nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2011‒09‒05
fourteen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Integrating Personality Psychology into Economics By James J. Heckman
  2. Anarchism and Austrian economics By Boettke, Peter
  3. Rawls’ influence and counter-influence on Sen: post-welfarism and impartiality By Muriel Gilardone, University of Caen Basse-Normandie, France - CREM-CNRS
  4. The Economics of Lotteries: An Annotated Bibliography By Kent Grote; Victor Matheson
  5. An anarchist’s reflection on the political economy of everyday life By Boettke, Peter
  6. O uso de heurísticas no estudo das decisões econômicas By Adriana Sbicca
  7. A Passion for Democracy By Elena Panova
  8. Don't Ask Me If You Will Not Listen: The Dilemma of Participative Decision Making. By Brice Corgnet; Roberto Hernán-González
  9. Tactics and Strategy in Monetary Policy: Benjamin Friedman's Thinking and the Swiss National Bank By Gerlach, Stefan; Jordan, Thomas J.
  10. Tastes, Castes, and Culture: The Influence of Society on Preferences By Fehr, Ernst; Hoff, Karla
  11. Rankings Games By Bruno S. Frey; Margit Osterloh
  12. Smooth Ambiguity Aversion in the Small and in the Large By Loïc Berger
  13. Desert and Inequity Averson in Teams By David Gill; Rebecca Stone
  14. The Economics of Lotteries: A Survey of the Literature By Kent Grote; Victor Matheson

  1. By: James J. Heckman
    Abstract: This paper reviews the problems and potential benefits of integrating personality psychology into economics. Economists have much to learn from and contribute to personality psychology.
    JEL: I2 J24
    Date: 2011–08
  2. By: Boettke, Peter
    Abstract: In the 2011 Franz Cuhel Memorial Lecture, I argue that the study of endogenous rule formation in economic life (what I term the positive political economy of anarchism) should be studied in-depth and that the economic analysis of the Austrian school of economics provides many of the key analytical insights necessary for such study.
    Keywords: Rule formation; Enterprise of Law; Austrian Economics
    JEL: O17 B41 B53 P16
    Date: 2011
  3. By: Muriel Gilardone, University of Caen Basse-Normandie, France - CREM-CNRS
    Abstract: Rawls has been a constant reference for Sen both to overcome welfarism and consider impartiality. In this paper, we’ll try to identify Sen’s paradoxical relationship to Rawls’ work that has evolved with time. The dialogue between both authors emerged in the late sixties, while Sen was working on a constructive social choice theory. Sen greatly benefited from Rawls’ insight as his proposition for a “weak equity axiom” (Sen, 1973) attests, inspired by Rawls’ difference principle. Sen then developed an important critics of what he calls welfarism, partly induced by Rawls too. In the eighties, Sen came up with a capability approach centered on individual life potentialities, rather than utility or primary goods. While it has often been perceived as a mere extension of Rawls’ theory of justice, it has to be acknowledged that Sen developed a strong critics of Rawls’ view of impartiality that led him toward a concept of “trans-positional objectivity” as a better basis for social judgments. The Idea of justice gives a final and decisive inflexion to his position vis-à-vis Rawls: not only Sen (2009) disagrees with Rawls’ view of impartiality, but he refuses the social contract perspective to provide an underpinning for a theory of justice.
    Keywords: Sen, Rawls, Interpersonal utility comparisons, post-welfarism, positional objectivity
    JEL: D63 B31 B41
    Date: 2011–08
  4. By: Kent Grote (Department of Economics and Business, Lake Forest College); Victor Matheson (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)
    Abstract: This paper presents an annotated bibliography of all papers relating to the economics of lotteries as of early to mid 2011. All published scholarly papers that could be identified by the authors are included along with the published abstract where available.
    Keywords: lotto, lottery, public finance, gambling
    JEL: D81 H71 L83
    Date: 2011–08
  5. By: Boettke, Peter
    Abstract: James Scott has written a detailed ethnography on the lives of the peoples of upland Southeast Asia who choose to escape oppressive government by living at the edge of their civilization. To the political economist the fascinating story told by Scott provides useful narratives in need of analytical exposition. There remains in this work a “plea for mechanism”; the mechanisms that enable social cooperation to emerge among individuals living outside the realm of state control. Social cooperation outside the formal rules of governance, nevertheless require “rules” of social intercourse, and techniques of “enforcement” to ensure the disciplining of opportunistic behavior.
