nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2012‒05‒22
fourteen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Economics and ethics: a historical approach By Ciani Scarnicci, Manuela
  2. Towards a new brain science: lessons from the economic collapse By Jaime Gomez-Ramirez; Manuel G. Bedia
  3. Online accessibility of academic articles and the diversity of economics By Timo Boppart; Kevin E. Staub
  4. Rigor, wissenschaftliche und praktische Relevanz By Dilger, Alexander
  5. Trustworthy by Convention By M. Bigoni; S. Bortolotti; M. Casari; D. Gambetta
  6. Milton Friedman, the Demand for Money and the ECB’s Monetary-Policy Strategy By Stephen Hall; P.A.V.B. Swamy; George S. Tavlas
  7. The Euro crisis: a historical perspective . By Mourlon-Druol, Emmanuel
  8. Der Leipziger Auwald - ein dynamischer Lebensraum. Tagungsband zum 5. Leipziger Auensymposium am 16. April 2011 By Wirth, Christian (Ed.); Reiher, Almut (Ed.); Zäumer, Uta (Ed.); Kasperidus, Hans Dieter (Ed.)
  9. Homo Economicus vs. Human Being: Outcomes of Irrationality By Shoko Yamane; Hiroyasu Yoneda; Yoshiro Tsutsui
  10. Awareness To Accounting And Role Of Accounting At Religious Organisations. The Case Of Brotherhoods Of Seville At The Last Decade Of 16th Century By Jesus Damian Lopez Manjon; Juan Baños Sanchez-Matamoros; Maria Concepcion Alvarez-Dardet Espejo
  11. Milton Friedman, the Demand for Money and the ECB’s Monetary-Policy Strategy By Clive Fraser
  12. John Richard Hicks and the Rehabilitation of the Walrasian treatment of Capital By Paolo Trabucchi
  13. The Money Value of a Man By Mark Huggett; Greg Kaplan
  14. Implikationen ökologischer Rationalität By Lingnau, Volker; Koffler, Ulrich; Kokot, Katharina; Tenhaeff, Christian

  1. By: Ciani Scarnicci, Manuela
    Abstract: Amartya Sen (1933-) is one of the greatest scholars who studied the relationship between ethics and economics and was held the Nobel Economics Prize thanks to this. At the awarding of the Nobel prize, while talking about his studies, the motive was: “...has been highly instrumental in restoring an ethical dimension to economics and related disciplines”. Precisely the theories of this binomial taken from the work of A. Sen “Economics and Ethics” are the basis of this work. Thanks to A. Sen there is proof that there has been a strong detachment of economics from ethics and this is to be considered as one of the greatest lack of the modern economic theory. The basis of the argument of the Nobel Prize winner is the idea that economy can be made more productive in paying more attention to ethical considerations which determine human beings’ behaviour and judgement. Sen, affirms that the predominant economic theory is the one based on individual interest aimed at the maximization of one’s own benefits, yet there aren’t proofs that this maximization is present in any choice of men. Moreover, it is not true that by only following one’s own interest it is possible to reach excellent economic trends. Adam Smith’s theory itself on self- interest, if careful interpretation is provided, do not represent a support for the defenders of human behavior which is only moved by self-interest. Obviously, there might be peculiar situations too where self-interest might lead to ethical approaches. Ethical economics is based on the behavior that individuals exercise in doing business practices. It is then useful to understand what causes such behaviors, therefore it is important to retrieve an interdisciplinary economic study, as Robert Skidelsky claims in his work “The return of the Master”. In this script he tries to give a perspective on the reasons which push an individual towards justice and equity. This dissertation arises from the theories of a few great political philosophers who found their teachings not only on the intrinsic reasons of the human nature but also on the role a State must have to make possible for a civil society to exercise those principles previously said. All the authors considered assume that the individual is a social animal and so the latter is analyzed and studied as integrated in a social context .
