nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2014‒04‒11
twenty-six papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. MIT's Rise to Prominence: Outline of a Collective Biography By Andrej Svorenčík
  2. Lange’s 1938 model: dynamics and the “Optimum propensity to consume” By Michael Assous; Roberto Lampa
  3. "From the State Theory of Money to Modern Money Theory: An Alternative to Economic Orthodoxy" By L. Randall Wray
  4. Lesser Degrees of Explanation: Some Implications of F.A. Hayek’s Methodology of Sciences of Complex Phenomena By Scott Scheall
  5. What Mechanism Design Theorists Had to Say About Laboratory Experimentation in the Mid-1980s By Kyu Sang Lee
  6. Sorting Charles Tiebout: The Construction and Stabilization of Postwar Public Good Theory By John D. Singleton
  7. Objective Principles of Economics By Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
  8. Legal Systems Integrity In Philosophy By Mikhail Antonov
  9. Il coordinamento nella mediazione civile e commerciale: l’emergenza di norme hayekiane e il percorso “protetto” verso l’ordine sociale By Ambrosino, Angela
  10. Making Things Technical: Samuelson at MIT By Harro Maas
  11. Reductionism in Economics: Causality and Intentionality in the Microfoundations of Macroeconomics By Kevin D. Hoover
  12. Information Transmission in Nested Sender-Receiver Games By Sidartha Gordon; Ying Chen
  13. Evolutionary Dynamics and Fast Convergence in the Assignment Game By Bary S.R. Pradelski
  14. Online Concealed Correlation and Bounded Rationality By Gilad Bavly; Abraham Neyman
  15. History of Law and Economics By Martin Gelter; Kristoffel Grechenig
  16. La lutte contre la pauvreté à l'épreuve des essais cliniques. Réflexion sur l'approche expérimentale de l'économie du développement. By Judith Favereau
  17. "Minsky and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis: The Financial Instability Hypothesis in the Era of Financialization" By Eugenio Caverzasi
  18. Attitudes to Income Inequality: Experimental and Survey Evidence By Andrew E. Clark; Conchita D'ambrosio
  19. Why are economists so different? Nature, nurture, and gender effects in a simple trust game By Haucap, Justus; Müller, Andrea
  20. Promoting Econometrics through econometrica 1933-39 By Bjerkholt, Olav
  21. Variations on a Theme by Gossen By Haavelmo, Trygve; Bjerkholt, Olav
  22. Rights and Capabilities: Reading the Philippines Magna Carta of Women from the Perspective of the Capabilities Approach By Marina Durano
  23. The limit of discounted utilitarianism By Jonsson, Adam; Voorneveld, Mark
  24. What can experiments tell us about how to improve governance? By Gisselquist, Rachel M.; Nino-Zarazua, Miguel
  25. La croissance économique au passé, au présent, à l'avenir By Alain Bienaymé
  26. Non-monetary dimensions of well-being: A comment By Wittenberg, Martin

  1. By: Andrej Svorenčík
    Abstract: The core question of MIT Economics Department’s history – why has MIT economics risen to prominence so quickly – requires an approach to history of economics that focuses on the role of the networks within which economists operate, their ideas diffuse, and gain scientific credit. By reconstructing the network of MIT economics Ph.Ds. and their advisors, this paper furnishes not just evidence of how MIT rose to prominence as documented by the numerous ties of Nobel Laureates, Clark Medalists, elected officials of the AEA or the Council of Economic Advisors to the MIT network. The MIT Economics Department is also revealed as a community of self-replicating economists who are to a large extent trained by a few key advisers who were mostly trained at MIT as well. MIT exhibits a large share of graduates who remain in American academia that is disproportionate to the number of graduates it has produced. It is hypothesized that this has been an important factor in MIT’s rise to prominence. On a methodological level this paper introduces prosopography or collective biography, a well-established historiographic method, to the field of history of economics.
