nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2013‒10‒25
ten papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. In the Shadow of François Quesnay: The Political Economy of Charles Richard de Butré By Loïc Charles; Christine Théré
  2. Fundamental Equation of Economics By Wayne, James J.
  3. Rent as a Share of Product and Sraffa’s Price Equations By Fratini, Saverio M.
  4. Does economic prosperity bring about a happier society? Empirical remarks on the Easterlin Paradox debate sans Happiness Adaptation By Beja Jr., Edsel
  5. Rueff et l'analyse du chômage: Quels heritages? By Georges Prat
  6. On altruism and remittances By Alexis Antoniades; Ganesh Seshan; Roberto A. Weber; Robertas Zubrickas
  7. Happy Peasants and Frustrated Achievers? Agency, Capabilities, and Subjective Well-Being By Carol Graham; Milena Nikolova
  8. The Nature of Corruption - An Interdisciplinary Perspective By Eugen Dimant
  9. Evaluation des reponses aux questions sur la satisfaction a l'egard de la vie dans les enquetes recentes de Statistique Canada By Bonikowska, Aneta Helliwell, John F.
  10. Fuzzy logic and the capability approach By Tindara Addabbo; Gisella Facchinetti

  1. By: Loïc Charles; Christine Théré
    Abstract: From 1759 to 1762, François Quesnay had systematically appealed to an obscure physiocrat, Charles Richard de Butré, when he had to make a numerical estimate or to do a nonelementary computation. In the present article, we use two important unpublished writings by Butré to discuss and assess the extent of his contribution to physiocratic theory. In these two works written at the end of 1766 and the beginning of 1767, Butré set himself to the task of deepening Quesnay’s political economy. Although he was, besides Quesnay, the only physiocrat who mastered the Tableau économique, he chose to develop his own analytical devices. In order to provide a more satisfactory presentation of the doctrine of the exclusive productivity of agriculture, Butré modified significantly the social classification adopted by Quesnay and all the other physiocrats. Finally, he imagined and drafted a theoretical system of public accounting that would measure and account for all kinds of economic activities, including those Quesnay had left out in his Tableau économique, such as external trade. We argue that the study of his work offers us an ideal vantage point to broaden our understanding of the nature and the history of Quesnay’s political economy.
    Keywords: Physiocracy ; Physiocratic Theory ; François Quesnay ; Charles Richard de Butré ; Tableau économique
    JEL: B11 B31
    Date: 2013
  2. By: Wayne, James J.
    Abstract: Recent experience of the great recession of 2008 has renewed one of the oldest debates in economics: whether economics could ever become a scientific discipline like physics. This paper proves that economics is truly a branch of physics by establishing for the first time a fundamental equation of economics (FEOE), which is similar to many fundamental equations governing other subfields of physics, for example, Maxwell’s Equations for electromagnetism. From recently established physics laws of social science, this paper derives a fundamental equation of economics, which is the one mathematic equation that governs all observed economic phenomena. The fundamental equation of economics establishes a common entry point to solve all economic problems without any exception. FEOE is a mathematical bridge connecting the current economic reality and all future possibilities. We show that establishing FEOE clarifies many open questions regarding the foundation of economics, for example, what can be forecasted and what cannot be forecasted in economics. FEOE is far more precise and universal mathematical abstraction of economic reality, than the framework of Marshall’s laws of supply and demand and market equilibrium, which has been traditionally assumed by most economists as the foundation of economics. With FEOE-based analysis, economics is an exact and precise science just like any other subfields of physics. With restrictive assumptions, FEOE can be reduced to the laws of supply and demand and market equilibrium as special cases of market behavior. FEOE clarifies the widespread confusions among economists regarding the concept of equilibrium and disequilibrium. Because one important conclusion from FEOE is that the conceptual framework of general equilibrium and laws of supply and demand are deeply flawed, those macroeconomic models like DSGE and SL/ML built upon this conceptual framework must be flawed as well, and these macro models are not likely going to work well against the real world economy. A good macroeconomic model should apply FEOE to describe the economic reality and the dynamics of how reality evolves with time. In conclusion, this paper shows that the fundamental equation of economics provides a solid physics foundation for both theoretical and practical economics. Therefore, after establishing the fundamental equation of economics in this paper, there should be no doubt that economics is simply a branch of quantum physics in parallel with chemistry and optics. Over last four hundred years, there are many schools of thought emerged in economics while there is only one school of thought by Newton-Einstein-Bohr survived in physics over the same period. The logic conclusion is that there must be only one school of thought allowed in economics as a subfield of physics.
