nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2015‒02‒28
fifteen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Is There Room for 'Fear' as a Human Passion in the Work by Adam Smith? By Daniela Parisi
  2. Econometric Society 1930: How It Got Founded By Bjerkholt, Olav
  3. Luigi Einaudi By Forte, Francesco ; Silvestri, Paolo
  4. Equilibrium selection in similar repeated games: Experimental evidence on the role of precedents By Duffy, John ; Fehr, Dietmar
  5. Mainstreaming. Reflections on the Origins and Fate of Mainstream Pluralism. By Cedrini, Mario ; Fontana, Magda
  6. Systemacity Of Law: A Phantasm? By Mikhail Antonov
  7. Dynamic Moral Hazard without Commitment By Johannes Horner ; Larry Samuelson
  8. When and How the Punishment Must Fit the Crime By Mailath, George J. ; Nocke, Volker ; White, Lucy
  9. Frustration and Anger in Games By Pierpaolo Battigalli ; Martin Dufwenberg ; Alec Smith
  10. Solutions for cooperative games with and without transferable utility By Suzuki, T.
  11. Protestant Work Ethic Among The Muslims: Changeable Empirical Evidence By Anna Shirokanova
  12. On the Credibility of Punishment in Repeated Social Dilemma Games By Ralph-C Bayer
  13. Who never tells a lie? By Vanberg, Christoph
  14. The Politics of Industry in Nehru's India By Tyabji, Nasir
  15. Does Quality, Quantity and Duration of Lives By Jean-Yves Duclos ; Bouba Housseini

  1. By: Daniela Parisi (Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore )
    Abstract: The sciences tell us that fears are physical feelings and mental emotions that play a key role in any society. Not many issues related to fear are explored by economists today. The aim of this paper is to go backwards through the history of economic thought, and examine if and how Adam Smith considered fear in his work: in effect, he devoted a great deal of attention to the concept of fear. This paper does not intend to cover the whole of the topic at hand as it would also be useful to investigate the connections between fear and all the other feelings that pervade Smith's thought.
    Keywords: Adam Smith, Human Passions, Fear, Sociology, Psychology, Neurosciences
    JEL: B12
    Date: 2014–01
  2. By: Bjerkholt, Olav (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo )
    Abstract: The Econometric Society was founded at an "organization meeting" in December 1930. The invitations had been issued by Irving Fisher, Ragnar Frisch and, Charles F. Roos. In June the same year they had sent a form letter to a list of 31 scholars to solicit advice about establishing an international association "to help in gradually converting economics into a genuine and recognized science." The responses of these scholars from ten different countries are set out at some length in the paper. Rather than persevering in building a constituency of adherents on which a society could be funded the three initiators decided to rush ahead and sent out invitations to an organization meeting to found the Econometric Society at short notice. The paper discusses the reasons for the change of pace, indicating that Schumpeter had a decisive role, and gives an account of the deliberations of the organization meeting founding the Econometric Society.
    Keywords: Econometric-Society
    JEL: B23 B25
    Date: 2014–12–04
  3. By: Forte, Francesco ; Silvestri, Paolo
    Abstract: The present dictionary entry aims to provide an account of Luigi Einaudi's life, thought and works
    Keywords: Luigi Einaudi
    JEL: B3
    Date: 2015
  4. By: Duffy, John ; Fehr, Dietmar
    Abstract: We report on an experiment examining behavior and equilibrium selection in two similar, infinitely repeated games, Stag Hunt and Prisoner's Dilemma under anonymous random matching. We are interested in the role that precedents may play for equilibrium selection between these two stage game forms. We find that a precedent for efficient play in the repeated Stag Hunt game does not carry over to the repeated Prisoner's Dilemma game despite the possibility of efficient play in the latter game. Similarly, a precedent of inefficient play in the Prisoner's Dilemma game does not extend to the repeated Stag Hunt game. We conclude that equilibrium selection between similar repeated games has little to do with historical precedents and is mainly determined by strategic considerations associated with the different payouts of these similar repeated games.
    Keywords: Equilibrium Selection,Precedent,Beliefs,Stag Hunt,Prisoner's Dilemma,Repeated Games,Experimental Economics
    JEL: C72 C73 C92 D83
    Date: 2015
  5. By: Cedrini, Mario ; Fontana, Magda (University of Turin )
    Abstract: There is considerable discussion on the so-called “mainstream pluralism”, which stems from the growth and coexistence of new research programs in economics that significantly deviate from the neoclassical core. Other disciplines have actively contributed to the birth of such programs, that are carried on by different, often separated communities of researchers. Although “mainstream pluralism” is not the pluralism heterodox economists and students groups have sought for in the recent decades, its persistence over time might provide a possible precondition for the advent of pluralism in economics. While the literature tends to regard mainstream pluralism as a transitory state towards a new, post-neoclassical, mainstream, this paper contributes to the debate by bringing in a different perspective, focusing on economics’ fragmentation and the necessity of specialization. We adopt a “late Kuhnian” framework (derived from Kuhn’s late works on specialization), considering not scientific revolutions but specialization as key engine of progress in science, and interpret mainstream pluralism as the result of economics’ recent growth in size and dive rsity. To account for the necessity of specialization in economics, we employ Ronald Heiner’s work on the competence-difficulty gap, as well as the evidence offered in some recent studies about the impact of the “burden” of previously accumulated knowledge on innovative behaviour. After a bird’s eye view on the recent history of economics in relation to other disciplines (and an analysis of Herbert Gintis’s “unity of behavioral sciences” proposal as possible new mains tream), we discuss the possibility that today’s “mainstream pluralism” might persist over time.
