nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2012‒03‒08
nine papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. From Property Rights and Institutions, to Beliefs and Social Orders: Revisiting Douglass North’s Approach to Development. By Dellepiane-Avellaneda, Sebastian
  2. Desert and inequity aversion in teams By David, Gill; Rebecca, Stone
  3. "Verteilungs(un)gleichgewicht" in Deutschland: Zweieinhalb theoretische Konzepte und fünf empirische Belege. Gerold Blümle zum 75. Geburtstag By Sell, Friedrich L.; Stratmann, Felix
  4. Genes, Economics and Happiness By Nicholas A. Christakis; Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; James H. Fowler; Bruno S. Frey
  5. On the Existence of Markov Perfect Equilibria in Perfect Information Games By Hannu Salonen; Hannu Vartiainen
  6. Right-Wing Political Extremism in the Great Depression By Alan de Bromhead; Barry Eichengreen; Kevin H. O'Rourke
  7. Etat 01de l'éthique dans les entreprises. By Olivier Charpateau
  8. La valeur psychologique du temps : Une synthèse de la littérature By Hubert De La Bruslerie; Florent Pratlong
  9. Culture and the Historical Process By Nathan Nunn

  1. By: Dellepiane-Avellaneda, Sebastian
    Abstract: Douglass North is a uniquely creative and inspiring social scientist. The impact of North’s ideas in the area development cooperation can hardly be overstated. By stressing the role of institutions, this scholar has immensely influenced development thinking and practice, providing intellectual underpinnings to the dominant good governance paradigm. North’s landmark Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance is one of the most cited books in the social sciences. This paper contends, however, that North’s ideas are widely cited, but not always properly understood. Moreover, some of his core arguments have been overlooked, ignored, or misrepresented, not least by the aid community. This paper provides a systematic assessment of the content and evolution of North’s writings, from his pioneering works on property rights and institutions in the 1970s, to his recent scholarship on beliefs and political violence. The focus is on identifying the key analytical problems and remaining challenges of the institutional approach to development. The paper also takes issue with the inconsistencies and policy gaps of the good governance consensus. In doing so, it also reflects upon the future of the research program on institutions and development. Would the renewed emphasis on politics, conflict, inequality, and context lead to an improved governance agenda or to a shift towards a post-institutionalist paradigm?
    Date: 2012–01
  2. 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 team 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-dependent preferences; Guilt; Reciprocity; Social norms; Team production
    JEL: D63 J33
    Date: 2012–02
  3. By: Sell, Friedrich L.; Stratmann, Felix
    Abstract: -- In this paper, we defend the idea of the potential existence of equilibrium in personal income distribution in Germany. This concept can be motivated by two different approaches: One is a status theory put forward by Gerold Blümle, the other is a sort of hybrid variant of the prospect theory, put forward by the authors. In both models, the actual size and the distribution of personal incomes are compared with the judgments/beliefs of economic agents about these facts. If agents feel their incomes to be by and large in shape and the income distribution to be fair, then equilibrium is possible. In the second part of the paper, we come up with empirical findings from Germany in the last two decades: since the new millennium income distribution became definitely more unequal and the lower and the medium incomes decreased or at least stagnated. The economic agents involved in this development revealed their feelings in inquiries: a great majority thinks that these changes were inappropriate and unfair. It remains to be seen whether economic policy is willing and/or capable to restore equilibrium in personal income distribution.
    Keywords: Theorie und Empirie der personellen Einkommensverteilung,Statustheorie,Prospect-Theorie,Zufriedenheits- und Gerechtigkeitsforschung
    JEL: C44 C81 C82 D31 D63
    Date: 2012
  4. By: Nicholas A. Christakis; Jan-Emmanuel De Neve; James H. Fowler; Bruno S. Frey
    Abstract: A major finding from research into the sources of subjective well-being is that individuals exhibit a "baseline" level of happiness. We explore the influence of genetic variation by employing a twin design and genetic association study. We first show that about 33% of the variation in happiness is explained by genes. Next, using two independent data sources, we present evidence that individuals with a transcriptionally more efficient version of the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) report significantly higher levels of life satisfaction. These results are the first to identify a specific gene that is associated with happiness and suggest that behavioral models benefit from integrating genetic variation.
