nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2011‒06‒18
seven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Fair competition: The engine of economic development By Thomas, Alex M; Walling, Lima
  2. The dynamics of legitimation - Why the study of political legitimacy needs more realism By Daniel Gaus
  3. Is conceptual vagueness an asset? Resilience research from the perspective of philosophy of science By Sebastian Strunz
  4. Size matters - when it comes to lies By Gerald Eisenkopf; Ruslan Gurtoviy; Verena Utikal
  5. Chris Pissarides, CEP's Nobel laureate By Barbara Petrongolo
  6. Big ideas: economic geography By Henry Overman
  7. In nitely-lived agents via two-sided altruism By Seghir, Abdelkrim; Salem, Sherif

  1. By: Thomas, Alex M; Walling, Lima
    Abstract: This paper questions the existing notion of competition prevalent in economic theory. It is shown that the prevalent idea of competition is incompatible with economic development. Fair competition, this paper argues, ought to be understood in context. The paper ends by providing some preliminary suggestions to economists and policy makers on how to understand competition.
    Keywords: Competition; Economic development; Classical economics; Indian economy
    JEL: D63 D41 E13 O11 L16 D43 E11 O12
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Daniel Gaus
    Abstract: The paper suggests a practice turn in the analysis of political legitimacy. Current social science research on political legitimacy suffers twofold. First, it shows an undue (silent) impact of an ethics-first perspective. Second, empirical approaches to political legitimacy mostly focus on societal constellations of citizens’ beliefs. The dynamic character of political legitimacy as a concept referring to an ongoing societal practice of legitimation is missed. Understanding legitimacy in terms of legitimation practice suggests a broadened research agenda that a) reserves a greater role to hermeneutical approaches and that b) acknowledges the systematic relation of political theory, the sociology of knowledge and the history of ideas in that matter.
    Keywords: democracy; legitimacy; methodological issues; political science; normative political theory
    Date: 2011–05–15
  3. By: Sebastian Strunz (Sustainability Economics Group, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany)
    Abstract: I analyze the research on social-ecological resilience from the perspective of philosophy of science in three steps. First, I explore to what degree resilience research exhibits conceptual vagueness. I find a wide spectrum of research, ranging from approaches relying on a concise conceptual framework to the perspective of “resilience thinking”, which builds on a cluster of vague concepts. Second, I set out the methodological arguments in favor and against conceptual vagueness. Merging both strands of reasoning in the third step, I conclude that a trade-off between vagueness and precision exists, which is to be solved differently depending on the context of resilience research. In some contexts, resilience research benefits from conceptual vagueness while in others it depends on precision. Specifically, I argue that in “resilience thinking” the trade-off might be enhanced by a coherent restructuring of the conceptual framework.
    Keywords: vagueness, philosophy of science, precision, resilience thinking, socialecological systems
    JEL: B40 Q57
    Date: 2011–05
  4. By: Gerald Eisenkopf; Ruslan Gurtoviy; Verena Utikal
    Abstract: A small lie appears trivial but it obviously violates moral commandments. We analyze whether the preference for others’ truth telling is absolute or depends on the size of a lie. In a laboratory experiment we compare punishment for different sizes of lies controlling for the resulting economic harm. We find that people are sensitive to the size of a lie and that this behavioral pattern is driven by honest people. People who lie themselves punish softly in any context.
    Keywords: Lying, norm violation, punishment, experiment
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Barbara Petrongolo
    Abstract: Barbara Petrongolo outlines how his analysis of markets with search frictions has enhanced our understanding of how labour markets work and how policy-makers should respond
    Date: 2011–03
  6. By: Henry Overman
    Abstract: Henry Overman sketches the evolution of CEP research on why prosperity is so unevenly distributed across cities, regions and nations
    Date: 2011–03
  7. By: Seghir, Abdelkrim; Salem, Sherif
    Abstract: In an incomplete market with two sided altruistic agents and default.We show equilibrium existence if members of a dynasty act in an individualistic way by maximizing their own intergenerational utility functions. We also illustrate that a dynasty may end doing Ponzi schemes if its members act in a collectivistic way by maximizing a dynasty's collectivistic utility. We also prove that Ponzi schemes are ruled out and equilibrium existence is restored if there exist, always in the future, some agents who are not too altruistic either towards their parents or their ospring.
    Keywords: Innitely-Lived Agents; Two-Sided Altruism; Individualistic Equilibrium; Collectivstic Equilibrium.
    JEL: D91 D64 D52
    Date: 2010–09–21

This nep-hpe issue is ©2011 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.