nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2011‒01‒30
fourteen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Lucas on the relationship between theory and ideology By De Vroey, Michel
  2. Economics for Human Rights By Manuel Couret Branco
  3. Animal Welfare and Social Decisions By Aronsson, Thomas; Johansson-Stenman, Olof
  4. Les fondements éthiques de l'aide publique au développement : une application à la France By Sylviane Guillaumont Jeanneney
  5. Refeudalisierung der Ökonomie: Zum Strukturwandel kapitalistischer Wirtschaft By Neckel, Sighard
  6. Development of auditing in Malaysia: legal, political and historical influences By Azham, Ali; Teck Heang, Lee; Yusof, Nor Zalina; Ojo, Marianne
  7. A Cooperative Value for Bayesian Games By Adam Kalai; Ehud Kalai
  8. Blurring the lines: Strategic deception and self-deception in markets By Gruss, Laura; Piotti, Geny
  9. Decision costs in legislative bargaining: An experimental analysis By Luis Miller; Christoph Vanberg
  10. Sketching Envy from Philosophy to Psychology By Jérémy Celse
  11. On the Smooth Ambiguity Model: A Reply By Peter Klibanoff; Massimo Marinacci; Sujoy Mukerji
  12. Using or Hiding Private Information ? An experimental Study of Zero-Sum Repeated Games with Incomplete Information. By Nicolas Jacquemet; Frédéric Koessler
  13. A Dynamic Theory of Resource Wars By Daron Acemoglu; Michael Golosov; Aleh Tsyvinski; Pierre Yared
  14. Are we still modern? Inheritance law and the broken promise of the enlightenment By Beckert, Jens

  1. By: De Vroey, Michel
    Abstract: This paper concerns a neglected aspect of Lucas's work: his methodological writings, published and unpublished. Particular attention is paid to his views on the relationship between theory and ideology. I start by setting out Lucas's non-standard conception of theory: to him, a theory and a model are the same thing. I also explore the different facets and implications of this conception. In the next two sections, I debate whether Lucas adheres to two methodological principles that I dub the 'non-interference' precept (the proposition that ideological viewpoints should not influence theory), and the 'non-exploitation' precept (that the models' conclusions should not be transposed into policy recommendations, in so far as these conclusions are built into the models' premises). The last part of the paper contains my assessment of Lucas's ideas. First, I bring out the extent to which Lucas departs from the view held by most specialized methodologists. Second, I wonder whether the new classical revolution resulted from a political agenda. Third and finally, I claim that the tensions characterizing Lucas's conception of theory follow from his having one foot in the neo-Walrasian and the other in the Marshallian-Friedmanian universe. --
    Keywords: Lucas,new classical macroeconomics,methodology
    JEL: B22 B30 B31 B41
    Date: 2010
  2. By: Manuel Couret Branco (NICPRI and CEFAGE - University of Évora)
    Abstract: The Subprime Crash that started capitalism’s latest crisis was mainly a proxy for an inexistent housing policy which would benefit many impoverished middle class families. Housing being clearly recognized as a human right, the behaviour of markets and its critical consequences could lead us to say that the Subprime Crash is above all the dramatic and global expression of the incapacity of markets to meet human rights. More than that, it could also be the demonstration of the counterproductive effects of the neglect of human rights by the market and by economics itself, the crisis being a result of this neglect. Human rights are assuredly one of the most influential and fruitful concepts of modern times in the human quest for dignity. Economics has developed a considerable amount of tools especially designed to overcome, or at least mitigate, scarcity, probably the most tormenting spectre that haunts the deprived. Human rights and economics, thus, have contributed immensely to free human kind, human rights from fear and economics from want. Despite this convergence it seems that economics regards human rights as competing rather than as completing. I have argued that mainstream economics discourse is often contradictory with promoting human rights. What are the changes economics must undergo in order to promote human rights? These changes will be examined in four aspects concerning specific economic, social and cultural human rights. First, on the right to work, second on the right to social security, third on cultural freedom, and finally on substantive democracy.
