nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2012‒11‒24
eleven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Social Darwinism By Naomi Beck
  2. Keynes’s probability: An introduction to the theory of logical groups By Strati, Francesco
  3. Group Size and Cooperation among Strangers By John Duffy; Huan Xie
  4. Values for Markovian coalition processes By Ulrich Faigle; Michel Grabisch
  5. Pyramidal values By Ramón Jesús Flores Díaz; Elisenda Molina; Juan Tejada
  6. Universal interactive preferences By Jayant V. Ganguli; Aviad Heifetz
  7. The Desire to Influence Others By Abdolkarim Sadrieh; Marina Schröder
  8. How Sensitive is Strategy Selection in Coordination Games? By Siegfried K. Berninghaus; Lora R. Todorova; Bodo Vogt
  9. The world's dream: economic growth [:]the balance sheet approach By DE KONING, Kees
  10. Real and Imaginary Parts of Decidability-Making By Gilbert Giacomoni
  11. Can we predict long-run economic growth? By Timothy J. Garrett

  1. By: Naomi Beck
    Abstract: "In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. . . . Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history." This statement, which appears in the concluding chapter to the Origin of Species, was Darwin's only mention of human evolution in the entire book. Aware of the difficulties his biological propositions would encounter, Darwin thought it wise to leave the delicate question of human evolution aside for the time being. He was nonetheless fully conscious that his theory would revolutionize the way we think about ourselves and our cultures. Enter social Darwinism. The term has been used mainly to decry doctrines that justify some form of individual, social, or racial superiority through evolutionary principles. Yet many of the positions typically attached to social Darwinism do not correspond to this stereotypical description. Even among the main proponents of evolutionary theory in the nineteenth century - Darwin, Wallace, Huxley, and Spencer - there were important disagreements concerning the process of evolution in humans and its results. This article offers an examination of their claims, as well as some related and antagonistic viewpoints, in two main areas: on the one hand, the debate over wealth distribution and landownership, and on the other, the question of the relationship between evolution and ethics.
    Date: 2012–11–13
  2. By: Strati, Francesco
    Abstract: The present work is intended to be an informal introduction to the theory of abstract logi- cal groups. This particular formalization stems from some concepts of abstract algebra and the Johnson-Keynes’s theory of groups. Therefore the aim of this paper is that of provide the readers with the logical reasoning behind this brand new theory. I shall depict the philosophical notions as bases of the Keynes’s probability and then I shall explain it in terms of group. Furthermore we shall see, albeit roughly, a first definition of abstract groups.
    Keywords: Abstract algebraic logic; Keynes’s probability
    JEL: E12 B16 D80
    Date: 2012–08–14
  3. By: John Duffy (University of Pittsburgh); Huan Xie (Concordia University)
    Abstract: We study how group size affects cooperation in an infinitely repeated n-player Prisoner's Dilemma (PD) game. In each repetition of the game, groups of size n less than or equal to M are randomly and anonymously matched from a fixed population of size M to play the n-player PD stage game. We provide conditions for which the contagious strategy (Kandori, 1992) sustains a social norm of cooperation among all M players. Our main finding is that if agents are sufficiently patient, a social norm of society-wide cooperation becomes easier to sustain under the contagious strategy as n converges to M.
    Keywords: Cooperation, Social Norms, Group Size, Repeated Games, Random Matching, Prisoner's Dilemma
    JEL: C72 C73 C78 Z13
    Date: 2012–09–12
  4. By: Ulrich Faigle (Zentrum für Angewandte Informatik Köln - Universität zu Köln); Michel Grabisch (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon Sorbonne, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)
    Abstract: Time series of coalitions (so-called scenarios) are studied that describe processes of coalition formation where several players may enter or leave the current coalition at any point in (discrete) time and convergence to the grand coalition is not necessarily prescribed. Transitions from one coalition to the next are assumed to be random and to yield a Markov chain. Three examples of such processes (the Shapley-Weber process, the Metropolis process, and an example of a voting situation) and their properties are presented. A main contribution includes notions of value for such series, \emph{i.e.}, schemes for the evaluation of the expected contribution of a player to the coalition process relative to a given cooperative game. Particular processes permit to recover the classical Shapley value. This methodology's power is illustrated with well-known examples from exchange economies due to Shafer (1980) and Scafuri and Yannelis (1984), where the classical Shapley value leads to counterintuitive allocations. The Markovian process value avoids these drawbacks and provides plausible results.
    Keywords: coalitional game; coalition formation process; exchange economy; Markov chain; Shapley value
    Date: 2012
  5. By: Ramón Jesús Flores Díaz; Elisenda Molina; Juan Tejada
    Abstract: We propose a new type of values for cooperative TU-games, which we call pyramidal values. Assuming that the grand coalition is sequentially formed, and all orderings are equally likely, we define a pyramidal value to be any expected payoff in which the entrant player receives a salary and the right to get part of the benefits derived from subsequent incorporations to the just formed coalition, whereas the remaining benefit is distributed among the incumbent players. To be specific, we consider some parametric families of pyramidal values: the egalitarian pyramidal family, which coincides with the a-consensus value family introduced by Ju et al. in (2007), the proportional pyramidal family, and the weighted pyramidal family, which in turn includes the other two families as special cases. We also analyze the properties of these families, as well as their relationships with other previously defined values.
    Keywords: Game theory, TU games, Pyramidal values, Consensus values
    Date: 2012–10
  6. By: Jayant V. Ganguli; Aviad Heifetz
    Abstract: We prove that a universal preference type space exists under much more general conditions than those postulated by Epstein and Wang (1996). To wit, it is enough that preferences can be encoded by a countable collection of continuous functionals, while the preferences themselves need not necessarily be continuous or regular, like, e.g., in the case of lexicographic preferences. The proof relies on a far-reaching generalization of a method developed by Heifetz and Samet (1998).