    Keywords: causality, econophysics, economic forecast, laws of supply and demand, market equilibrium, macroeconomic model, laws of physics, physics laws of social science, fundamental equation of economics
    JEL: A12 C1
    Date: 2013–10–10
  3. By: Fratini, Saverio M.
    Abstract: The classical economists usually regarded rent in their analyses as a share of the gross product obtained from the use of land or a mine, which was indeed the way in which rent was treated in bargaining between landowner and tenant. The paper revives this view of rent, proceeding from its historical basis through Smith’s analysis to arrive at Sraffa’s equations, and also examines the case of the introduction of a tax conceived as a tithe, to which Sraffa referred very briefly
    Keywords: Rent, Classical theory of distribution, Smith, Sraffa
    JEL: B12 B51 D33 Q15
    Date: 2013–10–16
  4. By: Beja Jr., Edsel
    Abstract: Empirical analysis confirms the Easterlin Paradox: there is indeed a statistically significant and positive, albeit very small, relationship between economic growth and happiness. Notwithstanding a conclusion based on statistical significance, economic analysis of the results, on the other hand, still affirms the Easterlin Paradox: there is little economic significance in a very small estimate of the relationship between economic growth and happiness. An argument can also be forwarded that the increase in happiness is not an automatic outcome of economic growth because happiness is more than about income.
    Keywords: Easterlin Paradox; economic growth; happiness; time
    JEL: A2 C4 I3 O4
    Date: 2013–09–02
  5. By: Georges Prat
    Abstract: Partant des observations empiriques et de l’analyse économique de Rueff (1925, 1931) concernant le chômage anglais des années 1920, cet article montre que l’auteur distinguait : [a] un chômage « permanent » attribuable à un excès des salaires réels par rapport au rendement du travail (« loi de Rueff »), [b] un chômage « temporaire » attribuable à une baisse de l’activité économique liée à une diminution cyclique des prix, enfin [c].un chômage «minimal» de type frictionnel prévalant dans le fonctionnement normal de l’économie. Au total, Rueff a produit sur l’analyse du chômage plus un résultat empirique nouveau (« loi de Rueff ») qu’une idée ou une méthode d’analyse pouvant être qualifiée de nouvelle. La confrontation entre la contribution de Rueff et les analyses postérieures du chômage dans la littérature permet de dégager que : (i) la courbe de Phillips et son extension avec le NAIRU est un non-héritage ; (ii) la courbe des salaires (« wage curve ») s’accorde avec les idées de Rueff tout en constituant un intéressant complément à la dite « loi de Rueff » ; (iii) l’équation proposée par Allais pour expliquer le chômage français se décalque très bien sur les trois types de chômage [a], [b] et [c] distingués par Rueff; (iv) bien qu’étant aujourd’hui délaissée, la théorie des équilibres temporaires à prix fixes inclut le chômage de type [a] considéré par Rueff, ceci que l’on regarde le régime de chômage « classique » ou celui de chômage « keynésien » ; (v) la nouvelle micro-économie keynésienne du travail montre qu’un chômage de type [a] peut être expliqué par le comportement rationnel des agents sans faire intervenir des rigidités exogènes imposées par l’Etat ; ce résultat généralise l’idée d’un chômage de type [a] mais constitue une réfutation de la possibilité admise par Rueff d’un équilibre concurrentiel pouvant se réaliser sur le marché du travail en l’absence de rigidités exogènes; (vi) dans l’optique des fondements microéconomiques de la macroéconomie, le modèle de concurrence imparfaite WS-PS traduisant la négociation entre salariés et employeurs s’accorde avec les trois types de chômage [a], [b] et [c], au point où l’on peut y voir une synthèse structurée et rigoureuse rejoignant Rueff et Allais, sauf que - et ce n’est pas un détail - l’équilibre concurrentiel ne correspond pas ici à un état naturel du marché en raison de l’existence de rigidités pouvant être à la fois de nature exogènes et endogènes.Finalement, le lien entre Rueff et les approches néokeynésiennes n’est pas très étonnant, car la « Théorie Générale » d’après laquelle la rigidité des salaires joue un grand rôle dans l’explication du chômage a été publiée 11 ans après l’article signé par Rueff en 1925 : il est difficile de penser que Keynes n’ait pas été marqué par les résultats présentés par Rueff. Chez ce dernier comme chez ses successeurs, on trouve la préoccupation essentielle de prendre en compte les rigidités du monde réel sans pour autant abandonner l’hypothèse de comportements rationnels et la référence à l’équilibre.
    Keywords: marché du travail, chômage, rigidités des salaires, Rueff, Allais, modèles néokeynésiens
    JEL: E24 J2 J30 N34
    Date: 2013–10–15
  6. By: Alexis Antoniades; Ganesh Seshan; Roberto A. Weber; Robertas Zubrickas
    Abstract: We provide a direct test of the impact of altruism on remittances. From a sample of 105 male migrant workers from Kerala, India working in Qatar, we elicit the propensity to share with others from their responses in a dictator game, and use it as a proxy for altruism. When the entire sample is considered, we find that only migrants' income robustly explains remittances. Altruism does not seem to matter. However, we document a strong positive relationship between altruism and remittances for those migrants that report a loan obligation back home, which is nearly half the sample. We explain the role of loan obligations with a standard remittance model, extended with reference-dependent preferences.
