nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2014‒10‒03
twenty papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. De la méthode selon Karl Popper By Frederic Teulon
  2. Economics and Genocide: Choices and Consequences By Jurgen Brauer; Charles Anderton
  3. Evolutionary Economics and Household Behavior By Charles Yuji Horioka
  4. There are several ways to incorporate evolutionary concepts into economic thinking. By Christian Cordes
  5. Zero-determinant strategies in iterated multi-strategy games By Jin-Li Guo
  6. The Marxian and Veblenesque elements in how I do economics By Geoff C. Harcourt
  7. Does expressing disapproval influence future cooperation? An experimental study By Anastasios Koukoumelis; M. Vittoria Levati
  8. de Finetti's Theory of Probability and its Jaynesian Critique By K.Vela Velupillai
  9. ‘Right Back Where We Started From’: From ‘The Classics’ To Keynes, And Back Again By Grieve, Roy H
  10. The Continuous Logit Dynamic and Price Dispersion By Ratul Lahkar; Frank Riedel
  11. A Unified Approach to Revealed Preference Theory: The Case of Rational Choice By Hiroki Nishimura; Efe A. Ok; John K.-H. Quah
  12. What is Trustworthiness and What Drives It? By James C. Cox; Rudolf Kerschbamer; Daniel Neururer
  13. On Replication and Perturbation of the McKelvey and Palfrey Centipede Game Experiment By James C. Cox; Duncan James
  14. Sociology and political science in the patrimonial society: implications of Piketty's Capital By Francois Bonnet; Clément Théry
  15. The Economic Outlook By Plosser, Charles I.
  16. CRITICAL EVENTS By Victor E. Jennings; Bill Lloyd-Smith; Duncan Ironmonger
  17. Ranking Multidimensional Alternatives and Uncertain Prospects By Marcus Pivato; Philippe Mongin
  18. How they made news pay: news traders’ quest for crisis-resistant business models By Gerben Bakker
  19. Hellas, Multiplied By Communism By Alexei Gloukhov
  20. Economic Freedom Research: Some Comments and Suggestions By Jamie Bologna; Joshua C. Hall

  1. By: Frederic Teulon
    Abstract: Karl Popper est un intellectuel d’origine autrichienne, il a été un des plus grands philosophe des sciences du XXe siècle. Défenseur de la société libérale, il est surtout connu pour avoir développé une théorie de la “falsification” dans le but de montrer de quelle façon la science peut s'approcher de la vérité. Il est connu également pour sa critique du déterminisme et de l'historicisme et pour son plaidoyer en faveur de l'individualisme méthodologique.
    Keywords: Epistémologie évolutionniste, Historicisme, Karl Popper, Libéralisme, Mont Pèlerin (société du), Rationalité, Science et falsification.
    Date: 2014–09–01
  2. By: Jurgen Brauer (Hull College of Business, Georgia Regents University); Charles Anderton (Department of Economics and Accounting, College of the Holy Cross)
    Abstract: Professional economists rarely write on questions of genocide. This surprises because a workhorse tool of the economics discipline concerns the analysis of behavior that takes place under constraints. All parties in genocide—perpetrators, victims, and third parties—face cost and resource constraints subject to which they seek to achieve their objectives, be it killing, surviving, or intervening. This essay characterizes and illustrates economic thinking about objectives, costs, and resources for each of the three groups. There is potentially much that economics can contribute to genocide studies and, vice versa, much that genocide scholars may learn from welcoming an economic perspective.
    Keywords: Genocide, economics, constrained optimization, rational choice
    JEL: A12 D00 D74 H87
    Date: 2014–09
  3. By: Charles Yuji Horioka (School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman)
    Abstract: This paper provides an introduction to the field of evolutionary economics with emphasis on the evolutionary theory of household behavior. It shows that the goal of evolutionary economics is to improve upon neoclassical economics by incorporating more realistic and empirically grounded behavioral assumptions and technological innovation and that the goal of the evolutionary theory of household behavior is to improve upon the neoclassical theory of household behavior by replacing the neoclassical assumption of selfish utility maximization with bounded rationality and satisficing and by incorporating the reaction of households to the introduction of new goods and services. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of loss aversion and self-interest vs. altruism.