    Keywords: Aritotle; Sen; Hume; Hobbes; Kant; Rousseau; Calvin; D'Aquino; Smith; ASP; Sympathy; aurea medietas; Becker; Locke;
    JEL: D63 I18 Z10 N00 H30 A11
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Jaime Gomez-Ramirez; Manuel G. Bedia
    Abstract: Since the financial crash in 2008, economic science and the economic profession are under siege. Critics point fingers at ivory tower economists, devoted to the construction of unfalsifiable models based on unrealistic assumptions in purely theoretical basis. Economies are complex man-made systems where organisms and markets interact according to motivations and principles not entirely understood yet. Neo-classical economics is agnostic about the neural mechanisms that underlie the valuation of choices and decision making. The increasing dissatisfaction with the postulates of traditional economics i.e. perfectly rational agents, interacting through efficient markets in the search of equilibrium, has created new incentives for different approcahes in economics. Behavioral economics [2],[9] builds on cognitive and emotional models of agents, Neuroeconomics addresses the neurobiological basis of valuation of choices [8],[7] or Evolutionary economics [3], [5], [4],[1],[6] which strives for a new understanding of the economy as a complex evolutionary system, composed of agents that adapt to endogenous patterns out of equilibrium regions. The science of complexity may provide the platform to cross disciplinary boundaries in seemgly disparate fields such as brain science and economics. In this paper we take an integrative stance, fostering new insights into the economic character of neural activity. Key concepts in brain science like Hebbian learning and neural plasticity are revisited and elaborated, inside a new theoretical framework, that is sensitive to the new ideas that econophysics is proposing for financial markets. The objective here is to precisely delineate common topics in both neural and economic science, within a systemic outlook grounded in empirical basis that jolts the unification across the science of complex systems.
    Date: 2012–05
  3. By: Timo Boppart; Kevin E. Staub
    Abstract: A key aspect of generating new ideas is drawing from different elements of preexisting knowledge and combining them into a new idea. In such a process, the diversity of ideas plays a central role. This paper examines the empirical question of how the internet affected the diversity of new research by making the existing literature accessible online. The internet marks a technological shock which affects how academic scientists search for and browse through published documents. Using article-level data from economics journals for the period 1991 to 2009, we document how online accessibility lead academic economists to draw from a more diverse set of literature, and to write articles which incorporated more diverse contents.
    Keywords: Digitization, online publication, bibliometrics, knowledge production function, recombinant growth, citations, networks, scholarly communication
    JEL: A11 D83 O31 O33
    Date: 2012–05
  4. By: Dilger, Alexander
    Abstract: Rigour versus Relevance impliziert einen Gegensatz, der nicht existiert. Auch die übliche Gleichsetzung von Rigor mit Wissenschaft und Relevanz mit Praxis führt zu falschen Schlüssen. Stattdessen wird gezeigt, dass die Unterscheidung zwischen Rigor und Relevanz inner-halb der Wissenschaft möglich und nötig ist. Es besteht dann ein klar hierarchisches Verhältnis dergestalt, dass es in der Wissenschaft auf wissenschaftliche Relevanz ankommt, zu der Rigor beiträgt, jedoch auch andere Faktoren, die nicht zu vernachlässigen sind. Es wird eine wissenschaftsimmanente Tendenz zu mehr und mehr Rigor aufgezeigt, der möglichst entgegenzuwirken ist, ohne zu viel Rigor zu opfern. Zukünftig sollte die Diskussion jedenfalls hauptsächlich über die Charakteristika und Voraussetzungen möglichst guter Wissenschaft geführt werden, nicht als Scheingefecht unter Wissenschaftlern über mangelnden versus unmöglichen Praxisbezug. Die praktische Relevanz stellt sich als eine zusätzliche Dimension dar, die weder identisch mit noch gegensätzlich zu wissenschaftlicher Relevanz ist. Beide können voneinander profitieren, wobei Rigor eher indirekt als direkt, nämlich vermittelt über die wissenschaftliche Relevanz, für die Praxis relevant wird, die mehr an den wissenschaftlichen Ergebnissen als der Art ihres Zustandekommens interessiert ist. Private Unternehmen werden wegen des Kollektivgutcharakters öffentlichen Wissens vor allem für private oder schützbare Informationen zu zahlen bereit sein, was nicht dem öffentlichen Charakter von Wissenschaft, insbesondere an öffentlichen Universitäten und Forschungseinrichtungen, entspricht. Ein besonderes Problem ist das Rechtfertigungsinteresse von Praktikern einschließlich Politikern für vorher feststehende Positionen, welches die Wissenschaft zu korrumpieren droht und eine institutionalisierte Sicherung der Autonomie von Wissenschaftlern umso dringlicher erscheinen lässt. -- Rigour versus Relevance implies an antagonism that does not exist. The usual equalisation of rigour with science (including social sciences) and relevance with praxis is also misleading. Instead, it is shown that the distinction between rigour and relevance is possible and necessary within science. Then there is an obvious hierarchy in science with academic relevance at the top, which is advanced by rigour but also by other relevant factors. There is a tendency immanent in science to more and more rigour, which has to be countered without sacrificing too much rigour. The future discussion should focus on the characteristics and conditions of as good as possible science instead of having a sham fight between academics about lacking versus impossible practical relevance. The practical relevance is an additional dimension of science, neither identical with nor opposite to academic relevance. Both can profit from each other. Rigour adds rather indirectly than directly to practical relevance, moderated by academic relevance. Practitioners have a higher interest in academic results than in the exact ways of getting them. Private companies are inclined to pay only for private information or such knowledge they can protect by patents or copyrights because of the collective goods character of public knowledge. This corresponds badly with the public character of science, especially science done by public universities and research institutions. A special problem is the interest of practitioners including politicians to justify previously given beliefs that threatens to corrupt open-minded science and highlights the importance of institutional protections of academic autonomy.