    Date: 2015–02
  6. By: Mikhail Antonov (National Research University Higher School of Economics )
    Abstract: The subject-matter of this article is the “systemacity of law” concept and its methodological feedback. Continuing a series of articles on this subject, the author focuses on the internal rationality of claims about systemic character of law. This rationality is embedded in the legal thinking of Modernity and reveals itself in the belief in rational nature of law. According to this style of legal thinking, such internal rationality impedes law from being chaotically or randomly organised and structured. Therefore, law shall have a reasonably organized structure, even if in reality it does not have such a structure. In this way, the belief in an internal rationality of law transforms itself into the requirement for the rational organization of law. These two elements—belief in an internal rationality and the requirement of rational organization of law—are the pillars of the dogmatic conception of law which was established in Begriffsjurisprudenz of the 19th century and which still holds sway over contemporary continental legal thinking.
    Keywords: normative systems, legal system, positivity of law, unity of law, identity of legal system, phantasm, coherence
    Date: 2015
  7. By: Johannes Horner (Cowles Foundation, Yale University ); Larry Samuelson (Cowles Foundation, Yale University )
    Abstract: We study a discrete-time model of repeated moral hazard without commitment. In every period, a principal finances a project, choosing the scale of the project and a contingent payment plan for an agent, who has the opportunity to appropriate the returns of a successful project unbeknownst the principal. The absence of commitment is reflected both in the solution concept (perfect Bayesian equilibrium) and in the ability of the principal to freely revise the project's scale from one period to the next. We show that removing commitment from the equilibrium concept is relatively innocuous -- if the players are sufficiently patient, there are equilibria with payoffs low enough to effectively endow the players with the requisite commitment, within the confines of perfect Bayesian equilibrium. In contrast, the frictionless choice of scale has a significant effect on the project's dynamics. Starting from the principal's favorite equilibrium, the optimal contract eventually converges to the repetition of the stage-game Nash equilibrium, operating the project at maximum scale and compensating the agent (only) via immediate payments.
    Keywords: Moral hazard, Dynamic moral hazard, Commitment, Principal-agent, Cash flow diversion
    JEL: C72 D82 D86
    Date: 2015–02
  8. By: Mailath, George J. ; Nocke, Volker ; White, Lucy
    Abstract: In repeated normal-form (simultaneous-move) games, simple penal codes (Abreu,1986, 1988) permit an elegant characterization of the set of subgame-perfect outcomes. We show that the logic of simple penal codes fails in repeated extensive-form games. By means of examples, we identify two types of settings in which a subgame-perfect outcome may be supported only by a profile with the property that the continuation play after a deviation is tailored not only to the identity of the deviator, but also to the nature of the deviation.
    Keywords: Simple Penal Code , Subgame Perfect Equilibrium , Repeated Extensive Game , Optimal Punishment
    JEL: C70 C72 C73
    Date: 2015
  9. By: Pierpaolo Battigalli ; Martin Dufwenberg ; Alec Smith
    Abstract: Frustration, anger, and aggression have important consequences for economic and social behavior, concerning for example monopoly pricing, contracting, bargaining, tra¢ c safety, violence, and politics. Drawing on insights from psychology, we develop a formal approach to exploring how frustration and anger, via blame and aggression, shape interaction and outcomes in economic settings. KEYWORDS: frustration, anger, blame, belief-dependent preferences, psychological games JEL codes: C72, D03
    Date: 2015
  10. By: Suzuki, T. (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management )
    Abstract: When individuals generate benefits from their cooperation, allocation<br/>problems may occur regarding how much of the benefit from the<br/>cooperation each individual should take. In many economic situations,<br/>defining the contribution of each individual in a fair way is essential. This<br/>thesis is on cooperative game theory, a mathematical tool that models<br/>and analyses cooperative situations between individuals. Throughout<br/>the monograph, allocation rules that are based on the contributions of<br/>individuals are studied.<br/><br/>The first two parts of this thesis are on the class of transferable utility<br/>games, in which benefits from cooperation can be freely transferred<br/>between agents. In the first part, allocation rules when the cooperation<br/>between agents is restricted by a communication structure are studied.<br/>A chapter of this part gives a new characterization of a known allocation<br/>rule. In the next chapter, allocation rules are investigated for the class of<br/>games in which the underlying communication structure is represented<br/>by a circle. The second part of this thesis introduces a new type of<br/>restriction on cooperation between players, called quasi-building system,<br/>which covers many known structures. The third part of this thesis deals<br/>with situations in which benefits from cooperation are not transferable<br/>between individuals. This part focuses on when an allocation rule based<br/>on contributions of individuals leads to an economically satisfying result.
