nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2012‒05‒29
nine papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Blanco White y las cuestiones económicas By Luis Perdices de Blas; José Luis Ramos Gorostiza
  2. The Contribution of Douglass North to New Institutional Economics By Claude Ménard; Shirley Mary M.
  3. Heuristic in the economic: a note on Robert Nozick By Estrada, Fernando
  4. "Post-Keynesian Institutionalism after the Great Recession" By Charles J. Whalen
  5. Reconstructing Economics in Light of the 2007-? Financial Crisis By Friedman, Benjamin Morton
  6. Economics is not what you think: A defense of the economic approach to taxation By Marc Fleurbaey
  7. The Declining Significance of Race: Revisited & Revised By Wilson, William Julius
  8. Islamic Economics: Still in Search of an Identity By Abdulkader Cassim Mahomedy
  9. Global Justice By Risse, Mathias

  1. By: Luis Perdices de Blas (Universidad Complutense de Madrid); José Luis Ramos Gorostiza (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
    Abstract: Between the end of the Enlightenment and the incipient liberalism, Blanco White was one of the most important Spanish intellectuals of the first half of the nineteenth century. His exile in England (1810)1841) and his mastery of the English language enabled him to relate to some of the great British economists and thinkers of the era, such as Malthus, Bentham, Whately, Senior or J.S. Mill. Despite this and his initial training in the business world, Blanco White never paid particular attention to socioeconomic issues. In fact, he has been primarily studied as political writer, journalist, man of letters or religious polemicist. However, he also addressed some issues of undoubted economic interest, as the slave trade, the situation of Spain in the early nineteenth century, the problem of the poor, or the colonial question and the overseas trade. This paper aims to examine how Blanco White approached these issues within the context of the ideas of his Spanish contemporaries. It also aims to show that Blanco’s ideas were largely rooted in a Spanish tradition of thought (full text in Spanish)
    Keywords: Blanco White,Spain,economics,slavery,colonial trade,poor question
    JEL: B10 B30
    Date: 2012–05
  2. By: Claude Ménard (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon Sorbonne); Shirley Mary M. (RCI - Ronald Coase Institute - Ronald Coase Institute)
    Abstract: Douglass North, along with Ronald Coase and Oliver Williamson, transformed the early intuitions of new institutional economics into powerful conceptual and analytical tools that spawned a robust base of empirical research. NIE arose in response to questions not well explained by standard neoclassical models, such as make or buy and why rich or poor? Today NIE is a success story by many measures: four Nobel laureates in under 20 years, increasing penetration of mainstream journals, and significant impact on major policy debates from anti-trust law to development aid. This paper provides a succinct overview of North's evolving ideas about institutions and explains how North's work shaped the emerging field of new institutional economics and had a potent impact on economics and the social sciences more broadly. North provides a powerful example of how persistent and well placed confidence and hard work can productively transform the status quo. North's influence continues strong and his enthusiasm for exploring new frontiers and cooperating across artificial academic boundaries has never waned.
    Keywords: New Institutional Economics, institutions, transaction costs, development and growth
    Date: 2011–06
  3. By: Estrada, Fernando
    Abstract: In this paper we have presented arguments for heuristics on economics research. In particular, have been important aspects that show how the tradition of the theory, to make principle simplicity to represent many empirical data of experience or information, was one of the goals set by the fathers of the discipline: Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Jeremy Bentham.
    Keywords: Heuristic; Economy theory; epistemology; history of economy; public election; Robert Nozick
    JEL: D81 B4 C72 B41 B53
    Date: 2012
  4. By: Charles J. Whalen
    Abstract: This paper surveys the context and contours of contemporary Post-Keynesian Institutionalism (PKI). It begins by reviewing recent criticism of conventional economics by prominent economists as well as examining, within the current context, important research that paved the way for PKI. It then sketches essential elements of PKI--drawing heavily on the contributions of Hyman Minsky--and identifies directions for future research. Although there is much room for further development, PKI offers a promising starting point for economics after the Great Recession.