    JEL: A11 B41 C00 H41 H52 I23 O30
    Date: 2012
  5. By: M. Bigoni; S. Bortolotti; M. Casari; D. Gambetta
    Abstract: Social life offers innumerable instances in which trust relations involve multiple agents. In an experiment, we study a new setting called Collective Trust Game where there are multiple trustees, who may have an incentive to coordinate their actions. Trustworthiness has also a strategic motivation, and the trusters' decision depends upon their beliefs about the predominant convention with regard to trustworthiness. In this respect, the Collective Trust Games offers a richer pattern of behavior than dyadic games. We report that the levels of trustworthiness are almost thirty percentage points higher when strategic motivations are present rather than not. Higher levels of trustworthiness also led to higher levels of trust. Moreover, strategic motives appear as a major drive for trustees, comparable in size to positive reciprocity, and more important than concerns for equality.
    JEL: C92 C72 D03
    Date: 2012–05
  6. By: Stephen Hall; P.A.V.B. Swamy; George S. Tavlas
    Abstract: The European Central Bank (ECB) assigns a greater weight to the role of money in its monetary-policy strategy than most, if not all, other major central banks. Nevertheless, reflecting the view that the demand for money became unstable in the early-2000s, some commentators in the press have reported that the ECB has “downgraded” the role of money-demand functions in its strategy. This paper explains the ECB’s monetary-policy strategy and shows the considerable influence of Milton Friedman’s contributions on the formulation of that strategy. The paper also provides new evidence on the stability of euro-area money-demand. Following a conjecture made by Friedman (1956), we assign a role to uncertainty in the money-demand function. We find that, although uncertainty is mean–reverting, it is none-the-less non-stationary, subject to wide swings, and has substantial effects on the demand for money.
    Keywords: ECB’s monetary-policy strategy; Milton Friedman; money demand
    JEL: C20 E41
    Date: 2012–04
  7. By: Mourlon-Druol, Emmanuel
    Abstract: In this research report IDEAS explores the current euro crisis by looking at the debates preceding the conception of the euro. How can the early days of EU monetary cooperation help us understand today's predicament? And what lessons can we draw from them for the euro? Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol is Pinto Fellow at LSE IDEAS. Today's debates about the viability of the eurozone bear a striking resemblance with those about the creation of a European single currency in the late twentieth century. The early steps of European monetary cooperation, the negotiations over the creation of the European Monetary System (EMS), those over the creation of the euro, as well as the other plans suggested which eventually failed (the proposal for a European parallel currency for instance), help us better understand the challenges that the euro faces today. Many of the issues at stake then are indeed still central to debates now. The question of the transfer of resources from richer to poorer member states, the adoption of a German-inspired interpretation of monetary policy, to take but two examples, are issues that anyone reading today's newspapers will be familiar with. This paper argues that looking at these past debates do not just provide an insight into the past – but also helps us better understand our current predicament.
