nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2016‒02‒29
twenty-two papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. The tale of two great crises By Fratianni, Michele; Giri, Federico
  2. How accounting can reformulate the debate on the Natural Capital and help to implement its ecological conceptualisation? By Alexandre Rambaud
  3. Frustration and Anger in Games: A First Empirical Test of the Theory By Persson, Emil
  4. The origins, development, and fate of Clower's stock-flow general equilibrium program By Plassard, Romain
  5. Do people seek to maximize their subjective well-being? By Marc Fleurbaey; Hannes Schwandt
  6. Bread and bullets By Akerlof, George A.; Snower, Dennis J.
  7. "Reassemble the Basis of Marxian Economics" (in Japanese) By Michiaki Obata
  8. RBC Methodology and the Development of Aggregate Economic Theory By Prescott, Edward C.
  9. Subjective Truths By Baillon, A.
  10. A fixed point theorem for measurable-selection-valued correspondences arising in game theory By Frank Page
  11. GThou shalt not steal (from hard-working people)An experiment on respect for property claims By Marco Faillo; Matteo Rizzolli; Stephan Tontrup
  12. De la gouvernance By Yvon Pesqueux
  13. Den ”almene og sammenlignende statskundskab”: Fra kerne over residual til hullet i en vaniljekrans? By Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter
  14. Are Individuals Luck Egalitarians?: An Experiment on the Influence of Brute and Option Luck on Social Preferences By Tinghög, Gustav; Andersson, David
  15. La Escuela de Friburgo y los economistas españoles (1939-1964) By Mauel Martín Rodríguez
  16. Virtue as Competence in the Entrepreneurial Society By Karlson, Nils; Fergin, Elina
  17. Institutions, théories du changement institutionnel et déterminant de la qualité des institutions: les enseignements de la littérature économique By Joseph Keneck Massil
  18. Two-stage contests with effort-dependent rewards By Sela, Aner
  19. An Egalitarian Value for Cooperative Games with Incomplete Information By Salamanca Lugo, Andrés
  20. The Anthropology of Corruption By Davide Torsello; Bertrand Venard
  21. Redeeming Simmel's money By Nigel Dodd
  22. Bad Practices in deutschen Unternehmen: Mechanismen im Umgang mit fragwürdiger Moral By Martin, Albert; Hollborn, Mona; Jochims, Thorsten; Rogée, André; Saggau, Charlott; Wüst, Sebastian

  1. By: Fratianni, Michele; Giri, Federico
    Abstract: The great depression of 1929 and the great financial crisis of 2008 have been the two big events of the last 75 years. Not only have they produced serious economic consequences but they also changed our view of economics and policymaking. The aim of this work is to compare these two great crises and highlight similarities as well as differences. Monetary policy, the exchange rate system and the role of the banks are our fields of investigation. Our findings are that two big events have more similarities than dissimilarities.
    Keywords: Great Depression,Great Financial Crisis,gold standard,Eurozone,money multiplier,shadow banking
    JEL: E5 E31 E42 G21
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Alexandre Rambaud (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - Université Paris IX - Paris Dauphine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: In this presentation, we firstly give a critical analysis of Natural Capital (NC), in order to clarify the differences between its economic and ecological approaches. Secondly, we connect this debate with the concept of capital in accounting. We argue that accounting theory provides a relevant framework to structure the debate on NC and to implement its ecological conceptualisation. Thus, in the first part, we question the notion of “capital” itself and assert that “capital” is not prima facie money or a mean of production but is a type of power (Nitzan & Bichler, 2009). Indeed, this concept is consubstantial of Modernity, characterized by the Subject/Object dichotomy (Latour, 2004), and of capitalism – a particular modality of the Modern cosmology –, defined as a societal institution based on the unlimited expansion of the rational mastery of Subjects over Objects (Castoriadis, 1998): Capital is the operationalization of this rational mastery. Therefore, by definition, NC is not another type of capital: NC is the natural part of Capital, i.e. the recognition that the Capital partially stems from environmental Objects and so that, these Objects, in the same time, are means under the control of Subjects and contribute to the growth of the power and welfare of these last ones. Now, in economics, Capital has two fundamental forms that we will detail: the fundist one and the materialist one (Hicks, 1974). Their application to NC can clarify the concepts of weak and strong sustainability: in particular, strong sustainability is a specific materialist conceptualisation of NC and so remains based on a capitalist approach. In these conditions, the utilization of the notion of NC by ecologists gives raise to confusion, because it does not rely on capitalism. Ecological NC (ENC) is not “welfare-based” but “stuff-based” (Norton, 2005), i.e. ENC is really another