    Keywords: economic development; self-regulation; political economy; peasant economy
    JEL: O17 P48
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Adriana Sbicca (Universidade Federal do Paraná)
    Abstract: Herbert Simon disseminated his bounded rationality approach in his vast academic production. The recognition of the complex environment and the cognitive limits led him to study about the use of heuristics in the decision-making. Around this idea, a new path to the study of human decisions has been developed. More recently, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky have analysed the relation between heuristics and biases of behaviour, and this approach has gained great space in the academic world. This paper discusses the Simon´s, Kahneman and Tversky’s contributions and proposes a promising complement to the construction of behavioural fundations of Economy.
    Keywords: bounded rationality, heuristics, Herbert Simon, Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky
    JEL: B50 D83
    Date: 2011
  7. By: Elena Panova
    Abstract: Theories of voter turnout assume that an active voter receives a warm glow from doing a good deed to like-minded compatriots. What tells him that he is doing them a good deed by voting for this or that candidate or policy? Their own votes are naturally available feedback. We propose a dynamic model of voting with asymmetric information in which being among the majority provides a voter with a positive feedback on his voting decision, increasing his self confidence, hence, his warm glow from voting in the future. The voters who cannot tell which policy is superior, try to pool with a majority (so as to get involved in the democratic process). They vote much according to the available public information, however, without herding. We find these effects in the unique equilibrium of our voting game. <P>Les théories de vote supposent qu'un électeur reçoit de la satisfaction ou du « warm glow » quand il vote. Le « warm glow » est créé par la confiance d'une bonne action envers ses compatriotes. Qu'est-ce qui fait croire à un électeur qu'il fait une bonne action envers ses compatriotes en votant pour telle ou telle plateforme politique? Leurs propres votes sont un signal naturellement disponible. Nous proposons un modèle dynamique de vote avec des informations asymétriques dans lequel la majorité fournit un signal positif sur le choix de vote. Ce signal augmente la confiance de l’électeur en ses choix de vote, et par conséquent, son « warm glow » de votes prochains. Les électeurs qui ne peuvent pas distinguer quelle plateforme politique est supérieure essaient d'imiter le vote de majorité afin de bâtir la confiance en ses choix de vote et s'impliquer dans le processus démocratique. Ils votent surtout selon les informations publiques disponibles, cependant, sans « herding ». Nous trouvons ces effets dans l'équilibre unique de notre jeu de vote.
    Keywords: expressive voting, habitual voting, complementarities in voting, self-signaling, public information and the vote, status quo bias., vote expressif, vote habituel, complémentarités au vote, self-signaling, information publique et vote, tendance au statu qo.
    JEL: D71 D72 D82 D83 P16
    Date: 2011–05–01
  8. By: Brice Corgnet (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University); Roberto Hernán-González (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)
    Abstract: We study the effect of participative decision making in an experimental principalagent game, where the principal can consult the agent’s preferred option regarding the task to be undertaken in the final stage of the game. We show that consulting the agent was beneficial to principals as long as they followed the agent’s choice. Ignoring the agent’s choice was detrimental to the principal as it engendered negative emotions and low levels of transfers. Nevertheless, the majority of principals were reluctant to change their mind and adopt the agent’s proposal. Our results suggest that the ability to change one’s own mind is an important dimension of managerial success.
    Keywords: organizational behavior, participative decision making, principal-agent model
    JEL: C92 D23 D82 E2
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Gerlach, Stefan; Jordan, Thomas J.
    Abstract: This paper reviews the tactics and strategy of monetary policy in Switzerland, using a selection of Benjamin Friedman’s papers to organize the discussion, and starting in the early 1970s, when his academic papers started to appear in scholarly journals. The review focuses on the SNB’s experience with monetary targets in 1975-1999, the policy strategy adopted by the SNB in 2000, and the SNB’s experiences during the financial crisis that started in August 2007. On many occasions, Benjamin Friedman’s and the SNB’s thinking converge, while on others, they diverge.