    Date: 2011–06
  8. By: Wirth, Christian (Ed.); Reiher, Almut (Ed.); Zäumer, Uta (Ed.); Kasperidus, Hans Dieter (Ed.)
    Abstract: Inhaltsverzeichnis: Eröffnungsrede der Leiterin des Amtes für Umweltschutz der Stadt Leipzig / Angelika Freifrau von Fritsch S.1. Grußwort des Prorektors für Forschung und Nachwuchsförderung der Universität Leipzig / Prof. Dr. Matthias Schwarz S.2. Rezente Auenwälder in Mitteleuropa - Relikte alter Naturlandschaften? Ein Beitrag zur Natürlichkeit komplexer Ökosysteme in alten Kulturlandschaften / Prof. Dr. Andreas Lechner S.4. Bedeutung und Förderung auendynamischer Prozesse / Dr. Lutz Reichhoff S.19. Auen und Auenwälder in urbanen Räumen / Hans Dieter Kasperidus und Mathias Scholz S.26. Lebendige Luppe - attraktive Auenlandschaft: Wiederherstellung ehemaliger Wasserläufe der Luppe im nördlichen Leipziger Auwald / Jörg Putkunz S.31. Dynamische Aue - ein Projekt zur Wiedervernässung in der Südaue / Dr. Karl Steib S.38. Die Bedeutung des naturschutzfachlichen Monitorings an Beispielen aus dem Leipziger Auwald / Prof. Dr. Klaus Richter und Hendrik Teubert S.45. Fortschreibung der Konzeption zur forstlichen Pflege des Leipziger Auwaldes / Andreas Sickert S.51. Der Zwergstichling - das Leipziger Auwaldtier des Jahres 2011 / Roland Zitschke S.58. Leipziger Auwaldorganismen des Jahres / Uta Zäumer S.60. Ökologische Forschung im Leipziger Auwald: Status Quo und Gedanken zur Zukunft / Prof. Dr. Christian Wirth S.66. Nachruf auf Prof. em. Dr. Gerd K. Müller S.72. 12 Thesen zu Erhaltung, Schutz und Renaturierung des Leipziger Auensystems / Prof. Dr. Gerd K. Müller S.73. --
    Date: 2011
  9. By: Shoko Yamane; Hiroyasu Yoneda; Yoshiro Tsutsui
    Abstract: This paper investigates the individual outcomes of irrational thinking, including paranormality and non-scientific thinking. These modes of thinking are identified by factor analysis from a 2008 survey. Income and happiness are used as measures of performance. Empirical results reveal that non-scientific thinking lowers income, whereas paranormality does not affect it. While non-scientific thinking lowers happiness, paranormality raises it. Extending the model, we find that higher ability and self-control result in higher income and happiness. Selfishness raises income, but diminishes happiness. These results suggest that Homo economicus generally achieves higher individual performance, except that belief in paranormality raises happiness.
    Date: 2012–05
  10. By: Jesus Damian Lopez Manjon (Department of Finance and Accounting, Universidad Pablo de Olavide); Juan Baños Sanchez-Matamoros (Department of Finance and Accounting, Universidad Pablo de Olavide); Maria Concepcion Alvarez-Dardet Espejo (Department of Finance and Accounting, Universidad Pablo de Olavide)
    Abstract: This work questions if religious organizations with common shared beliefs and sacred objectives, but which members had a different level of awareness to accounting, should show a different behaviour concerning: a) the status of accounting in their internal organisations; and b) the permeability of such organizations to new accounting techniques. To reach our aim, we have analysed the content of 6 rules of brotherhoods located in the city of Seville (Spain), and enacted at the last decade of the 16th century. We have split the brotherhoods depending on its link or not with a guild or professional group.We can conclude that the awareness to accounting of its members and the perception of the belief system are explanations to cover the dissimilar behaviour of the brotherhoods in relation to accounting.
    Keywords: Accounting History; Religious Organizations; 16th century; Belief System
    Date: 2012–05
  11. By: Clive Fraser
    Abstract: I model a single-club economy with heterogeneous consumers as an aggregative game. I give a sufficient condition, normality of demand for the club good in full income, for the existence and uniqueness of a Nash equilbrium by the Cornes-Hartley (2007) method. Then, confining attention to club quality functions that are homogeneous in the investment in the club facility and the aggregate usage of the club, I examine when the sufficient condition is satisfied. I show that, under common assumptions on the utility function, this occurs for all positive degrees of homogeneity.
    Keywords: Nash equilibrium; heterogeneous clubs; aggregative game; homogeneous function; existence; uniqueness
    JEL: C7 D1 D5 H4
    Date: 2012–03
  12. By: Paolo Trabucchi
    Keywords: capital, capital as a single magnitude, capital as a set of het-erogenous goods, normal equilibrium, marginal product, Walras, Hicks.
    JEL: B21 B31 D33 D50
    Date: 2012–05
  13. By: Mark Huggett; Greg Kaplan
    Abstract: This paper posits a notion of the value of an individual’s human capital and the associated return on human capital. These concepts are examined using U.S. data on male earnings and financial asset returns. We decompose the value of human capital into a bond, a stock and a residual value component. We find that (1) the bond component of human capital is larger than the stock component at all ages, (2) the value of human capital is far below the value implied by discounting earnings at the risk-free rate, (3) mean human capital returns exceed stock returns early in life and decline with age and (4) human capital returns and stock returns have a small positive correlation over the working lifetime.
    JEL: D91 E21 G12 J24
    Date: 2012–05
  14. By: Lingnau, Volker; Koffler, Ulrich; Kokot, Katharina; Tenhaeff, Christian
    Abstract: Ziel dieses Diskussionsbeitrags ist das Aufzeigen von Implikationen für die Ausgestaltung des eigenkapitalgeberorientierten Controllingansatzes, die sich durch das ökologische Rationalitätsverständnis ergeben. Eine zentrale Rolle nehmen in diesem Kontext vernünftige ökonomische Heuristiken und duale Prozessmodelle ein. --
    Date: 2012

This nep-hpe issue is ©2012 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.