    Keywords: Economics; Human Rights; Work; Cultural Freedom; Democracy.
    JEL: A13 H42 H55 I00 J00 K00 P16
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Aronsson, Thomas (...); Johansson-Stenman, Olof (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the standard welfare economics assumption of anthropocentric welfarism, i.e., that only human well-being counts intrinsically. Alternatives where animal welfare matters intrinsically are explored theoretically, based on moral philosophical literature, and empirically where the general public‘s ethical preferences are measured through a survey with a representative sample in Sweden. It is concluded that welfare economics should be generalized in order to encompass the idea that animal welfare should sometimes matter intrinsically.<p>
    Keywords: animal welfare; anthropocentrism; welfarism; ethics; ethical preferences; cost-benefit analysis
    JEL: D60 D70 Q50
    Date: 2011–01–17
  4. By: Sylviane Guillaumont Jeanneney (CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - CNRS : UMR6587 - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I)
    Abstract: Ethical foundations of the development aid of France may be found in General de Gaulle's speeches and in Paul VI's encyclical Popularum Progressio, the roots of which are the New Testament. This article aims at reconciling ethic with aid effectiveness as it is defined by economics. It analyses how the present policy of cooperation of France should draw its inspiration from these writings, as regards the amount, the geographical affectation and the modalities of development aid.
    Keywords: cerdi
    Date: 2011–01–17
  5. By: Neckel, Sighard
    Abstract: Der Finanzmarktkapitalismus der Gegenwart lässt sich nur unzureichend als ideologische Ausgeburt des Neoliberalismus begreifen. Auch stellt die Ökonomie der schnellen Gewinne und hohen Verluste nicht einfach einen Verfall rationaler Erwerbsprinzipien dar. Derselbe gesellschaftliche Prozess, der die wirtschaftlichen Institutionen zur Struktur eines Finanzmarktkapitalismus modernisierte, hat vielmehr zugleich soziale Formen der Verteilung von Einkommen, Anerkennung und Macht etabliert, die ursprünglich vormoderne Muster der sozialen Ordnung aktualisieren. Mit Rekurs auf den analytischen Topos der 'Refeudalisierung', den Jürgen Habermas einst in seiner Studie über den Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit ausgearbeitet hat, wird die refeudalisierte Ökonomie der Gegenwart als eine Paradoxie kapitalistischer Modernisierung untersucht, deren Entstehungs- und Wirkungsmechanismen in vielfältiger Weise formale Ähnlichkeiten mit den institutionellen Transformationen moderner Öffentlichkeiten aufweisen. -- The rise of financial-market-based capitalism cannot be adequately explained by attributing it to prevailing neoliberal ideology alone. Similarly, the economics of fast money and big losses is not merely a sign of deteriorating economic rationality. Instead, this article argues that the societal process that transformed the economic institutions towards a financial-based model of capitalism also brought back social patterns of distributing wealth, income and power typical of the pre-modern era, albeit in an updated form. Referring to the analytical concept of 'refeudalization' introduced by Jürgen Habermas in his inquiry on the Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, the author examines the current refeudalization of the economic sphere as a paradoxical process of capitalist modernization that is often similar to the institutional transformation of the modern public sphere.
    Date: 2010
  6. By: Azham, Ali; Teck Heang, Lee; Yusof, Nor Zalina; Ojo, Marianne
    Abstract: This work investigates the role and contribution of external auditing as practised in the Malaysian society during the forty year period from independence in 1957 to just before the onset of the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. It applies the political economic theory introduced by Tinker (1980) and refined by Cooper & Sherer (1984), which focuses on the social relations aspects of professional activity rather than economic forces alone. In a case study format where qualitative data was gathered mainly from primary and secondary source materials, the study found that the function of auditing in the Malaysian society in most cases is devoid of any essence of mission; instead it is created, shaped and transformed by the pressures which give rise to its development over time. The largely insignificant role that it serves is intertwined within the contexts in which it operates.