    Keywords: financial crisis; inflation targeting; monetary policy; monetary targeting; Swiss National Bank
    JEL: E43 E53 E58
    Date: 2011–08
  10. By: Fehr, Ernst (University of Zurich); Hoff, Karla (World Bank)
    Abstract: Economists have traditionally treated preferences as exogenously given. Preferences are assumed to be influenced by neither beliefs nor the constraints people face. As a consequence, changes in behaviour are explained exclusively in terms of changes in the set of feasible alternatives. Here we argue that the opposition to explaining behavioural changes in terms of preference changes is ill-founded, that the psychological properties of preferences render them susceptible to direct social influences, and that the impact of "society" on preferences is likely to have important economic and social consequences.
    Keywords: endogenous preferences, culture, caste, frames, anchors, elicitation devices
    JEL: A12 A13 D01 K0
    Date: 2011–08
  11. By: Bruno S. Frey; Margit Osterloh
    Abstract: Research rankings based on publications and citations today dominate governance of academia. Yet they have unintended side effects on individual scholars and academic institutions and can be counterproductive. They induce a substitution of the "taste for science" by a "taste for publication". We suggest as alternatives careful selection and socialization of scholars, supplemented by periodic self-evaluations and awards. Neither should rankings be a basis for the distributions of funds within universities. Rather, qualified individual scholars should be supported by basic funds to be able to engage in new and unconventional research topics and methods.
    Keywords: Academic governance; rankings; motivation; selection; socialization
    JEL: A10 D02 H83 L23 M50
    Date: 2011–08
  12. By: Loïc Berger
    Abstract: In this paper I use the smooth ambiguity model developed by Klibanoff, Marinacci, and Mukerji (2005) to define the concepts of ambiguity and uncertainty premia in a way analogous to what Pratt (1964) did in the risk theory literature. I show that those concepts may be useful to quantify the effect ambiguity has on the welfare of economic agents. I also provide local approximations of these premia and show the link that exists between them when comparing different degrees of ambiguity aversion not only in the small, but also in the large.
    Keywords: ambiguity aversion; non-expected utility; uncertainty
    JEL: D81 D91
    Date: 2011–08
  13. By: David Gill; Rebecca Stone
    Abstract: Teams are becoming increasingly important in work settings. We develop a framework to study the strategic implications of a meritocratic notion of desert under which team members care about receiving what they feel they deserve. Team members find it painful to receive less than their perceived entitlement, while receiving more may induce pleasure or pain depending on whether preferences exhibit desert elation or desert guilt. Our notion of desert generalizes distributional concern models to situations in which effort choices affect the distribution perceived to be fair; in particular, desert nests inequity aversion over money net of effort costs as a special case. When identical teammates share output equally, desert guilt generates a continuum of symmetric equilibria. Equilibrium effort can lie above or below the level in the absence of desert, so desert guilt generates behavior consistent with both positive and negative reciprocity and may underpin social norms of cooperation.
    Keywords: Desert, deservingness, equity, inequity aversion, loss aversion, reference-dependence preferences, guilt, reciprocity, social norms, team production
    JEL: D63 J33
    Date: 2011
  14. By: Kent Grote (Department of Economics and Business, Lake Forest College); Victor Matheson (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)
    Abstract: Lotteries represent an important source of government revenues in many states and countries, so they are of interest to public finance economists. In addition, lotteries provide researchers interested in microeconomic theory and consumer behavior with a type of experimental lab that allows economists to explore these topics. This paper surveys the existing literature on lotteries organized around these two central themes. The first section examines the microeconomic aspects of lotteries including consumer decision-making under uncertainty, price and income elasticities of demand for lottery tickets, cross-price elasticities of lottery ticket to each other and to other gambling products, consumer rationality and gambling, and the efficiency of lottery markets. The second section covers topics related to public finance and public choice including the revenue potential of lotteries, the tax efficiency and dead-weight loss of lottery games, the horizontal and vertical equity of lotteries, earmarking and the fungibility of lottery revenues, and individual state decisions to participate in participate in public lotteries.
    Keywords: lotto, lottery, public finance, gambling
    JEL: D81 H71 L83
    Date: 2011–08

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