    Keywords: MIT, networks of economists, advisor-advisee relations, prosopography, collective biography
    Date: 2013
  2. By: Michael Assous; Roberto Lampa
    Abstract: Oskar Lange’s 1938 article “The Rate of Interest and the Optimum Propensity to Consume”, is usually associated with the original IS-LM approach of the late 1930s. However, Lange’s article was not only an attempt to illuminate Keynes’s main innovations but the first part of a wide project that included the development of a theory of economic evolution. This paper aims at showing that Lange’s article can help illuminating critical aspects of this project: in particular, Lange’s idea that a synthesis between Kaldor’s and Kalecki’s theories and that of Schumpeter, might have been possible and that it represented (in intentions) a “modern” and consistent reconstruction of the Marxist theory of the business cycle. Section 1 clarifies Lange’s early reflection on dynamics. Section 2 centers on Lange’s 1938 static model and indicates the effects of a change of saving on investment. Section 3 suggests a dynamic reconstruction from which are addressed important arguments raised by Lange in a series of papers written between 1934 and 1942.
    Keywords: Lange; Kalecki; Marxian theory of the business cycle; marginal propensity to save; non-linearity
    Date: 2014
  3. By: L. Randall Wray
    Abstract: This paper explores the intellectual history of the state, or chartalist, approach to money, from the early developers (Georg Friedrich Knapp and A. Mitchell Innes) through Joseph Schumpeter, John Maynard Keynes, and Abba Lerner, and on to modern exponents Hyman Minsky, Charles Goodhart, and Geoffrey Ingham. This literature became the foundation for Modern Money Theory (MMT). In the MMT approach, the state (or any other authority able to impose an obligation) imposes a liability in the form of a generalized, social, legal unit of account--a money--used for measuring the obligation. This approach does not require the preexistence of markets; indeed, it almost certainly predates them. Once the authorities can levy such obligations, they can name what fulfills any obligation by denominating those things that can be delivered; in other words, by pricing them. MMT thus links obligatory payments like taxes to the money of account as well as the currency. This leads to a revised view of money and sovereign finance. The paper concludes with an analysis of the policy options available to a modern government that issues its own currency.
    Keywords: Modern Money Theory; Chartalism; State Money; Knapp; Innes; Schumpeter; Keynes; Minsky; Goodhart; Ingham; Sovereign Currency
    JEL: B1 B3 B15 B22 B25 B52 E40 E50 E62 H5 H60 N1
    Date: 2014–03
  4. By: Scott Scheall
    Abstract: From the early-1950s on, F.A. Hayek was concerned with the development of a methodology of sciences that study systems of complex phenomena. Hayek argued that the knowledge that can be acquired about such systems is, in virtue of their complexity (and the comparatively narrow boundaries of human cognitive faculties), relatively limited. The paper aims to elucidate the implications of Hayek’s methodology with respect to the specific dimensions along which the scientist’s knowledge of some complex phenomena may be limited. Hayek’s fallibilism was an essential (if not always explicit) aspect of his arguments against the defenders of both socialism ([1935] 1948, [1940] 1948) and countercyclical monetary policy ([1975] 1978); yet, despite the fact that his conceptions of both complex phenomena and the methodology appropriate to their investigation imply that ignorance might beset the scientist in multiple respects, he never explicated all of these consequences. The specificity of a scientific prediction depends on the extent of the scientist’s knowledge concerning the phenomena under investigation. The paper offers an account of the considerations that determine the extent to which a theory’s implications prohibit the occurrence of particular events in the relevant domain. This theory of “predictive degree” both expresses and – as the phenomena of scientific prediction are themselves complex in Hayek’s sense – exemplifies the intuition that the specificity of a scientific prediction depends on the relevant knowledge available.
