nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2013‒08‒31
eleven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. John von Neumann between Physics and Economics: A Methodological Note By Luca Lambertini
  2. Gattopardo economics: The crisis and the mainstream response of change that keeps things the same By Thomas I. Palley
  3. Status Quo Effects in Fairness Games: Reciprocal Responses to Acts of Commission vs. Acts of Omission By James Cox; Maroš Servátka; Radovan Vadovič
  4. External Influence as an Indicator of Scholarly Importance By Ho Fai Chan; Bruno S. Frey; Jana Gallus; Markus Schaffner; Benno Torgler; Stephen Whyte
  5. Ibn Jaldún: Pensamiento Económico En El S. XIV By Puente-Ajovin, Miguel
  6. Las Bases del Pensamiento Económico: Pura Filosofía By Puente-Ajovin, Miguel
  7. Language, Meaning, and Games: Comment By Heller, Yuval
  8. Assessing the historical role of credit: business cycles, financial crises and the legacy of Charles S. Peirce By Oscar Jordà
  9. Institutions and prosperity By Colin Jennings
  10. How status concerns can make us rich and happy By Strulik, Holger
  11. ¿Qué es un Modelo Económico? By Puente-Ajovin, Miguel

  1. By: Luca Lambertini (Department of Economics, University of Bologna, Italy)
    Abstract: A methodological discussion is proposed, aiming at illustrating an analogy between game theory in particular (and mathematical economics in general) and quantum mechanics. This analogy relies on the equivalence of the two fundamental operators employed in the two fields, namely, the expected value in economics and the density matrix in quantum physics. I conjecture that this coincidence can be traced back to the contributions of von Neumann in both disciplines.
    Keywords: expected value, density matrix, uncertainty, quantum games
    JEL: B25 B41 C70
    Date: 2013–07
  2. By: Thomas I. Palley
    Abstract: Gattopardo constitutes change that keeps things the same. Gattopardo is relevant for understanding the economics profession's response to the financial crash of 2008. This paper explores gattopardo economics as it applies to the issues of the macroeconomics of income distribution; the global financial imbalances; and inflation policy. Gattopardo economics adopts ideas developed by critics of mainstream economics, but it does so in a way that ignores the thrust of the original critique and leaves mainstream analysis unchanged. Gattopardo economics makes change more difficult because it deceives people into thinking change has taken place. By masquerading as change, it crowds-out space for real change. That makes exposing gattopardo economics a matter of vital importance.
    Keywords: Gattopardo economics, income distribution, global financial imbalances, inflation policy
    JEL: A11 A14 E00
    Date: 2013
  3. By: James Cox; Maroš Servátka (University of Canterbury); Radovan Vadovič
    Abstract: Both the law and culture make a central distinction between acts of commission that overturn the status quo and acts of omission that uphold it. In everyday life acts of commission often elicit stronger reciprocal responses than do acts of omission. In this paper we compare reciprocal responses to both types of acts and ask whether behavior of subjects in three experiments is consistent with existing theory. The design of the experiments focuses on the axioms of revealed altruism theory (Cox, Friedman, and Sadiraj, 2008) that make it observationally distinct from other theories. We find support for this theory in all three experiments.
    Keywords: Experimental economics, reciprocity, revealed altruism, acts of commission, acts of omission, other-regarding preferences, status quo
    JEL: C70 C91
    Date: 2013–08–09
  4. By: Ho Fai Chan; Bruno S. Frey; Jana Gallus; Markus Schaffner; Benno Torgler; Stephen Whyte
    Abstract: The external influence of scholarly activity has to date been measured primarily in terms of publications and citations, metrics that also dominate the promotion and grant processes. Yet the array of scholarly activities visible to the outside world are far more extensive and recently developed technologies allow broader and more accurate measurement of their influence on the wider societal discourse. Accordingly we analyze the relation between the internal and external influences of 723 top economics scholars using the number of pages indexed by Google and Bing as a measure of their external influence. Although the correlation between internal and external influence is low overall , it is highest among recipients of major key awards such as the Nobel Prize or John Bates Clark medal , and particularly strong for those ranked among the top 100 researchers.
    Keywords: Academia; Scholarly Importance; Role of Economics; Social Importance of Economists; External; Internal Influence; Academic Performance; Awards
    JEL: A11 A13 Z19
    Date: 2013–08
  5. By: Puente-Ajovin, Miguel
    Abstract: Ibn Khadun, un historiador musulmán que decidió revisar de manera analítica los fundamentos de la historia, acaba describiendo ciertos componentes del proceso económico que deben ser tenidos en cuenta como parte de la historia del pensamiento económico. En esta disertación doy un exhaustivo repaso a las teorías derivadas de su análisis económico, que van desde los fundamentos de la división del trabajo a las causas del ciclo económico. Ibn Khadun, a Muslim historian who decided to review analytically the basics of the history, culminate his work describing certain components of the economic process that must be taken into account as part of the history of economic thought. In this dissertation I give a comprehensive review of the theories derived from his economic analysis, from the basics of the division of labour to the causes of the economic cycle.
