individuals facing a signal; it derives from interacting experiences between individuals and circumstances or among individuals; and stable accumulation of the knowledge is one of key foundations on which the stable anticipation of individual behavior, commonly behavioral beliefs and rules will can be formed in a group.
    Keywords: individual assumptions; simplified behavior-framework; individual knowledge; knowledge hierarchy; shared knowledge; common behavior rules; empirical evidences
    JEL: B52 A12 D01
    Date: 2009–12–20

This nep-hpe issue is ©2010 by Erik Thomson. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.