    Keywords: Remittances, altruism, reference-dependent preferences, dictator game, Qatar
    JEL: O12 O15 D81
    Date: 2013–10
  7. By: Carol Graham (The Brookings Institution); Milena Nikolova (University of Maryland, College Park)
    Abstract: We explore the relationship between agency and hedonic and evaluative dimensions of well-being, using data from the Gallup World Poll. We posit that individuals emphasize one well-being dimension over the other, depending on their agency. We test four hypotheses including whether: (i) positive levels of well-being in one dimension coexist with negative ones in another; and (ii) individuals place a different value on agency depending on their positions in the well-being and income distributions. We find that: (i) agency is more important to the evaluative well-being of respondents with more means; (ii) negative levels of hedonic well-being coexist with positive levels of evaluative well-being as people acquire agency; and (iii) both income and agency are less important to well-being at highest levels of the well-being distribution. We hope to contribute insight into one of the most complex and important components of well-being, namely, people's capacity to pursue fulfilling lives.
    Keywords: agency, capabilities, subjective well-being
    JEL: I14 G18 O5
    Date: 2013–09
  8. By: Eugen Dimant (University of Paderborn)
    Abstract: Corruption has fierce impacts on economic and societal development and is subject to a vast range of institutional, jurisdictional, societal and economic conditions. Research indicates that corruption’s predominantly negative effects have arisen to a massive trans-border threat while creating high obstacles to sustainable and prospective development, ultimately impairing everybody’s life. This paper provides a comprehensive state-of-the-art review of existing literature on corruption and its antecedents and effects. Consequently, we bridge the gap between existing theories of different fields of research including economics, psychology, and criminology in order to draw a conclusive picture of corruption on the micro-, meso- and macro-level.
    Keywords: Bribery, Corruption, Development, Interdisciplinarity, Public Economics
    JEL: D73 H1 O17 K42
    Date: 2013–10
  9. By: Bonikowska, Aneta Helliwell, John F.
    Abstract: Les mesures du bien etre subjectif occupent une place de plus en plus importante dans les discussions strategiques qui se tiennent a l'echelle internationale concernant la question de savoir quel est le meilleur moyen de mesurer le et le bien etre des populations nationales. Ce point a des consequences pour les organismes statistiques nationaux, car on leur demande d'incorporer a leurs enquetes menages des mesures du bien etre subjectif (Organisation de cooperation et de developpement economiques, 2013). Cela fait 25 ans que Statistique Canada incorpore a ses enquetes des mesures du bien etre subjectif - particulierement la satisfaction a l'egard de la vie - quoique le libelle des questions et les categories de reponses aient evolue avec le temps. Ainsi, l'Enquete sociale generale (ESG) et l'Enquete sur la sante dans les collectivites canadiennes (ESCC) de Statistique Canada fournissent une bonne occasion de proceder a un examen de la stabilite des reponses aux questions sur la satisfaction a l'egard de la vie et de leurs correlats au fil des ans a l'interieur d'un cadre analytique coherent.
    Keywords: Methodes statistiques, Sante, Assurance de la qualite, Sante mentale et bien-etre
    Date: 2013–10–11
  10. By: Tindara Addabbo; Gisella Facchinetti
    Abstract: The definition of well being in Sen's capability approach (Sen, 1985, 1993) implies the evaluation of unobservables in a context of complexity and interaction amongst the different capabilities. The issue of measurement of well being in the capability approach is interested by problems related to the difficulties in observing directly the capabilities (a set of opportunities that the individual can convert into observables functionings) behind the achieved functionings and in the very definition of the different dimensions of well being not closed by Sen in a given list. Different techniques have been proposed in the literature to measure well being in the capability approach (see Kuklys, 2005, Robeyns, 2006, Chiappero-Martinetti, 2008, Comim, 2008). Here we aim at showing how, in the field of fuzzy logic, fuzzy expert system can be used to measure well being in the capability approach by focusing on the methods and by referring to its implementation in different areas of the evaluation of well being. The use of fuzzy expert system to measure well being has been proposed in Addabbo, Di Tommaso and Facchinetti (2004) and applied for the evaluation of children well being (Addabbo, Facchinetti and Mastroleo, 2007), of the capability of living an healthy life (Addabbo, Chiarolanza, Fuscaldo, and Pirotti, 2010) while the measurement of the quality of work by using fuzzy expert system has been pursued in Addabbo, Facchinetti, Mastroleo and Solinas (2006). In Section 1 we discuss the mathematical framework of fuzzy logic and the transition from classical logic to fuzzy logic. In Section 2 we present the phases of implementation of fuzzy expert system and in Section 3 we discuss cases of its implementation in the measurement of different areas of well being. Section 4 concludes.
    Keywords: fuzzy logic, capabilities, well being
    JEL: C6 I31
    Date: 2013–10

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