    Keywords: Ibn Jaldún, Ibn Khaldun, pensamiento económico, S. XIV, análisis económico
    JEL: B0 B10 B11
    Date: 2013–08
  6. By: Puente-Ajovin, Miguel
    Abstract: Si bien no es una tarea fácil definir qué es aquello que conforma los principios filosóficos no solo en un nivel interpretativo de la realidad (¿qué es lo que vemos?) sino también la forma en la que observamos esta realidad (¿Cómo lo vemos?) y el uso que le damos a esta información, voy a hacer una pequeña aproximación a las bases del pensamiento económico guiándome a través de la exposición de Lavoie, que las divide en cuatro: La epistemología, el individuo frente a la sociedad, el concepto del homo economicus, y la definición de la economía como ciencia. It is not an easy task to define what it is that makes up the philosophical principles not only in the level of interpretation of reality (what do we see?) but also in the way we see this reality (how do we see?) and how we make use of this information. I do a little closer research to the foundations of economic thought guiding me through Lavoie exposure, which divides the foundations into four: Epistemology, the individual against society, the concept of homo economicus, and the definition of economics as a science.
    Keywords: Pensamiento económico, filosofía económica, epistemología, homo economicus, ciencia económica
    JEL: B0 B2 B3 B4
    Date: 2013–03
  7. By: Heller, Yuval
    Abstract: Demichelis and Weibull (2008 AER) show that adding lexicographic lying costs to coordination games with cheap talk yields a sharp prediction: only the efficient outcome is evolutionarily stable. I demonstrate that this result is caused by the discontinuity of preferences, rather than by small lying costs per se.
    Keywords: Lexicographic preferences, evolutionary stability, cheap talk.
    JEL: C73
    Date: 2013–08–29
  8. By: Oscar Jordà
    Abstract: This paper provides a historical overview on financial crises and their origins. The objective is to discuss a few of the modern statistical methods that can be used to evaluate predictors of these rare events. The problem involves prediction of binary events and therefore fits modern statistical learning, signal processing theory, and classification methods. The discussion also emphasizes the need to supplement statistics and computational techniques with economics. A forecast’s success in this environment hinges on the economic consequences of the actions taken as a result of the forecast, rather than on typical statistical metrics of prediction accuracy.
    Keywords: Financial crises ; Statistical methods ; Credit ; Business cycles
    Date: 2013
  9. By: Colin Jennings (Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde)
    Abstract: This article reviews 'Pillars of Prosperity' by Timothy Besley and Torsten Persson and 'Why Nations Fail' by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. Both books are focussed on the role of institutions in determining the wealth of nations and the review compares and contrasts the different approaches contained in the two texts. The review also attempts to locate the texts within the broader literature in development and political economics and to link them to other recent work in these areas.
    Keywords: Institutions, Prosperity
    JEL: D7 N4 O1 O5 P5
    Date: 2013–08
  10. By: Strulik, Holger
    Abstract: This paper considers an overlapping generations model of economic growth populated by two types of individuals. Competitive types compare future consumption (i.e. wealth) with the mean. Self-sufficient types derive utility simply from their own consumption and do not compare themselves with others. I derive a condition under which the utility (happiness) of both types increases when the economy is populated by a larger share of competitive types. In the long-run the condition is always fulfilled when the economy is capable of economic growth. The reason for this phenomenon is that competitive types generate higher savings and thus higher aggregate capital stock and income per capita, which raises utility of both types. I show that the result is robust to the consideration of endogenous work effort and that a sufficiently high share of competitive types in a society can be inevitable for long-run economic growth to exist. --
    Keywords: status preferences,happiness,economic growth
    JEL: D90 E21 O40
    Date: 2013
  11. By: Puente-Ajovin, Miguel
    Abstract: Continuamente se critica a la ciencia económica en base a que sus modelos son descripciones inexactas de una realidad inabarcable y que, por tanto, carecen de un valor real. En este artículo intento dar una descripción propia de qué son los modelos económicos y por qué son tan valiosos, no solo para el progreso de la ciencia económica, sino para el razonamiento en términos económicos con el que nos debemos topar día a día. Continually, people criticizes economics on the grounds that their models are inaccurate descriptions of a vast reality and therefore they lack real value. This article attempts to give my own description of what are the economic models and why they are so valuable, not only for the advancement of the economic science but also reasoning in the economic terms with which we must deal in a daily basis.
    Keywords: Pensamiento Económico, Metodología, Modelos matemáticos, Modelos económicos
    JEL: B0 B4 C0
    Date: 2013–03

This nep-hpe issue is ©2013 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.