    Keywords: Hayek, Economic Methodology, Fallibilism, Complexity, Explanation, Prediction, Underdetermination, Quine
    Date: 2013
  5. By: Kyu Sang Lee
    Abstract: Thanks to the recent studies of the history and philosophy of experimental economics, it is well known that around the early 1980s, experimental economists made a case for the legitimacy of their laboratory work by emphasizing that it was a nice and indispensable complement to mechanism design theorists’ mathematical study of institutions. The present paper examines what mechanism design theorists thought of laboratory experimentation, or whether they were willing to form a coalition with experimental economists circa the mid-1980s. By exploring several dimensions of the relationship between mechanism design theory and experimental economics, the present paper shows that a close rapport had been established by the early 1980s between the representative members of the two camps, and also that mechanism design theorists were among the strongest supporters of laboratory experimentation in the economics profession in the mid-1980s.
    Keywords: mechanism design theory, experimental economics, institutional design, Stanley Reiter, Vernon Smith, Charles Plott
    Date: 2013
  6. By: John D. Singleton
    Abstract: A substantial and diverse literature in economics traces its intellectual roots to Charles Tiebout's 1956 article, "The Pure Theory of Local Expenditure." Its present recognition frequently attributed to originating the idea of "voting with your feet," however, contrasts sharply with its obscurity during Tiebout's academic career, which was tragically cut short by his passing in 1968. Penned as a qualification to Paul Samuelson's "pure theory," the article failed to influence the stabilization of postwar public good theory, despite Tiebout's engagement with key figures in its construction. Moreover, his death preceded the application of its central mechanism to public, urban, and environmental topics via hedonic, sorting, and computational general equilibrium models. Viewed in this way, the history of Tiebout's article, and thereby the history of public economics, has remarkably little to do with Tiebout himself. Professionally, though, the article reflected Tiebout's lifelong interest in issues of local economies and governance. The social and political context of urban sprawl and political fragmentation that accompanied the rapid growth of metropolitan area, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle, raised novel questions in local public finance for researchers before a knowledge community existed to credit their work. For Tiebout, it stimulated his collaboration with Vincent Ostrom and Robert Warren and later involvement in the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of regional science.
    Keywords: public goods, Charles Tiebout, Tiebout sorting, James Buchchanan, Richard Musgrave, Paul Samuelson
    Date: 2013
  7. By: Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
    Abstract: Economists have the habit of solving the wrong problems. They speculate circumstantially about the behavior of agents and do not come to grips with the behavior of the monetary economy. This is the consequence of the methodological imperative that all explanations must run in terms of the actions and reactions of individuals. The critical point is that no way leads from the understanding of the interaction of the individuals to the understanding of the working of the economy as a whole. The solution consists in moving from subjective-behavioral axioms to objective-structural axioms, i.e. from past to future.
    Keywords: new framework of concepts; structure-centric; axiom set; methodology; complex adaptive system; profit
    JEL: B59 D01 D50
    Date: 2014–04–03
  8. By: Mikhail Antonov (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper aims to analyse the philosophical premises on which the idea of unity of law (identity of legal system) is based. In the history of legal philosophy this idea found its main arguments in the presumption of totality of legal regulation. Such totality translated the philosophical tenets of holism according to which law is not limited to the positive-law rules and institutes. Law refers to the supreme values priming over the legal instruments human beings and collectives create for regulation of their mutual behaviour. This argument implies that there are highest values (that of justice, good…) under which all the social relations can be subsumed and which finally give the binding force to positive law. The author argues that this line of thought is based on philosophical objectivism and naturalism, and can easily lead to primacy of the social over the individual. To substantiate the idea of systemacity of law, one can turn to the modern debates about logic of social cohesion and construct a legal system identity as a purely intellectual hypothesis necessary for thinking about law. This integrity can be described as a unity of discourse, or as a unity of societal practices. This reconstruction of integrity of law can be extended by appealing to the basic ideas of normative philosophy of law (from Hart and Kelsen to Raz and Dworkin) and is reconcilable with the conception of normative systems of Bulygin–Alchourron.