type of capital, whose role is to focus on the preservation of environmental entities. So we will explain what a capital is in this context. In the second part, we firstly claim that double-entry bookkeeping accounting is relevant to reformulate the different viewpoints about NC. Indeed, for capitalism, firms are automated tools which manage some assets in order to develop the Capital of shareholders, the “real” Subjects. Thus, at the corporate level, the economic notion of Capital is not a liability, whose specific conservation implies accountability issues, but is an asset. Therefore the capitalist NC is also an asset, a mere mean. Now, for traditional accounting, capital is a liability. The standard accounting capital is money: its maintenance is the cornerstone of accounting and led to the creation of powerful instruments, like the planned depreciation. So we argue that ENC must also be seen as a liability: therefore, at the corporate level, the difference between a capitalist and an ecological NC relies on the difference between assets and liabilities. In these conditions, we finally suggest that the development of an ecological conceptualisation of NC naturally rests on the extension of the traditional accounting maintenance instruments to this new capital (cf. (Rambaud & Richard, 2013). References Castoriadis, C. (1998). The Imaginary Institution of Society. (K. Blamey, Trans.) (p. 426). MIT Press. Hicks, J. R. (1974). Capital Controversies: Ancient and Modern. American Economic Review, 64(2), 307–316. Latour, B. (2004). Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy (p. 307). Harvard University Press. Nitzan, J., & Bichler, S. (2009). Capital as Power. A Study of Order and Creorder (p. 463). Routledge. Norton, B. G. (2005). Sustainability (p. 607). The University of Chicago Press. Rambaud, A., & Richard, J. (2013). The Triple Depreciation Line ( TDL ) against the Triple Bottom Line ( TBL ): Towards a genuine integrated reporting (p. 40).
    Keywords: Balance sheet,Capitalism,Environmental accounting,Natural capital,Asset,Capital,Strong sustainability,Weak sustainability
    Date: 2015–07–08
  3. By: Persson, Emil (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: Anger can be a strong behavioral force, with important consequences for human interaction. For example, angry individuals may become hostile in their dealings with others, and this has strategic consequences. Battigalli, Dufwenberg, and Smith (2015; BDS) develop a formal framework where frustration and anger affect interaction and shape economic outcomes. This paper designs an experiment testing the predictions based on central concepts of their theory. The focus is on situations where other-responsibility is weak or nonexistent, and in this specific context I find only limited support for the theory: While unfulfilled expectations about material payoffs seem to generate negative emotions in subjects, which is in line with BDS' conceptualization of frustration, behavior is generally not affected by these emotions to the extent predicted by the theory.
    Keywords: Emotion; Anger; Blame; Psychological games; Experiment
    JEL: C72 C91 D03
    Date: 2016–02
  4. By: Plassard, Romain
    Abstract: Before becoming the hallmark of macroeconomics à la Wynne Godley, the ‘stock-flow’ analysis was already developed in microeconomics and general equilibrium theory. Basically, the goal was to study the formation of economic plans and the determination of market prices when individuals were supposed to consume, produce, and hold commodities. It is acknowledged that Robert W. Clower was a central figure in this theoretical context. Yet, for both his contemporaries and for historians, his contributions remained essentially technical. No attention was paid to the theoretical project underlying the statics and dynamics analyses of his ‘stock-flow’ price theory. My paper aims to fill this gap. In light of his doctoral dissertation, I show that the elaboration of ‘stock-flow’ market models was part of a project aiming at offering sound microfoundations to a Keynesian business cycle model. I analyze the origins of this microfoundation program, trace its development, and discuss its fate.
    Keywords: microfoundations of macroeconomics, trade cycle, stock-flow analysis, Bushaw and Clower.
    JEL: B21 B22 D40 E12 E3 E32
    Date: 2015–10
  5. By: Marc Fleurbaey; Hannes Schwandt
    Abstract: In a new survey we ask respondents, after a standard Subjective Well-Being (SWB) question, if they can think of changes in their lives that would improve their SWB score. If the SWB score is just one argument among others in the respondents’ goals in life, they should easily find ways to improve it, at the expense of other dimensions they care about. Our results suggest that close to 90% of the respondents actually seek to maximize their SWB. The life satisfaction question appears the best contender as the “maximand” in the contest, before the ladder-of-life question and felt happiness. Among the other goals that people pursue and for which they are willing to sacrifice some of their SWB, the prominent appear to be about their relatives and about their future self.