    Keywords: Altruism, altruistic bequest motive, behavioral assumptions, behavioral economics, bequest motives, bounded rationality, consumption behavior, creative destruction, destructive technologies, dynastic bequest motive, evolution, evolutionary economics
    JEL: A12 B15 B25 B52 D11 D91 E21 O31 O33
    Date: 2014–08
  4. By: Christian Cordes (University of Bremen)
    Abstract: This article reviews the most important transfers of this kind into evolutionary economics. It broadly differentiates between approaches that draw on an analogy construction to the biological sphere, those that make metaphorical use of Darwinian ideas, and avenues that are based on the fact that other forms of – cultural – evolution rest upon foundations laid before by natural selection. It is shown that an evolutionary approach within economics informed by insights from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and anthropology contributes to more realistic models of human behavior in economic contexts.
    Keywords: evolutionary economics, human behavior, biological evolution, cultural evolution, generalized Darwinism, continuity hypothesis, Neo-Schumpeterians, American Institutionalism, competition
    JEL: B15 B25 B52 D03 Z1
    Date: 2014–09–02
  5. By: Jin-Li Guo
    Abstract: Self-serving, rational agents sometimes cooperate to their mutual benefit. The two-player iterated prisoner's dilemma game is a model for including the emergence of cooperation. It is generally believed that there is no simple ultimatum strategy which a player can control the return of the other participants. The recent discovery of the powerful class of zero-determinant strategies in the iterated prisoner's dilemma dramatically expands our understanding of the classic game by uncovering strategies that provide a unilateral advantage to sentient players pitted against unwitting opponents. However, strategies in the prisoner's dilemma game are only two strategies. Are there these results for general multi-strategy games? To address this question, the paper develops a theory for zero-determinant strategies for multi-strategy games, with any number of strategies. The analytical results exhibit that a similar scenario to the case of two-strategy games. Zero-determinant strategies in iterated prisoner's dilemma can be seen as degenerate case of our results. The results are also applied to the snowdrift game, the hawk-dove game and the chicken game.
    Date: 2014–09
  6. By: Geoff C. Harcourt (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales)
  7. By: Anastasios Koukoumelis (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena); M. Vittoria Levati (University of Verona, and Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena)
    Abstract: We report on an experiment designed to explore whether a written expression of disapproval affects future levels of cooperation. In between two identical public goods games, participants play a mini dictator game that, depending on the treatment, either gives or does not give the recipient the opportunity to text the dictator. The recipients of an unfair offer contribute significantly less in the second public goods game. Yet, the contribution reductions are significantly smaller in the treatments allowing for recipient communication. To control for belief-based explanations of these findings, we run treatments where we elicit beliefs about the others' contributions. It turns out that the reductions in contributions, but not the reductions in beliefs, of the unfairly treated recipients are notably smaller when messaging is possible. This tends to suggest that allowing for communication opportunities helps to curtail selfishness.
    Keywords: Public goods game, dictator minigame, emotions, cooperation
    JEL: C72 C91 C92 D63
    Date: 2014–09–08
  8. By: K.Vela Velupillai
    Abstract: For aesthetic, strategic and pragmatic reasons, E. T. Jaynes (2003, Appendix A) objects to Bruno de Finetti’s founding of probability theory on the basis of the notion of coherence. In this paper an attempt is made to diffuse this critique, as well as to point out, briefly, that these, and the remarks on a variety of foundational issues in mathematics and metamathematics (op.cit, Appendix B) are ahistorical, irrelevant and misguided.
    Keywords: Aesthetics, Coherence, Betting, Robot, Turing Machine
    JEL: C02 C11 C18 C44
    Date: 2014
  9. By: Grieve, Roy H
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to highlight the curiously circular course followed by mainstream macroeconomic thinking in recent times. Having broken from classical orthodoxy in the late 1930s via Keynes’s General Theory, over the last three or four decades the mainstream conventional wisdom, regressing rather than progressing, has now come to embrace a conception of the working of the macroeconomy which is again of a classical, essentially pre-Keynesian, character. At the core of the analysis presented in the typical contemporary macro textbook is the (neo)classical model of the labour market, which represents employment as determined (given conditions of productivity) by the terms of labour supply. While it is allowed that changes in aggregate demand may temporarily affect output and employment, the contention is that in due course employment will automatically return to its ‘natural’ (full employment) level. Unemployment is therefore identified as a merely frictional or voluntary phenomenon: involuntary unemployment - in other words persisting demand-deficient unemployment - is entirely absent from the picture. Variations in aggregate demand are understood to have a lasting impact only on the price level, not on output and employment. This in effect amounts to a return to a Pigouvian conception such as targeted by Keynes in the General Theory. We take the view that this reversion to ideas which should by now be obsolete reflects not the discovery of logical or empirical deficiencies in the Keynes analysis, but results rather from doctrinaire blindness and failure of scholarship on account of which essential features of the Keynes theory have been overlooked or misrepresented. There is an urgent need for a critical appraisal of the current conventional macroeconomic wisdom.