    Keywords: normativity, social control, legal system, positivity of law, unity of law, identity of legal system
    JEL: K10
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Ambrosino, Angela (University of Turin)
    Abstract: The mediation procedure, as outlined by D.lg 28/2010 and subsequent amendments, introduced in our legal system a new tool for coordinating the decisions of economic agents. The new civil mediation is proposed, therefore, as an instrument characterized by a different procedure and objectives from those of ordinary judgment. The evaluation of its efficiency requires the introduction of new theoretical tools that allow to evaluate the different aspects of social interaction in mediation. The traditional cost-benefit analysis proposed by the economic analysis of law, or simple considerations on Pareto-efficiency proposed by standard economics seem not sufficient analytical tools in this perspective. This article shares Mitchell’s cognitive approach to the theory of law, and it is aimed at analyzing the new model of mediation introduced into Italian legislation through the lens offered by F.A. Hayek’s theory of law (1973, 1976, 1979), with particular reference to the distinction he made between law and legislation and its consequence on the analysis of the role of the judge in common law as the discoverer of law. Moreover, Hayek’s legal theory will be analyzed jointly to his concept of social order. In the light of the contribution of this author, in fact, the choice of our legislator seems to be close to the idea of developing regulatory structures that simply delineate the action of subjects without imposing specific behaviors or ex ante solutions to given situations
    Date: 2014–03
  10. By: Harro Maas
    Abstract: This paper examines how Samuelson defined his own role as an economist as a technical expert, who walked what he called ‘the middle of the road’ to – seemingly – stay out of the realm of politics. As point of entry I discuss the highly tempting offers made by Theodore M. Schultz in the 1940s to come over to Chicago, which Schultz persistently repeated over a period of three years and despite strong Chicago faculty resistance. A contrast between Schultz’s own experiences as an economic expert at Iowa State, Samuelson’s work as an external consultant for the National Resources Planning Board during the Second World War and the firm support of the MIT administration for Samuelson’s research, serve to pinpoint the meaning of being technical for Samuelson, and the relation of the technical economic expert to the realm of politics.
    Keywords: technical expertise, economic modeling, ‘middle of the road’ economists, National Resources Planning Board, MIT, University of Chicago
    Date: 2014
  11. By: Kevin D. Hoover
    Abstract: In many sciences – physical, but also biology, neuroscience, and other life sciences – one object of reductionism is to purge intentionality from the fundamental basis of both explanations and the explanatory target. The scientifically relevant level – ontologically and epistemologically – is thought to lie deeper than the level of ordinary human interactions. In the material and living world, the more familiar is the less fundamental. In contrast, the economic world of day-to-day life – the world of market interactions – appears to be the relevant level. Macroeconomics is thought to provide an account that is above, not below or behind, ordinary economic decisionmaking. An advantage of a macroeconomic account is that it is possible to employ causal analysis of the economy as a whole analogous to the causal analysis of physical systems. The fear of many economists is that such analyses are untethered to ordinary economic decisionmaking. The object of reductionism in economics – the so-called microfoundations of macroeconomics – is adequately to ground or replace higher level causal analysis with an analysis of the day-to-day interactions of people. The object is not to purge intentionality, but to reclaim it. The paper will attempt to understand the key issues surrounding the microfoundations of macroeconomics from a perspectival realist perspective that elucidates the relationship between economists’ methodological preference for microfoundations and need for macroeconomic analysis – that is, between economists’ respect for the intentional nature of economic life and the need for a causal analysis of the economy. The paper favors metaphysical humility and methodological pragmatism.
    Keywords: microfoundations of macroeconomics, reductionism, causation, intentionality, Lucas critique
    Date: 2014
  12. By: Sidartha Gordon (Département d'économie); Ying Chen (Key Laboratory of Inorganic Functional Materials and Devices)
    Abstract: We introduce a “nestedness” relation for a general class of sender-receiver games and compare equilibrium properties, in particular the amount of information transmitted, across games that are nested. Roughly, game is nested in game if the players’s optimal actions are closer in game. We show that under some conditions, more information is transmitted in the nested game in the sense that the receiver’s expected equilibrium payoff is higher. The results generalize the comparative statics and welfare comparisons with respect to preferences in the seminal paper of Crawford and Sobel (1982). We also derive new results with respect to changes in priors in addition to changes in preferences. We illustrate the usefulness of the results in three applications: (i) delegation to an intermediary with a different prior, the choice between centralization and delegation, and two-way communication with an informed principal.