    Keywords: external audit; Malaysia; politics; history; economy; Companies Act 1965; Companies Act 1985; British Companies Acts; Accountants Act 1967; Asian Financial Crisis
    JEL: K2 M4
    Date: 2007–07
  7. By: Adam Kalai; Ehud Kalai
    Abstract: Selfish, strategic players may benefit from cooperation, provided they reach agreement. It is therefore important to construct mechanisms that facilitate such cooperation, especially in the case of asymmetric private information. The two major issues are: (1) singling out a fair and efficient outcome among the many individually rational possibilities in a strategic game, and (2) establishing a play protocol under which strategic players may achieve this outcome. The paper presents a general solution for two-person Bayesian games with monetary payoffs, under a strong revealed-payoff assumption. The proposed solution builds upon earlier concepts in game theory. It coincides with the von Neumann minmax value on the class of zero sum games and with the major solution concepts to the Nash Bargaining Problem. Moreover, the solution is based on a simple decomposition of every game into cooperative and competitive components, which is easy to compute. JEL Classification Numbers: C70, C71, C72, C78
    Date: 2010–06–20
  8. By: Gruss, Laura; Piotti, Geny
    Abstract: Building on the results of a participant observation in a Chinese IT-sector company located in the northern part of China, this paper aims to clarify the nature of deception in markets. Contrary to the position of information economics and game theoretical approaches to trust, the paper argues that deception is not reducible to a question of opportunism or sending signals in order to create trustworthiness. Deception, in fact, may coexist and even be strictly entangled with self-deception, which builds on the conception of an agent whose rationality can fail or whose cognition can be biased. This paper argues that rationality failures and cognitive biases are not driven by psychological mechanisms alone. They have to be related to the social structure in which economic actors operate. In particular, the paper focuses on anticipatory socialization as one source of self-deception and the deception of others. Both types of deception are associated with a gap between aspirations and the available resources necessary for attaining them. -- Ausgehend von einer teilnehmenden Beobachtung in einem chinesischen IT-Unternehmen in Nordchina zielt dieser Artikel darauf ab, das Wesen der Täuschung in Märkten zu ergründen. Im Gegensatz zu der Position der Informationsökonomie und dem spieltheoretischen Ansatz in der Vertrauensforschung wird in diesem Artikel davon ausgegangen, dass Täuschung nicht auf Fragen des Opportunismus und der Signalsendung, die dem Aufbau von Vertrauen dient, reduziert werden kann. Täuschung kann zusammen mit Selbsttäuschung auftreten und sogar stark mit ihr verbunden sein. Selbsttäuschung baut auf dem Konzept eines Akteurs auf, dessen Rationalität versagen oder dessen Wahrnehmung verzerrt sein kann. In diesem Papier wird argumentiert, dass Rationa-litätsversagen und Wahrnehmungsverzerrung nicht nur von psychologischen Mechanismen her-vorgerufen werden, sondern mit der Sozialstruktur verbunden sind, in der der wirtschaftliche Akteur operiert. Im Besonderen konzentriert sich der Artikel auf antizipatorische Sozialisation als eine Quelle für Selbsttäuschung und Täuschung von anderen. Beide Typen der Täuschung entstehen aus der Kluft zwischen Wunschvorstellungen und den verfügbaren Ressourcen, die für ihre Realisierung notwendig sind.
    Date: 2010
  9. By: Luis Miller (Centre for Experimental Social Sciences, Nuffield College, University of Oxford); Christoph Vanberg (Department of Economics, University of Cambridge)
    Abstract: We conduct an experiment to assess the effects of different decision rules on the costs of decision making in a multilateral bargaining situation. Specifically, we compare the amount of costly delay observed in an experimental bargaining game under majority and unanimity rule. Our main finding is that individual subjects are more likely to reject offers under unanimity rule. This increased rejection rate, as well as the requirement that all subjects agree, leads to more costly delay. This result provides empirical support for a classic argument in favor of less-than-unanimity decision rules put forth by Buchanan and Tullock (1962).