    Date: 2012–11–13
  7. By: Abdolkarim Sadrieh (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg); Marina Schröder (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)
    Abstract: We introduce the give-or-destroy game that allows us to fully elicit an individual's social preference schedule. We find that about one third of the population exhibits both pro-social and anti-social preferences that are independent of payoff comparisons with those who are affected. We call this type of preference a desire to influence others. The other two thirds of the population consist to almost equal parts of payoff maximizers and pro-socials. Furthermore, we find that full information and experimenter demand may increase the extent of pro-social preferences, but neither treatment affects the extent of anti-social preferences or the distribution of social types in the population.
    Keywords: altruism, joy of destruction, other-regarding behavior, giving and destruction, kindness, fairness, spite, envy
    JEL: A13 C90 D31 D63 D64
    Date: 2012–10
  8. By: Siegfried K. Berninghaus (Institute for Economic Theory and Statistics, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology); Lora R. Todorova (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg); Bodo Vogt (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)
    Abstract: This paper presents the results of an experiment designed to study the effect produced on strategy choices when a subject reports risk preferences on a risk scale before engaging in a 2x2 coordination game. The main finding is that the act of stating one's own risk preferences significantly alters strategic behavior. In particular, subjects tend to choose the risk dominant strategy more often when they have previously stated their attitudes to risk. Within a best-response correspondence framework, this result can be explained by a change in either risk preferences or beliefs. We find that self-reporting risk preferences does not induce a change in subjects' beliefs. We argue that the behavioral arguments of strategy selection, such as focal points, framing and uncertain preferences can explain our results.
    Keywords: coordination game, questionnaire, risk scale, risk preferences, beliefs, focal points, framing, uncertain preferences
    JEL: D81 C91 C72
    Date: 2012–09
  9. By: DE KONING, Kees
    Abstract: Economists may need to change their tools of analysis from analysing income and expenditure contributors (GDP) to asset value contributors -the net worth levels of individual households-. Assessment of the latter requires a balance sheet analysis. Why; because the level of individual households’ savings in the U.S currently stands at $62.7 trillion, GDP at $15.1 trillion and tax revenues at $2.4 trillion. Such U.S. analysis has to be made through the study of time series, not just for a single year. For instance the cause of the current crisis was the banker’s shift in action from recovering doubtful mortgage debts out of incomes to recovering them out of selling of home assets. This caused an extra supply of 880 000 second hand homes to come on the market every year from 2008. In stead of only affecting the 4.4 million doubtful debtors, it affected all 78.6 million home owners. Their loss was nearly equal to three years of U.S. Federal Government revenues. To counteract such savings losses requires adjustments in the U.S economic set up - the econsystem changes-. It also requires turning some assets -pension savings assets- temporarily into cash in order to support the income base of society in times of slow growth. Keeping unemployed people on the sideline of an economy is not the best way of earning one’s way out of income troubles.
    Keywords: balance sheet of households; net worth; financial crisis; economic growth; income to assets switch; economic easing; quantitative easing; Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac; bank restructuring; home mortgage process; fiscal cliff; econsystem
    JEL: E44 E21 G01 D53 G2 E58 E61 G21
    Date: 2012–11–12
  10. By: Gilbert Giacomoni (CGS - Centre de Gestion Scientifique - Mines ParisTech)
    Abstract: Firms seeking an original standpoint, in strategy or design, need to break with imitation and uniformity. They specifically attempt to understand the cognitive processes by which decision-makers manage to work, individually or collectively, through undecidable situations generated by equivalent possible choices and design innovatively. The purpose of the study is to better understand the regeneration and meta-restructuring processes of knowledge systems triggered by decision makers in order to redefine their decidable space by abstraction. The theoretical breakthroughs liable to account a dual form of reasoning, deductive to prove (then make) equivalence and abstractive to represent (then unmake) it, in subtle mechanisms of decisional symmetry, indiscernibility (antisymmetry) and asymmetry, are presented. The proposed formalism is an extension of the most widespread models of rationality based on a real dimension (for preference-making), by adding a visible imaginary one (for abstraction-making) and open up vistas capacity in the fields of information systems, knowledge and decision. This extension takes complex numbers as generalizable objects.
    Keywords: decision-making, equality, indiscernibility, undecidability, imaginary, abstraction, knowledge, information, symmetry-breaking, identity, relation,
    Date: 2012–06–29
  11. By: Timothy J. Garrett
    Abstract: For those concerned with the long-term value of their accounts, it can be a challenge to plan in the present for inflation-adjusted economic growth over coming decades. Here, I argue that there exists an economic constant that carries through time, and that this can help us to anticipate the more distant future: global economic wealth has a fixed link to civilization's overall rate of energy consumption from all sources; the ratio of these two quantities has not changed over the past 40 years that statistics are available. Power production and wealth rise equally quickly because civilization, like any other system in the universe, must consume and dissipate its energy reserves in order to sustain its current size. One perspective might be that financial wealth must ultimately collapse as we deplete our energy reserves. However, we can also expect that highly aggregated quantities like global wealth have inertia, and that growth rates must persist. Exceptionally rapid innovation in the two decades following 1950 allowed for unprecedented acceleration of inflation-adjusted rates of return. But today, real innovation rates are more stagnant. This means that, over the coming decade or so, global GDP and wealth should rise fairly steadily at an inflation-adjusted rate of about 2.2% per year.
    Date: 2012–11

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