    Keywords: sender-receiver games, information transmission, nestedness, inter- mediary, delegation, informed principal.
    Date: 2014–04
  13. By: Bary S.R. Pradelski
    Abstract: We study evoloutionary, decentralized dynamics for the classic assignment game (Shapley and Shubik 1972).� Players encounter each other at random and agree to match if they are feasible.� We propose a variant of the behaviorally motivated model in Nax, Pradelski, and Young (2013) which converges to stable and optimal outcomes in polynomial time in the number of players.� This is achieved although players have no knowledge about other players' payoffs or actions.� Instead, there is a market sentiment: if negative players on one side of the market (workers) are asking for a bit less, if positive players on the other side of the market (firms) are offering a bit more.� We also show that the latter condition is necessary.
    Keywords: assignment games, core, evolutionary game theory, matching markets, convergence time
    JEL: C71 C73 C78 D83
    Date: 2014–03–03
  14. By: Gilad Bavly; Abraham Neyman
    Abstract: Correlation of players' actions may evolve in the common course of the play of a repeated game with perfect monitoring (``obline correlation''). In this paper we study the concealment of such correlation from a boundedly rational player. We show that ``strong'' players, i.e., players whose strategic complexity is less stringently bounded, can orchestrate the obline correlation of the actions of ``weak'' players, where this correlation is concealed from an opponent of ``intermediate'' strength. The feasibility of such ``\ol concealed correlation'' is reflected in the individually rational payoff of the opponent and in the equilibrium payoffs of the repeated game. This result enables the derivation of a folk theorem that characterizes the set of equilibrium payoffs in a class of repeated games with boundedly rational players and a mechanism designer who sends public signals. The result is illustrated in two models, each of which captures a different aspect of bounded rationality. In the first, players use bounded recall strategies. In the second, players use strategies that are implementable by finite automata.
    Date: 2014–02
  15. By: Martin Gelter (Fordham University School of Law); Kristoffel Grechenig (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods & Amsterdam Center for Law & Economics (ACLE))
    Abstract: The roots of law & economics lie in late 19th century continental Europe. However, this early movement did not persist, having been cut off in the 1930s. After World War II, modern law & economics was (re-)invented in the United States and subsequently grew into a major field of research at U.S. law schools. In continental Europe, law & economics was re-imported as a discipline within economics, driven by economists interested in legal issues rather than by legal scholars. Hence, the European discourse was more strongly influenced by formal analysis, using mathematical models. Today, research in the U.S., Europe, and in other countries around the world, including Latin America and Asia, uses formal, empirical, and intuitive methods. New subfields, such as behavioral law & economics and experimental law & economics, have grown in the U.S. and in Europe during the past two decades.
    Date: 2014–04
  16. By: Judith Favereau (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne)
    Abstract: By trying to guarantee that the fight against poverty is based on evidence, randomized experiments, essentially developed by Esther Duflo within the J-PAL, offer a new way to fight poverty. The originality of such approach is to import the methodology of clinical trials in development economics. In order to stress the main epistemological issues of Esther Duflo's methodology, this paper aims to interrogate this new approach in development economics through the philosophical analysis of Georges Canguilhem in medicine. Afterwards, we show that such approach struggles to produce efficient remedies against poverty; instead, it offers a global view of poverty symptoms.
    Keywords: Randomization, medical clinical trials, epistemology of economics, poverty, development economics.
