nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2011‒05‒07
seven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. How to play the games? Nash versus Berge behavior rules By Pierre Courtois; Rabia Nessah; Tarik Tazdaït
  2. On amending the sufficient conditions for Nash implementation By Wu, Haoyang
  3. Are nurses more altruistic than real estate brokers? By Jacobsen, Karin; H. Eika, Kari; Helland, Leif; Thori Lind, Jo; Nyborg, Karine
  4. Transcending the Limitations of Environmental Economic Framing: Toward a Metaeconomics of Environmental Choice By Czap, Natalia V.; Czap, Hans J.; Khachaturyan, Marianna; Lynne, Gary D.; Burbach, Mark E.
  5. A Duty to Vote By Dan Usher
  6. Bankruptcy law and practice in 19th century France By Pierre-Cyrille Hautcoeur; Nadine Levratto
  7. Recension de l'ouvrage : Conflits et pouvoirs dans les institutions du capitalisme, sous la dir. de F. Lordon By Noujoud Baroudi

  1. By: Pierre Courtois; Rabia Nessah; Tarik Tazdaït
    Abstract: Social interactions regularly lead to mutually beneficial transactions that are sometimes puzzling. The prisoner’s dilemma and the chicken and trust games prove to be less perplexing than Nash equilibrium predicts. Moral preferences seem to complement self-oriented motivations and their relative predominance in games is found to vary according to the individuals, their environment, and the game. This paper examines the appropriateness of Berge equilibrium to study several 2×2 game situations, notably cooperative games where mutual support yields socially better outcomes. We consider the Berge behavior rule complementarily to Nash: individuals play one behavior rule or another, depending on the game situation. We then define non-cooperative Berge equilibrium, discuss what it means to play in this fashion, and argue why individuals may choose to do so. Finally, we discuss the relationship between Nash and Berge notions and analyze the rationale of individuals playing in a situational perspective.
    Date: 2011–02
  2. By: Wu, Haoyang
    Abstract: Mechanism design, a reverse problem of game theory, is an important branch of economics. Nash implementation is the cornerstone of the theory of mechanism design. The well-known Maskin's theorem describes the sufficient conditions for Nash implementation when the number of agents are at least three. A recent work [H. Wu, Quantum mechanism helps agents combat ``bad'' social choice rules. International Journal of Quantum Information, 2010 (accepted) ] shows that when an additional condition is satisfied, the Maskin's theorem will no longer hold by using a quantum mechanism. Although quantum mechanisms are theoretically feasible, agents cannot benefit from them immediately due to the restriction of current experimental technologies. In this paper, we will go beyond the obstacle of how to realize quantum mechanisms, and propose an algorithmic mechanism which leads to the same results as quantum mechanisms do. Consequently, the sufficent conditions for Nash implementation are amended not only in the quantum world, but also in the real world.
    Keywords: Quantum computing; Mechanism design; Nash implementation.
    JEL: D71
    Date: 2011–04–05
  3. By: Jacobsen, Karin (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo); H. Eika, Kari (The Royal Ministry of Health and Care Services); Helland, Leif (Department of Economics, BI Norwegian School of Management); Thori Lind, Jo (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo); Nyborg, Karine (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: We report results from a dictator game experiment with nurse students and real estate broker students as dictators, and Amnesty International as the recipient. Although brokers contributed substantial amounts, nurses contributed significantly more, on average 76 percent of their endowment. In a second part, subjects chose between a certain repetition of the experiment and a 50-50 chance of costly exit. About one third of the brokers and half of the nurses chose the exit option. While generosity was indeed higher among nurses, even when taking exits into account, the difference cannot readily be attributed to different degrees of altruism.
