nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2010‒07‒31
twelve papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. On the notion of equilibrium or the centre of gravitation in economic theory By Ajit Sinha
  2. Guilbaud's 1952 theorem on the logical problem of aggregation. By Daniel Eckert; Bernard Monjardet
  3. Extending the Informational Basis of Welfare Economics: The Case of Preference Dynamics By Ulrich Witt; Christian Schubert
  4. The Relationship of Economic Theory to Experiments By David K Levine; Jie Zheng
  5. Understanding How the Privileged Become Violent Fanatics By Scott Atran
  6. Learning, words and actions : experimental evidence on coordination-improving information. By Nicolas Jacquemet; Adam Zylbersztejn
  7. Some Alternative Perspectives on Macroeconomic Theory and Some Policy Implications By William R. White
  8. Extrinsic Rewards and Intrinsic Motives: Standard and Behavioral Approaches to Agency and Labor Markets By Rebitzer, James B.; Taylor, Lowell J.
  9. Consensus theories: an oriented survey By Olivier Hudry; Bernard Monjardet
  10. Violence et économie. By Gaël Giraud
  11. LA DISTINCTION « FAIT/VALEUR » EN THEORIE ECONOMIQUE : Trois temps fondamentaux d'une histoire mouvementée By Claude Gamel
  12. JUSTICE DE RESULTAT : De « l'économie du bien-être » à « l'égalitarisme libéral » By Claude Gamel

  1. By: Ajit Sinha (Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research)
    Abstract: This paper is a critical examination of the notion of equilibrium in the classical theory of value. It highlights the theoretical importance as well as the problems associated with the notion of equilibrium in the classical theory and goes on to argue that Sraffa presents a theory of value within the classical tradition that does not require a notion of equilibrium of demand and supply, which succeeds in dissolving the problems associated with the classical theory of value. It also discusses the importance of the notion of equilibrium in the modern general equilibrium theory for the sake of continuity and completeness of the story.
    Keywords: Equilibrium, Centre of Gravitation, Price Theory, Theory of Value, Classical Economics, Neoclassical Economics, Sraffa
    JEL: B1 B2 B3 B4 B5
    Date: 2010–07
  2. By: Daniel Eckert (Institut Für Finanzwissenschaft - Universität Graz); Bernard Monjardet (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne et CAMS-EHESS)
    Abstract: In a paper published in 1952, shortly after publication of Arrow's celebrated impossibility result, the French mathematicien Georges-Théodule Guilbaud has obtained a dictatorship result for the logical problem of aggregation, thus anticipating the literature on abstract aggregation theory and judgment aggregation. We reconstruct the proof of Guilbaud's theorem, which is also of technical interest, because it can be seen as the first use of ultrafilters in social choice theory.
    Keywords: Aggregation, judgment aggregation, logical connectives, simple game, ultrafilter.
    Date: 2010–06
  3. By: Ulrich Witt; Christian Schubert
    Abstract: Normative reasoning in welfare economics and social contract theory usually presumes invariable, context-independent individual preferences. Following recent work particularly in behavioral economics this assumption is difficult to defend. This paper therefore explores what can be said about preferences and their changes from a motivation-theoretic perspective, i.e. by explaining what motivates economic agents in making their choices and what mechanisms of change are at work here. We show that on this basis it is possible to complement social welfare assessments by a differential weighing of different human motivations which is derived from empirically informed foundations rather than from ad hoc arguments.
    Keywords: Preference Change, Welfare, Needs, Subsistence Level, Redistribution Length 31 pages
    JEL: D63 O12
    Date: 2010–07
  4. By: David K Levine; Jie Zheng
    Date: 2010–07–21
  5. By: Scott Atran (IJN - Institut Jean-Nicod - CNRS : UMR8129 - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS))
    Abstract: The great British biologist J.B.S Haldane counted monotheism's creation of fanaticism as one of the most important inventions of the last 5,000 years. Call it love of God or love of group, it matters little in the end. Modern civilizations spin the potter's wheel of monotheism to manufacture the greatest cause of all, humanity. Before missionary monotheism, people did not consider that all others could be pigeonholed into one kind. The salvation of humanity is a cause as stimulating as it is impossible to achieve. Nevertheless, all modern missionary "-isms," whether religious or in their secular post-Enlightenment guise, preach devotion unto death for the sake of humanity, including allowance for mass killing for the mass good. "The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare's evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology," wrote Alexander Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago. Especially for young men, mortal combat in a great cause provides the ultimate adventure and glory to gain maximum esteem in the eyes of many and, most dearly, in the hearts of their peers. By identifying their devotion with the greater defense and salvation of humanity, they commit themselves to a path that allows massive killing for what they think is a massive good....
    Date: 2010–05–07
  6. By: Nicolas Jacquemet (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne - Paris School of Economics); Adam Zylbersztejn (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper reports experimental results from a one-shot game with two Nash equilibria : the first one is efficient, the second one relies on weakly dominated strategies. The experimental treatments consider three information-enhancing mechanisms in the game : simple repetition, cheap-talk messages and observation of past actions from the current interaction partner. Our experimental results show the use of dominated strategies is quite widespread. Any kind of information (through learning, words or actions) increases efficiency. As regards coordination, we find that good history performs better than good messages ; but bad history performs worse than bad messages.