    JEL: A12 B40 O20
    Date: 2014–03
  17. By: Eugenio Caverzasi
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to develop a structural explanation of the subprime mortgage crisis, grounded on the combination of two apparently incompatible financial theories: the financial instability hypothesis by Hyman P. Minsky and the theory of capital market inflation by Jan Toporowski. Our thesis is that, once the evolution of the financial market is taken into account, the financial Keynesianism of Minsky is still a valid framework to understand the events leading to the crisis.
    Keywords: Hyman Minsky; Financial Instability Hypothesis; Jan Toporowski; Capital Market Inflation; Financialization; Financial Crisis; Subprime Mortgage Crisis
    JEL: B2 B5 E44 G01
    Date: 2014–04
  18. By: Andrew E. Clark (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA)); Conchita D'ambrosio (Université du Luxembourg - Université du Luxembourg)
    Abstract: We review the findings in surveys and experiments from the literature on attitudes to income inequality. We interpret the latter as any disparity in incomes between individuals. We classify these contributions into two broad groups of individual attitudes to income distribution in a society: the normative and the comparative view. The first can be thought of as the individual's disinterested evaluation of income inequality; on the contrary, the second view reflects self-interest, as individual's inequality attitudes depend not only on how much income they receive but also on how much they receive compared to others. We conclude with a number of extensions, outstanding issues and suggestions for future research.
    Keywords: Attitudes ; Distribution ; Experiments ; Income inequality ; Life satisfaction ; Reference groups
    Date: 2014–03–31
  19. By: Haucap, Justus; Müller, Andrea
    Abstract: We analyze the behavior of 577 economics and law students in a simple binary trust experiment. While economists are both significantly less trusting and less trustworthy than law students, this difference is largely due to differences between female law and economics students. While female law students are already different in nature (during the first term of study) from female economists, the gap between them also widens more drastically over the course of their study compared to their male counterparts. This finding is rather critical as the detailed composition of students is typically neglected in most experiments. --
    Keywords: Gender Effects,Trust Game,Economists,Nature,Nurture
    JEL: A12 A22 C35 C91
    Date: 2014
  20. By: Bjerkholt, Olav (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: The journal of the Econometric Society, Econometrica, was established in 1933 and edited by Ragnar Frisch for the first 22 years. As a new journal Econometrica had three key characteristics. First, it was devoted to a research program stated in few but significant words in the constitution of the Econometric Society and for many years printed in every issue of the journal. Second, it was the first international journal in economics. Third, it was the journal of association (Econometric Society) with members committed to a serious interest in econometrics. The paper gives a brief account of the circumstances around the establishment of the journal and of the relationship between Frisch and Alfred Cowles 3rd who in various capacities played a major role in launching the journal and keeping it going. It furthermore conveys observations and comments related to the editing of the first seven volumes of Econometrica, i.e. 1933-39. The main aim of the paper is to shed light on how the editor and a small core group of econometrician attempted to promote econometrics via Econometrica. The paper is overwhelmingly based on unpublished material from Frisch’s editorial files. Editorial principles, controversies, and style are illuminated through excerpts from the editorial correspondence. The paper was presented at ESEM-67, University of Gothenburg, 26-30 August, 2013.
    Keywords: Econometrica; Ragnar Frisch; editorial style
    JEL: B23 B31
    Date: 2014–02–23
  21. By: Haavelmo, Trygve (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo); Bjerkholt, Olav (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: The memo consists of six papers on a common theme: applying economic analysis to subjects at the time, 1972, considered non-economic. The first paper considers changes in preferences. The second considers strategies of a regime and its opposition. The third discusses collective decision making in the light of Arrow's possibility theorem and the voting paradox. The fourth discusses some problems of inefficiency in modern industrialised societies, and the onsequences on the welfare of the population. The fifth discusses some aspects of redistributive policies, and the sixth various instances of the conflict between individual and collective rationality, particularly in the case of environmental and population policies.