    Keywords: Keynes’s General Theory, ‘classical’ macroeconomics, involuntary unemployment, the AD/AS model,
    Date: 2014
  10. By: Ratul Lahkar (Department of Economics, Ashoka University); Frank Riedel (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)
    Abstract: We define the logit dynamic for games with continuous strategy spaces and establish its fundamental properties, i.e. the existence, uniqueness and continuity of solutions. We apply the dynamic to the analysis of the Burdett and Judd (1983) model of price dispersion. Our objective is to assess the stability of the logit equilibrium corresponding to the unique Nash equilibrium of this model. Although a direct analysis of local stability is difficult due to technical difficulties, an appeal to finite approximation techniques suggest that the logit equilibrium is unstable. Price dispersion, instead of being an equilibrium phenomenon, is a cyclical phenomenon. We also establish a result on the Lyapunov stability of logit equilibria in negative definite games.
    Keywords: Price dispersion, Evolutionary game theory, Logit dynamic
    JEL: C72 C73 L11
    Date: 2014–08
  11. By: Hiroki Nishimura (Department of Economics, University of California Riverside); Efe A. Ok (New York University); John K.-H. Quah (Oxford University)
    Date: 2014–09
  12. By: James C. Cox; Rudolf Kerschbamer; Daniel Neururer
    Abstract: This paper reports the results of experiments designed to isolate the impact of various combinations of the following motives on trustworthiness: (i) unconditional other-regarding preferences -- like altruism, inequality aversion, quasi-maximin, etc.; (ii) deal-responsiveness -- reacting to actions that allow for a mutual improvement by adopting behavior that implies a mutual improvement; (iii) gift-responsiveness -- reacting to choices that allow the trustee to obtain an improvement by adopting actions that benefit the trustor; and (iv) vulnerability-responsiveness -- reacting to the vulnerability of the trustor by adopting actions that do not hurt the trustor. Our results indicate that -- besides unconditional other-regarding preferences -- vulnerability-responsiveness is an important determinant of trustworthiness even in cases where the vulnerability of the trustor does not come together with a gift to the trustee. Motivated by our empirical findings we provide formal definitions of trust and trustworthiness based on revealed willingness to accept vulnerability and the response to it.
    Keywords: trustworthiness, trust, trust game, investment game, deal-responsiveness, gift-responsiveness, vulnerability-responsiveness, generosity, reciprocity
    JEL: C70 C91 D63 D64
    Date: 2014–09
  13. By: James C. Cox; Duncan James
    Abstract: null
    Date: 2014–08
  14. By: Francois Bonnet (PACTE - Politiques publiques, ACtion politique, TErritoires - Institut d'Études Politiques [IEP] - Grenoble - CNRS : UMR5194 - Université Pierre-Mendès-France - Grenoble II - Université Joseph Fourier - Grenoble I); Clément Théry (Columbia University - Columbia University)
    Abstract: What are the implications of Piketty's Capital for sociology and political science? Capital's argument focuses on the evolution of the r/g ratio (capital returns over growth rate) and outlines two modes of economic inequalities. One is characteristic of affluent (g > r) societies and the other is characteristic of patrimonial (r > g) societies. With the current return to a patrimonial society, corporations become political actors; occupational status and education's relevance are declining; the meaning of poverty is transformed, and welfare and punishment become interdependent means to social order; in politics, elitist theories gain traction; immigration is less about assimilation, and more about transnationalism and nationalist politics. We show that some theories are more relevant in an affluent society, and others are more adequate to a patrimonial society.
    Keywords: inequality; capitalism; corporate governance; education; social structure; power
    Date: 2014–08–11
  15. By: Plosser, Charles I. (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)
    Abstract: President Charles Plosser gives his views on the economy and shares some thoughts about the stance of monetary policy. He also counters the view that rates cannot be raised because the labor market has not "completely" healed and discusses what he thinks are two major risks with this strategy.