    Keywords: Dictator game; exit option; generosity; occupational differences
    JEL: D10 D64
    Date: 2011–04–28
  4. By: Czap, Natalia V.; Czap, Hans J.; Khachaturyan, Marianna; Lynne, Gary D.; Burbach, Mark E.
    Abstract: This paper further tests dual interest theory and the metaeconomics approach to environmental choice, recognizing a possible role for empathy-sympathy (the basis for an internalized, shared other-interest) in tempering and conditioning the more fundamental tendency to pursue self-interest. To test, we focus on rivers flowing through agricultural areas carrying sediments, chemicals, and fertilizers which are making their way into downstream rivers and lakes. We use data from a framed experiment. Farmers decide on the usage of conservation technology to lessen impacts on the water quality in downstream areas, which is more costly. The results confirm our hypotheses, demonstrating that upstream farmers who practice conservation are tempering profit maximization with empathy-based, environmentally conscious behavior that better serves the farmersâ own-interest, and thus also serves downstream users. Environmental economics models need to explicitly include empathy-sympathy and the moral-ethical context it produces, providing a more scientific basis for conservation policy and programs.
    Keywords: dual-interest model, metaeconomics, empathy, sympathy, selfism, environmental experiment, behavioral economics, water quality, conservation tillage, conservation policy, Environmental Economics and Policy, Institutional and Behavioral Economics, C9, D03, Q25, Q53, Q57.,
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Dan Usher (Queen's University)
    Abstract: A duty to vote may be many things. It may be no more than an obligation to cast one’s ballot as self-interestedly or as altruistically as one pleases. It may a requirement to vote for the political party most likely to yield the highest social welfare. It may be a requirement to choose between competing parties in the interest of one’s social class or with recognition of the needs of the poor. It may include a requirement to inform oneself about the issues in an election. This paper begins with a critique of the argument denying any duty to vote because, as with participants in the market, there is no conflict between self-interest and public interest in the choice whether to vote or abstain. The core of the paper is a discussion of several interpretations of the duty to vote, and there is a brief review of pros and cons of compulsory voting.
    Keywords: Pivotal voting, Duty to vote, Compulsory voting
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2011–04
  6. By: Pierre-Cyrille Hautcoeur (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - Ecole des Ponts ParisTech - Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris - ENS Paris); Nadine Levratto (EconomiX - CNRS : UMR7166 - Université de Paris X - Nanterre, Euromed Marseille - Ecole de management - Euromed Marseille)
    Abstract: In this paper, we try to measure the impact of the changes in French bankruptcy law in the 19th century focusing on the behaviour of economic agents as users of bankruptcy law for the sake of finding the best solution to their economic problems. Debtors used bankruptcy law in order to minimize their debt level when facing difficulties in servicing it, but they had to convince their creditors and/or the courts of their good faith, and faced the adverse effects of bankruptcy on their reputation and on the smooth functioning of their business. Creditors used bankruptcy law in order to force their debtors to pay, if they could. Judges - who in the French system of specialized commercial courts were elected entrepreneurs - applied the law within a specific economic context (both a specific local context and at a specific moment in the business cycle) which could affect them. The first part of the paper presents the evolution of French bankruptcy law during the 19th century in its historical context. The second part briefly describes the theoretical model we use in order to understand the choices facing debtors and creditors in the face of financial distress. The last part proposes some major stylized facts concerning bankruptcies during that period (based on contemporary official statistics) and tries to understand their relationship with the legal evolution described before.
    Keywords: bankruptcy law ; failure ; firm size ; law implementation ; legal origin ; merchant courts ; France ; 19th century
    Date: 2011–04–21
  7. By: Noujoud Baroudi (TRIANGLE - Triangle : action, discours, pensée politique et économique - CNRS : UMR5206 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - Institut d'Études Politiques de Lyon - École Normale Supérieure de Lyon - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne)
    Abstract: L'ouvrage collectif " conflits et pouvoirs dans les institutions du capitalisme ", réalisé sous la direction de Frédéric Lordon , présente la dynamique des rapports sociaux (le rapport de propriété, le rapport marchand-monétaire, le rapport salarial) du capitalisme en pensant les rapports de pouvoirs qui agissent sur cette dernière. Pour lui, ces rapports sociaux fondamentaux du capitalisme ne sont pas bien déterminés : " c'est l'histoire qui se charge de leur donner leur complément de détermination et de les actualiser en leur donnant telle ou telle forme particulière " (p. 11) ; il essaye ainsi, à travers cet ouvrage, de les actualiser en leur attribuant une certaine forme institutionnelle particulière...
    Keywords: Conflits; pouvoirs, capitalisme, politique
    Date: 2011–04–14

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