    Keywords: Welfare; government policy; relation of economics to other disciplines
    JEL: A12 D01 I38
    Date: 2013–12–03
  22. By: Marina Durano (School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman)
    Abstract: The Magna Carta of Women (R.A. 7910) is the Philippines comprehensive women’s human rights law. The Magna Carta of Women is found to be consistent with Rawlsian notions of justice, particularly when it undertakes inequality evaluation in primary goods. Identity-based inequality evaluation is also present in the Magna Carta of Women as implied in its definition of discrimination and marginalization. With the state as the primary duty bearer, the Magna Carta of Women gives prominence to an instrumental view of agency since participation is mediated through state mechanisms and institutions. The Magna Carta of Women fails to acknowledge the contributions of care work and the implications of the gendered division of labor. The capabilities approach highlights the challenges attached to these observations. Where human rights are viewed as ethical demands, the MCW succeeds in giving attention to aspects of women’s lives that require state support.
    Keywords: gender equality, law and economics, human rights, capabilities
    JEL: K3 J16 K00 D63 I31
    Date: 2014–04
  23. By: Jonsson, Adam (Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics); Voorneveld, Mark (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper presents an infinite-horizon version of intergenerational utilitarianism that is both satisfactorily complete and consistent. By studying discounted utilitarianism as the discount factor tends to one, we obtain a welfare criterion --- limit-discounted utilitarianism --- that combines efficiency and the equal treatment of generations with analytical tractability and a high degree of comparability. We show that limit-discounted utilitarianism satisfies a number of consistency properties; in particular, it provides (i) an intuitive link between preferences over infinite-horizon streams and large, but finite-horizon truncations, and (ii) a complete view of the consequences of delaying streams with well-defined finite averages. The latter is formulated through a principle of compensation. Through this compensation principle, limit-discounted utilitarianism gives a coherent view on the consequences of delaying welfare which is compatible with stationarity. Limit-discounted utilitarianism is characterized on a large domain of infinite-horizon utility streams.
    Keywords: Intergenerational equity; aggregating infinite utility streams; ethical social welfare relations
    JEL: D63 D70 D90
    Date: 2014–03–17
  24. By: Gisselquist, Rachel M.; Nino-Zarazua, Miguel
    Abstract: In recent years, randomized controlled trials have become increasingly popular in the social sciences. In development economics in particular, their use has attracted considerable debate in relation to the identification of .what works. in development pol
    Keywords: randomised control trials, governance, development
    Date: 2013
  25. By: Alain Bienaymé (LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris IX - Paris Dauphine)
    Abstract: After a few centuries of speeding up, the distribution of GNP's growth rates has widely changed all round the world. Growth is slowing down in advanced countries and has accelerated in emerging countries. Moreover growth is questioned as a matter of principle. Considering the vast array of issues at stake, mainly the depletion of natural resources and the enduring waste of human resources caused by mass unemployment, growth has reached a new stage. Economics needs to be provided food for thought from social sciences as well as from geography, natural sciences and philosophy : growth is a field of research open to co - disciplinarity. History shows how important the intellectuel climate, the zeit geist has been and still is for economic performances. As regards the future of growth, we explore two feasible scenarios able to conciliate at least two of the following goals : better protection and maintenance of natural resources, satisfaction of human aspirations to get better life conditions, alternative activities to paid jobs and idleness entailed by the labour saving technologies and significative efforts of households to temper their consumption.
    Keywords: Co - disciplinarity; sustainable development; emergent economies; employment; labour; natural resources; rationality; risk
    Date: 2014–02–14
  26. By: Wittenberg, Martin (DataFirst, University of Cape Town)
    Abstract: Bhorat and van der Westhuizen (2013) use asset indices to explore inequality in post-Apartheid South Africa. We show that the way in which the asset indices were transformed to calculate the Gini coefficients does not preserve the relative ranking of inequality measures on subgroups. This means that the reported trends are not robust. Even if they were, it is difficult to interpret the coefficients.
    Keywords: inequality, asset index
    JEL: D63 I32
    Date: 2013

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