nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2013‒08‒23
eight papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. World economy, economics and economic policy: what emerges after the crisis? By Sherstnev, Mikhail
  2. От машин удовольствия к моральным сообществам (Размышления над новой книгой Джеффри Ходжсона) By Yefimov, Vladimir
  3. Reputations in Repeated Games, Second Version By George J. Mailath; Larry Samuelson
  4. MIT Graduate Networks: the early years By Pedro Garcia Duarte
  5. The Economic Origins of the Evil Eye Belief By Boris Gershman
  6. The Seductive Myth of Canada’s “Overvalued” Dollar By Christopher Ragan
  7. Working Paper: Redefining the Economical Power of Nations By Kiss, Christian
  8. (Public) Good Examples - On the Role of Limited Feedback in Voluntary Contribution Games By Bernd Irlenbusch; Rainer Michael Rilke

  1. By: Sherstnev, Mikhail
    Abstract: The paper analyzes the current discussions on the state of economics with special focus on the interrelationships between key ideas of economic theories and real actions of economic policy in the course of the global economic crisis. The global economic crisis showed the limited ability of mainstream in economics to service the economic practice, and, therefore, the attention of researchers and economic policy-makers was drawn again to some alternative views in economics.
    Keywords: Economics, economic crisis, economic policy.
    JEL: A11 E6
    Date: 2013–08–11
  2. By: Yefimov, Vladimir
    Abstract: Academic economists have a strong influence on political discourse in Russia by delivering through courses of "Economic theory" and "Institutional economics" very harmful conceptual elements for political discourse. This article proposes to change radically these courses in such a way that, instead of self-interest of the economic man, consideration of social relations exclusively through the prism of exchange, society and community as fictions, the state as a bandit and the opportunistic behavior as a norm, they would provide students with very different images of socio-economic interactions. Discursive paradigm in economics, the foundations of which were laid by John Commons, allows us to take another look at the institutions, transactions, contractual relationships, property, enterprises, and institutional change, and the contemporary communitarian philosophy (Michael Sandel, Alasdair Macintyre, Charles Taylor) and the historical, discursive and constructivist institutionalism in political science (Theda Skocpol, Vivien Schmidt, Colin Hay) make it possible to have different interpretations of the state, law, and civil society. This article calls for a return of institutional economics to the humanistic position of its founders and for a strong critic of the so-called "new institutional economics" and "new political economy". The author, following John Dewey, proposes to economists to feed by the results of their empirical research an enlarged political discourse, which will involve the general public. Among these empirical studies the institutional monitoring should play a central role. Performing institutional monitoring means doing research in the framework of the discursive paradigm, which is ontologically and epistemologically the adequate form of research for understanding the socio-economic-political realities.
    Keywords: morality, community, discourse, Schmoller, Commons, economic discipline as a philosophy and as a science, reform of economic discipline
    JEL: A1 A11 A12 A13 A14 A2 A20
    Date: 2013–08
  3. By: George J. Mailath (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania); Larry Samuelson (Department of Economics, Yale University)
    Abstract: This paper, prepared for the Handbook of Game Theory, volume 4 (Peyton Young and Shmuel Zamir, editors, Elsevier Press), surveys work on reputations in repeated games of incomplete information.
    Keywords: commitment, incomplete information, reputation bound, reputation effects, long-run relationships, reputations
    JEL: C70 C73
    Date: 2013–06–27
  4. By: Pedro Garcia Duarte
    Abstract: After World War II economists acquired increasing importance in the American society in general. Moreover, the production of economics PhDs in the United States increased substantially and became a less concentrated industry. This period witnessed also the reformulation of the graduate education in economics in the US, informed by the several changes that were occurring in economics: its mathematization, the neoclassicism, the advancement of econometrics, the “Keynesian revolution”, and the ultimate Americanization of economics. The centrality that the MIT graduate program acquired in the postwar period makes it an important case study of the transformation of American economics more generally. Therefore, my aim here is to scrutinize the formative years of the PhD program, mostly the 1940s and 1950s.
    Keywords: MIT Economics Department, MIT PhD Program, Paul Samuelson, Robert Solow
    JEL: B20 B29 A23
    Date: 2013–07–12
  5. By: Boris Gershman
    Abstract: The evil eye belief is a widespread superstition according to which envious people can cause harm by a mere glance at coveted objects or their owners. This paper argues that such belief originated and persisted as a useful heuristic under conditions in which destructive envy represents a real threat and envy-avoidance behavior, e ffectively prescribed by the evil eye belief, is a proper response to this threat. Historically, increasing wealth di fferentiation raised the risk of envy-induced destructive behavior leading to the emergence and spread of the evil eye belief. Evidence from small-scale preindustrial societies shows that there is indeed a robust positive association between the incidence of the belief and measures of wealth inequality, controlling for continental fixed eff ects and potential confounding factors such as patterns of spatial and cross-cultural diffusion and various dimensions of early economic development. Furthermore, the evil eye belief is more likely to be present in agro-pastoral societies that tend to sustain higher levels of inequality and where vulnerable material wealth plays a dominant role in the subsistence economy.
    Keywords: Evil eye belief, Envy, Inequality, Culture, Superstition
    JEL: D31 D74 N30 O10 Z10 Z13
    Date: 2013
  6. By: Christopher Ragan (McGill University)
    Abstract: A confluence of factors promises to put pressure on the new Bank of Canada governor to direct monetary policy at fixing Canada’s so-called “overvalued” currency, according to a report released today by the C.D. Howe Institute. But in “The Seductive Myth of Canada’s “Overvalued” Dollar,” author Christopher Ragan provides two strong arguments against doing so: the importance of the Bank’s focus on inflation, and the weakness of the “overvalued” dollar argument.
    Keywords: Monetary Policy
    JEL: E58 O24
  7. By: Kiss, Christian
    Abstract: The measurement of economies no longer by GDP alone, but by an Index that includes other important factors as well, a Social factors relativized GDP. Social factors relativized GDP: GDP – GDP x GINI = K_Index Written differently: (1 – GINI) x GDP = K_Index Inflation indexed Version: (1 – GINI – Inflation) x GDP = K_Index_Infl. Productivity Index: K_Index / Labor Force = K_PROD Inflation indexed Productivity Index: K_Index_Infl. / Labor Force = K_PROD_Infl. Debt-to-K_Index: National debt / K_Index = K_Debt Debt-to-K_Index_Infl: National debt / K_Index_Infl. = K_Debt_Infl.
    Keywords: Economics, Macro, Gini, Inflation, GDP, inequality, econometric, productivity, debt, debt-to-gdp
    JEL: A10 A13 C10 C12 C60 E10 F02 O47
    Date: 2013–08–11
  8. By: Bernd Irlenbusch (University of Cologne); Rainer Michael Rilke (University of Cologne)
    Abstract: This paper experimentally investigates into the effects of limited feedback on contributions in a repeated public goods game. We test whether feedback about good examples (i.e., the respective maximum contribution in a period) in contrast to bad examples (i.e., the minimum contributions) induces higher contributions. When the selection of feedback is non-transparent to the subjects, good examples boost cooperation while bad examples hamper them. No significant differences are observed between providing good or bad examples, when the feedback selection rule is transparent. Our results shed new light on how to design feedback provision in public goods settings.
    Keywords: Public Goods, Feedback, Imperfect Conditional Cooperation, Experiment
    JEL: H41 C92 D82
    Date: 2013–08–07

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