    Date: 2015
  11. By: Anna Shirokanova (Stifterverband )
    Abstract: This paper deals with the recently revealed paradox that contemporary Muslims demonstrate a stronger Protestant work ethic (PWE) than contemporary Protestants do. I test whether this paradox is supported in a multilevel analysis on internationally comparative WVS data. According to Inglehart’s theory of post-materialist shift, work ethic should be stronger in the developing societies that do not have enough existential security. Following the debate on the Protestant work ethic I test another hypothesis saying that the effects of PWE extend beyond the religious population of Protestant countries. On waves four and five of the World Values Survey, I compare the strength of work ethic between the Muslims and Protestants in multilevel ordinal outcome models. The models built on 26,156 respondents in 56 countries show no significance in work ethic between Muslims and Protestants, all else being equal. Living in a historically Protestant society does not increase work ethic by itself, but being religious in a Protestant society does. In all developed countries, work ethic is likely to decrease. Overall, the evidence of a stronger work ethic among the Muslims is changeable; in some models, Muslims are likely to have a stronger work ethic than Protestants, but in other models Muslims are not significantly different from Protestants. This poses further research questions about the universal features of different religious ethics and on the non-religious factors explaining the progress linked with the Protestant work ethic
    Keywords: work ethic, Islam, Protestantism, religion, ML, WVS
    JEL: Z12
    Date: 2015
  12. By: Ralph-C Bayer (School of Economics, University of Adelaide )
    Abstract: Various experimental studies have shown that the availability of a punishment option can increase the prevalence of cooperative behaviour in repeated social dilemmas. A punishment option should only matter if it is a credible threat. We investigate if the degree of credibility depends on standard strategic equilibrium considerations (i.e. SPNE or NE logic) or stems from a non-strategic motivation such as reciprocity. We find that for punishment to be credible non-strategic motivations are sufficient and that subgame perfection does not further improve credibility.
    Keywords: Cooperation, Punishment, Credible Threats
    JEL: D03 D62
    Date: 2014–05
  13. By: Vanberg, Christoph
    Abstract: Erat and Gneezy (2012) conduct an experiment to test whether people avoid lying in a situation where doing so would lead to a Pareto improvement. They conclude that many people exhibit such a "pure lie aversion." I argue that the experiment does not provide a reliable test for such an aversion, and that the evidence does not support the authors' conclusion. I conduct two new experiments which are explicitly designed to test for a 'pure' aversion to lying, and find no evidence for the existence of such a motivation. I discuss the implications of the findings for moral behavior and rule following more generally.
    Keywords: Lying; Deception; Morality; Ethics; Experiments
    Date: 2015–02–10
  14. By: Tyabji, Nasir
    Abstract: The paper argues that the Indian Managing Agencies that controlled most industrial firms and their associated enterprises were themselves embodiments of pre-industrial forms of capital, accumulated through trading and moneylending. This militated against technological dynamism within the industrial firms because the managing agencies applied a profit maximising calculus across their various business activities, rather than in relationship to any individual firm. The group structure, in fact, facilitated the leakage of surpluses generated in industrial activity into the parallel speculative and money lending interests of the Managing Agents. After independence, the Government’s attempts to reform the industrial sector met resistance from politically influential businessmen who had supported the national anti-colonial movement. The British Government also interceded here. The social engineering that these reforms entailed, embodied in legislation, was thwarted by the combined pressures exerted by affected businessmen, but this should not prevent an appreciation of what the state was attempting.
    Keywords: Managing Agencies, Merchant Capital, Usury Capital, Indian entrepreneurship
    JEL: D22 G38 K23 K42 M14 N25 P12 P16
    Date: 2015
  15. By: Jean-Yves Duclos ; Bouba Housseini
    Abstract: The evaluation of development processes and of public policies often involves comparisons of social states that differ in income distributions, population sizes and life longevity. This may require social evaluation principles to be sensitive to the quality, the quantity and the duration of lives. This paper 1) reviews some of the normative issues at stake, 2) proposes and discusses some specific methods to address them in a generalized utilitarian framework, and 3) briefly illustrates the application of some of these methods to the global distribution of incomes, population sizes and longevity over the last century. Depending on the approach taken, it is found inter alia that global social welfare in 2010 can be deemed to be between 1.8 and 407 times that of 1910, the role given to the quantity of lives being particularly important in that assessment.
    Keywords: Global welfare; Critical-level utilitarianism; Social evaluation; Longevity; Life expectancy; Population size
    JEL: D31 D63 I32 O15 Q56
    Date: 2015

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