    Keywords: Economic outlook; Monetary policy;
    Date: 2014–09–06
  16. By: Victor E. Jennings; Bill Lloyd-Smith; Duncan Ironmonger
    Abstract: This paper outlines the beginnings of a general theory of critical events. Four types are defined. Two are micro-events each affecting a small number of people and are shown to arise in everyday life. Two are macro-events that affect large numbers of people and are related to ‘shocks’ in economic theory. The paper makes some suggestions for a statistical theory of critical events, supported by well-known results from the theory of stochastic processes. Many examples are provided to illustrate the four suggested types of critical events. Finally, some strategies for coping with and/or anticipating critical events are briefly outlined.
    Keywords: Critical events; Poisson processes; Phase transitions; Networks; Households.
    Date: 2014
  17. By: Marcus Pivato; Philippe Mongin (Université de Cergy-Pontoise, THEMA; Centre National de la Recherche Scientique and HEC Paris)
    Abstract: We introduce a ranking of multidimensional alternatives, including un- certain prospects as a particular case, when these objects can be given a matrix form. This ranking is separable in terms of rows and columns, and continuous and monotonic in the basic quantities. Owing to the theory of additive separability developed here, we derive very precise numerical representations over a large class of domains (i.e., typically not of the Cartesian product form). We apply these representation to (1) streams of commodity baskets through time, (2) uncertain social prospects, (3) un- certain individual prospects. Concerning (1), we propose a finite horizon variant of Koopmans's (1960) axiomatization of infinite discounted util- ity sums. The main results concern (2). We push the classic comparison between the ex ante and ex post social welfare criteria one step further by avoiding any expected utility assumptions, and as a consequence ob- tain what appears to be the strongest existing form of Harsanyi's (1955) Aggregation Theorem. Concerning (3), we derive a subjective probability for Anscombe and Aumann's (1963) finite case by merely assuming that there are two epistemically independent sources of uncertainty. characteristics.
    Keywords: Multiattribute utility, Separability, Subjective Probability, Harsanyi, Koopmans, Ex ante versus ex post welfare.
    Date: 2014
  18. By: Gerben Bakker
    Abstract: This paper discusses the problem, implied by Arrow’s fundamental paradox of information, of how to make money from news. To earn money from important news, news traders need to tell the potential buyer what it is, yet once they have revealed it, the buyer no longer needs to pay. This paper discusses how historically this paradox made it difficult for news agencies to profit from selling important news during crises, and how they gradually developed new business models in response. It examines these models and investigates how they interacted with market structure, resulting in just a few international news agencies dominating the international news supply.
    Keywords: news agencies - history; Reuters; Havas; the Associated Press; Wolff-Continental; ANP; Arrow’s fundamental paradox of information; business models; sunk costs; market structure - history; quasi-public goods/toll goods; financial crises; Kenneth J. Arrow
    JEL: N0 L91 L96 L81
    Date: 2014–08
  19. By: Alexei Gloukhov (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The rebirth of communism, as shown by a new wave of publications (A. Badiou, B. Groys, S. Zizek), disqualifies the historical peculiarity of the Soviet experience in favor of the eternal “idea of communism”, originating in the works of the Ancient Greek philosopher, Plato. It is an ironic reversal of the fates suffered by the studies of Antiquity after the Russian Revolution. Apparently, the present day supra-historical idealism and the old school historical materialism exclude each other. On the other hand, an analysis of Soviet cultural politics from the 1920-30s may demonstrate that those radical theoretical stances were presented as distinct practical phases in the same changing experience of communism. A repudiation of the Soviet past brings for the current rebirth of communism nothing other than the hiding of ugly practical problems behind theoretical purity.
    Keywords: communism, cultural politics, Russian revolution, Soviet experience, Antiquity, Plato
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2014
  20. By: Jamie Bologna (West Virginia University, College of Business and Economics); Joshua C. Hall (West Virginia University, College of Business and Economics)
    Abstract: The Economic Freedom of the World (EFW) index is extensively used in academic research to show how economic freedom relates to a wide array of economic and social outcomes. Given this, it is important that researchers understand the goal of the index and how to properly utilize this index in their research. There seem to be several common misconceptions about the EFW index resulting from a simple misunderstanding of the index itself. This paper discusses each of these misconceptions in turn and makes suggestions for future research. This paper aims to significantly improve the quality of research using the EFW index, and possibly the EFW index itself through the development of new datasets and weighting schemes.
    Keywords: economic freedom, measurement, negative liberty
    JEL: C80 O17 P10 P51
    Date: 2014–08

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