    Keywords: Coordination game, communication, cheap-talk, observation.
    JEL: C72 D83
    Date: 2010–07
  7. By: William R. White (Chairman, Economic and Development Review Committee, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (E-mail:
    Abstract: An initial version of this paper was presented at a meeting of the Euro50 group in Paris on 20, November, 2009. It has benefitted from comments by David Laidler and Axel Leijonhufvud, neither of whom necessarily agree with all of its contents.
    Date: 2010–07
  8. By: Rebitzer, James B. (Boston University); Taylor, Lowell J. (Carnegie Mellon University)
    Abstract: Employers structure pay and employment relationships to mitigate agency problems. A large literature in economics documents how the resolution of these problems shapes personnel policies and labor markets. For the most part, the study of agency in employment relationships relies on highly stylized assumptions regarding human motivation, e.g., that employees seek to earn as much money as possible with minimal effort. In this essay, we explore the consequences of introducing behavioral complexity and realism into models of agency within organizations. Specifically, we assess the insights gained by allowing employees to be guided by such motivations as the desire to compare favorably to others, the aspiration to contribute to intrinsically worthwhile goals, and the inclination to reciprocate generosity or exact retribution for perceived wrongs. More provocatively, from the standpoint of standard economics, we also consider the possibility that people are driven, in ways that may be opaque even to themselves, by the desire to earn social esteem or to shape and reinforce identity.
    Keywords: agency, motivation, employment relationships, behavioral economics
    JEL: D2 J0 M5
    Date: 2010–07
  9. By: Olivier Hudry (Institut Télécom - Télécom ParisTech - Télécom ParisTech); Bernard Monjardet (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - Paris I, CAMS - Centre d'analyse et de mathématique sociale - CNRS : UMR8557 - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS))
    Abstract: This article surveys seven directions of consensus theories: Arrowian results, federation consensus rules, metric consensus rules, tournament solutions, restricted domains, abstract consensus theories, algorithmic and complexity issues. This survey is oriented in the sense that it is mainly – but not exclusively – concentrated on the most significant results obtained, sometimes with other searchers, by a team of French searchers who are or were full or associate members of the Centre d'Analyse et de Mathématique Sociale (CAMS).
    Keywords: Consensus theories ; Arrowian results ; aggregation rules ; metric consensus rules ; median ; tournament solutions ; restricted domains ; lower valuations ; median semilattice ; complexity
    Date: 2010–06
  10. By: Gaël Giraud (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper defends the idea that Western modernity can be characterized by the rivalry of two institutions, the state and the market, competing for the charge of maintaining security against social violence while both are major sources of violence. It is so because the possibility of violence lies at the heart of every institution. To fight against it requires, in the economic area, to be able to get free from idolatry with respect to the state and the market, in order to better reform both.
    Keywords: Violence, unefficiency, inequality, market, state, reform.
    JEL: A10 A11 A12 A13 B0 N0
    Date: 2010–05
  11. By: Claude Gamel (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - CNRS : UMR6579)
    Abstract: Pour Putnam (2004, chapitres 3 et 4), les travaux contemporains de Sen (2000) illustrent sa propre thèse de l'enchevêtrement des faits et des valeurs et inaugurent une « seconde phase de l'économie classique » où la distinction faits/valeurs serait abandonnée. La portée de cette remise en cause doit être resituée dans la longue histoire qui lie la théorie économique à la question très sensible des jugements de valeur. Après un résumé indispensable des épisodes les plus anciens (1), la discussion se poursuit au XX° siècle dans le champ clos de l'économie normative (2), où émergent les contributions de Robbins (1932), Arrow (1951) et Rawls (1971). Dans cette perspective, l'exemple récent de « l'approche par les capacités » de Sen (3) semble montrer qu'un traitement distinct et hiérarchisé des jugements de valeur reste indispensable à la fécondité d'ensemble de la théorie économique.
    Keywords: Distinction fait/valeur, économie normative, économie du bien-être, choix collectif, postwelfarisme, approche par les capacités
    Date: 2010–07–16
  12. By: Claude Gamel (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - CNRS : UMR6579)
    Abstract: Sur la question de la justice sociale, le clivage « résultat »/«procédure» est fécond pour distinguer une approche d'inspiration utilitariste («économie du bien-être») d'une approche d'inspiration libérale («post-welfarisme»). Toutefois, dans cette seconde perspective, il reste insuffisant pour situer les innovations majeures du courant de «l'égalitarisme libéral», où des éléments de «justice de résultat» sont instillés dans une théorie «procédurale» de la justice. Tel est d'abord le positionnement atypique de Rawls (1971) comme précurseur de ce courant de pensée, en raison notamment du rôle clé joué par les deux volets de son second principe de la justice. Par la suite, sur le thème de l'égalité réelle des chances, Sen (1980), avec son «approche par les capacités», peut être considéré comme un disciple contestataire de Rawls, et, à propos du principe de différence, Kolm (2005), avec son concept de transferts redistributifs « ELIE » peut être perçu comme son exégète rigoureux.
    Keywords: Post-welfarisme, égalitarisme libéral, second principe de la justice, approche par les capacités, transferts redistributifs ELIE
    Date: 2010–07–16

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