    Keywords: wellbeing, socio-demographics, happiness, genetics, life satisfaction
    JEL: A12 D03 D87 Z00
    Date: 2012–02
  5. By: Hannu Salonen (Department of Economics and PCRC, University of Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland); Hannu Vartiainen (HECER, P.O. Box 17 (Arkadiankatu 7), FI-00014 University of Helsinki)
    Abstract: We study the existence of pure strategy Markov perfect equilibria in two-person perfect information games. There is a state space X and each period player's possible actions are a subset of X. This set of feasible actions depends on the current state, which is determined by the choice of the other player in the previous period. We assume that X is a compact Hausdorff space and that the action correspondence has an acyclic and asymmetric graph. For some states there may be no feasible actions and then the game ends. Payoffs are either discounted sums of utilities of the states visited, or the utility of the state where the game ends. We give sufficient conditions for the existence of equilibrium e.g. in case when either feasible action sets are finite or when players' payoffs are continuously dependent on each other. The latter class of games includes zero-sum games and pure coordination games.
    Keywords: dynamic games, Markov perfect equilibrium
    JEL: C72 C73
    Date: 2011–10
  6. By: Alan de Bromhead; Barry Eichengreen; Kevin H. O'Rourke
    Abstract: We examine the impact of the Great Depression on the share of votes for right-wing anti-system parties in elections in the 1920s and 1930s. We confirm the existence of a link between political extremism and economic hard times as captured by growth or contraction of the economy. What mattered was not simply growth at the time of the election but cumulative growth performance. But the effect of the Depression on support for right-wing anti-system parties was not equally powerful under all economic, political and social circumstances. It was greatest in countries with relatively short histories of democracy, with existing extremist parties, and with electoral systems that created low hurdles to parliamentary representation. Above all, it was greatest where depressed economic conditions were allowed to persist.
    JEL: N0 N14
    Date: 2012–02
  7. By: Olivier Charpateau (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS : UMR7088 - Université Paris IX - Paris Dauphine)
    Abstract: Le chapitre présente, dans un langage simple et accessible les principaux enjeux de la gestion de l'éthique dans les organisations : définir l'éthique, finalités des pratiques, modalités de mis en oeuvre. Enfin, le chapitre pose quelques questions qui font débat tant pour le manager (éthique et stratégie) que pur le chercheur en gestion (peut-on ne pas juger ?).
    Keywords: Ethique ; deontologie
    Date: 2011
  8. By: Hubert De La Bruslerie (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS : UMR7088 - Université Paris IX - Paris Dauphine); Florent Pratlong (PRISM-Sorbonne - Université Paris I - Panthéon Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Cet article procède à une synthèse de la littérature sur la question de la valeur psychologique du temps. Il discute des différents déterminants du taux d'actualisation et la possibilité d'avoir une fonction d'escompte de type hyperbolique. L'approche historique permet de retracer les origines du concept de valeur psychologique du temps. Ce concept est ensuite rediscuter dans le cadre de la théorie des perspectives, en considérant que l'utilité ressentie de l'agent vient modifier la structure de leur valeur psychologique du temps. L'analyse des résultats empiriques et des méthodologies d'identification permet de mettre en évidence que motifs individuels et psychologiques conditionnent le caractère intertemporel des choix.
    Keywords: Taux d'actualisation; choix intertemporel; actualisation hyperbolique; préférence pour le présent
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Nathan Nunn
    Abstract: This article discusses the importance of accounting for cultural values and beliefs when studying the process of historical economic development. A notion of culture as heuristics or rules-of-thumb that aid in decision making is described. Because cultural traits evolve based upon relative fitness, historical shocks can have persistent impacts if they alter the costs and benefits of different traits. A number of empirical studies confirm that culture is an important mechanism that helps explain why historical shocks can have persistent impacts; these are reviewed here. As an example, I discuss the colonial origins hypothesis (Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson, 2001), and show that our understanding of the transplantation of European legal and political institutions during the colonial period remains incomplete unless the values and beliefs brought by European settlers are taken into account. It is these cultural beliefs that formed the foundation of the initial institutions that in turn were key for long-term economic development.
    JEL: B52 N00
    Date: 2012–02

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