    Keywords: Post-Keynesian Institutionalism; Institutional Economics; Post-Keynesian Economics; Financial Instability; Money-Manager Capitalism; Hyman Minsky
    JEL: B25 B52 E12 E32
    Date: 2012–05
  5. By: Friedman, Benjamin Morton
    Abstract: The lessons learned from the recent financial crisis should significantly reshape the economics profession's thinking, including, importantly, what we teach our students. Five such lessons are that we live in a monetary economy and therefore aggregate demand and policies that affect aggregate demand are determinants of real economic outcomes; that what actually matters for this purpose is not money but the volume, availability, and price of credit; that the fact that most lending is done by financial institutions matters as well; that the prices set in our financial markets do not always exhibit the “rationality†economists normally claim for them; and that both frictions and the uneven impact of economic events prevent us from adapting to disturbances in the way textbook economics suggests.
    Date: 2011
  6. By: Marc Fleurbaey (Economic Theory Center - Princeton University, Le Collège d'études mondiales - Le Collège d'études mondiales/FMSH - Fondation Maison des sciences de l?homme)
    Abstract: In The Myth of Ownership - Taxes and Justice, Liam Murphy and Thomas Nagel (2002) launch an attack against a straw man, the economist who believes that taxation should minimally interfere with property rights and should seek to preserve the market distribution of wealth and income. Instead they propose an approach that focuses on the consequences of any form of public intervention for the distribution of welfare, without any particular ethical concern for the values emerging from the market. In fact, such an approach has been long developed by Mirrlees (1971), whose approach has been dominating the economics of taxation for the last forty years. But more recently the fairness approach to taxation goes beyond welfare consequentialism and attributes some value to market allocations, in line with the theories of justice proposed by Rawls and Dworkin.
    Keywords: taxation; welfare; property rights; fairness; Mirrlees
    Date: 2012–02–20
  7. By: Wilson, William Julius
    Abstract: I published The Declining Significance of Race: Blacks and Changing American Institutions thirty-two years ago, in 1978. Given the furor and controversy over the book immediately following its publication, I did not anticipate that it would go on to become a classic. Indeed, the book’s impact on the field of race and ethnic relations–its arguments have been discussed in nearly eight hundred empirical research articles, not to mention the non-empirical studies–lends credence to the idea of productive controversy and to George Bernard Shaw’s famous dictum: “[I]t is better to be criticized and misunderstood than to be ignored.†My motivation for this essay is to reflect on responses to the book that claim to provide an empirical test of my thesis. In the process, I indicate the extent to which important findings have influenced my thinking since the book’s publication.
    Date: 2011
  8. By: Abdulkader Cassim Mahomedy
    Abstract: The last few decades have seen a phenomenal growth of the emerging discipline of Islamic Economics and Finance. In this paper I trace the origins and birth of this nascent science examining the various factors that gave impetus to its emergence and development. I contrast the different characterisations of the discipline as it has developed within the broader socio-political context and the reasons thereof. Despite the concerted efforts of the proponents of Islamic economics to shape for their discipline a distinctive paradigm they have had little success in doing so beyond arguing that it is underpinned by a strong moral ethic. By and large its epistemological roots have remained firmly within the framework of Rationalism and methodological individualism and consequently it has not been able to shed itself of its neoclassical moorings, the very paradigm it originally set out to replace. I illustrate several of the contradictions apparent in the discipline as hitherto enunciated and I critically analyse the reasons for some of these shortcomings. Finally, I conclude by arguing that if Islamic economics is to fulfil its raison d'être its proponents must resolve its theoretical and practical difficulties by clearly expounding on its weltanschauung and develop its content and form appropriate to this worldview
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Risse, Mathias
    Abstract: Increasing political and economic interconnectedness draws much philosophical attention to the question of the conditions under which such stringent claims arise. Do claims of justice arise only among those who share membership in a state? Alternatively, do they arise among all those who are jointly subject to the global political and economic order? Or do they apply among all human beings simply because they are human? Inquiries into global justice differ from those into international justice precisely by not limiting inquiry to what states should do. They may well also question the very moral acceptability of states, and explore alternative arrangements. This article surveys the recent philosophical debate on global justice.
    Date: 2011

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