    Keywords: Collective decision-making, Majority rule, Unanimity, Legislative bargaining, Experimental economics
    JEL: C78 C92 D71 D72
    Date: 2011–01
  10. By: Jérémy Celse
    Abstract: What is envy and how can we define it so as to incorporate the emotion in economic models? Through referring on philosophical and psychological researches, this paper aims at deriving a stable and concise definition of the emotion of envy. Philosophy allows us to define the elements that form envy and to disentangle the latter from other emotions. Researches on psychology help us in understanding the affective and behavioural responses of the emotion. We conclude that envy arises from any unflattering social comparison that threatens individual self-evaluation and includes a depressive and a hostile dimension. We also discuss whether the behaviour induced by envy results in destructive or in emulative actions. We will disentangle the elements that might explain why envy does not always exert the subject to adopt a hostile attitude toward the envied.
    Date: 2010
  11. By: Peter Klibanoff; Massimo Marinacci; Sujoy Mukerji
    Abstract: We find that Epstein (2010)‘s Ellsberg-style thought experiments pose, contrary to his claims, no paradox or difficulty for the smooth ambiguity model of decision making under uncertainty developed by Klibanoff, Marinacci and Mukerji (2005). Not only are the thought experiments naturally handled by the smooth ambiguity model, but our reanalysis shows that they highlight some of its strengths compared to models such as the maxmin expected utility model (Gilboa and Schmeidler, 1989). In particular, these examples pose no challenge to the model’s foundations, interpretation of the model as affording a separation of ambiguity and ambiguity attitude or the potential for calibrating ambiguity attitude in the model.
    Keywords: Ambiguity, uncertainty, Knightian uncertainty, ambiguity aversion, uncertainty aversion, Ellsberg paradox, smooth ambiguity, smooth model, ambiguity hedging
    JEL: D80 D81
    Date: 2011
  12. By: Nicolas Jacquemet (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne - Paris School of Economics); Frédéric Koessler (Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques)
    Abstract: This paper studies experimentally the value of private information in strictly competitive interactions with asymmetric information. We implement in the laboratory three examples from the class of zero-sum repeated games with incomplete information on one side and perfect monitoring. The stage games share the same simple structure, but differ markedly on how information should be optimally used once they are repeated. Despite the complexity of the optimal strategies, the empirical value of information coincides with the theoretical prediction in most instances. In particular, it is never negative, it decreases with the number of repetitions, and it is nicely bounded below by the value of the infinitely repeated game and above by the value of the one-shot game. Subjects are unable to completely ignore their information when it is optimal to do so, but the use of information in the lab reacts qualitatively well to the type and length of the game being played.
    Keywords: Concavification, laboratory experiments, incomplete information, value of information, zero-sum repeated games.
    JEL: C72 D82
    Date: 2011–01
  13. By: Daron Acemoglu; Michael Golosov; Aleh Tsyvinski; Pierre Yared
    Date: 2011–01–17
  14. By: Beckert, Jens
    Abstract: The regulation of the transfer of property mortis causa has been a major concern of social reformers since the Enlightenment. Today, by contrast, the issue of the bequest of wealth from generation to generation stirs hardly any political controversy. Since the mid-twentieth century the topic has lost much of its earlier significance in public debates. In this working paper I show that over the last forty years we can observe a backlash in key areas of inheritance law which breaks the Enlightenment's promise to distribute wealth in society based on individual achievement rather than ascriptive criteria. Hence the question: 'Are we still modern?' -- Die Regulierung der Vermögensvererbung war wichtiger Gegenstand von Sozialreformen seit der Aufklärung. Heute hingegen erregt der Umgang mit Erbschaften kaum noch politische Aufmerksamkeit. Seit der zweiten Hälfte des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts hat das Thema seine Bedeutung im öffentlichen Diskurs verloren. Das Working Paper zeigt einen Backlash in zentralen Bereichen des Erbrechts während der letzten vierzig Jahre auf, durch den mit dem Versprechen der Aufklärung gebrochen wird, Reichtum nicht nach Kriterien der Herkunft, sondern nach Maßstäben von Leistung zu verteilen. Daher die Frage: 'Sind wir noch modern?'
    Date: 2010

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