    Keywords: subjective well-being; life satisfaction; happiness; life goals; utility
    JEL: D0 D60
    Date: 2015–11
  6. By: Akerlof, George A.; Snower, Dennis J.
    Abstract: Standard economics omits the role of narratives (the stories that people tell themselves and others) when they make all kinds of decisions. Narratives play a role in understanding the environment; focusing attention; predicting events; motivating action; assigning social roles and identities; defining power relations; and establishing and conveying social norms. This paper describes the role narratives play in decision making, as it also juxtaposes this description against the backdrop of the Bolshevik-spawned narrative that played a critical role in the history of Russia and the Soviet Union in the 20th Century.
    Keywords: narrative,motivation,attention,prediction,identity,social assignment
    JEL: A12 A13 A14 D03 D04 D20 D23 D30 D62 D71 D72 D74 E02
    Date: 2016
  7. By: Michiaki Obata (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to specify the feature of the basic theory of Marxian economics and to show clearly the difference with the microeconomics and macroeconomics. Minimum agreements between Marxian are I. The market where money exist, II. the objective theory of value, III. the theory of surplus and IV. the labor market in which unemployed laborer exists. Item II and item III, which are basically common between Marxian and the classic school of economics represented by David Ricardo, distinguishes them from micro and macroeconomics. Both item I and item IV, which stem from the idea of commodity value, show the difference between Marxian and the classical school.
  8. By: Prescott, Edward C. (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)
    Abstract: This essay reviews the development of neoclassical growth theory, a unified theory of aggregate economic phenomena that was first used to study business cycles and aggregate labor supply. Subsequently, the theory has been used to understand asset pricing, growth miracles and disasters, monetary economics, capital accounts, aggregate public finance, economic development, and foreign direct investment. {{p}} The focus of this essay is on real business cycle (RBC) methodology. Those who employ the discipline behind the methodology to address various quantitative questions come up with essentially the same answer—evidence that the theory has a life of its own, directing researchers to essentially the same conclusions when they apply its discipline. Deviations from the theory sometimes arise and remain open for a considerable period before they are resolved by better measurement and extensions of the theory. Elements of the discipline include selecting a model economy or sometimes a set of model economies. The model used to address a specific question or issue must have a consistent set of national accounts with all the accounting identities holding. In addition, the model assumptions must be consistent across applications and be consistent with micro as well as aggregate observations. Reality is complex, and any model economy used is necessarily an abstraction and therefore false. This does not mean, however, that model economies are not useful in drawing scientific inference. {{p}} The vast number of contributions made by many researchers who have used this methodology precludes reviewing them all in this essay. Instead, the contributions reviewed here are ones that illustrate methodological points or extend the applicability of neoclassical growth theory. Of particular interest will be important developments subsequent to the Cooley (1995) volume, Frontiers of Business Cycle Research. The interaction between theory and measurement is emphasized because this is the way in which hard quantitative sciences progress.
    Keywords: Neoclassical growth theory; Aggregate economic theory; RBC methodology; Aggregation; Business cycle fluctuations; Development; Aggregate financial economics; Prosperities; Depressions
    JEL: B40 C10 E00 E13 E32 E60
    Date: 2016–02–08
  9. By: Baillon, A.
    Abstract: __Abstract__ On the one hand, economists heavily rely on hard numbers: GDP, growth rate, and exchange rates. On the other hand, their explanations often rely on soft factors: executive confidence in the economy, consumer sentiment, and investor expectations. The hard numbers are objective, but the soft factors are subjective and depend on each individual. Economists increasingly recognize the need to study subjective factors. The first part of the lecture illustrates the key role of subjective truths in modern economics. For instance, measures of subjective well-being are now being proposed to replace or at least complement GDP. Economic policies often rely on subjective forecasting by experts. The second part of the lecture will show that even though they are subjective, the soft factors can still be studied objectively. We will see how to incentivize people to reveal their expectations about future events but also their confidence in their expectations. Finally, I will show how to make people reveal truths that are completely unverifiable.
    Keywords: expectations, subjective well-being, confidence, ambiguity, uncertainty, measurement, prediction markets
    JEL: C44 C88 D03 D7 D81 D84 J17 M31
    Date: 2015–05–22
  10. By: Frank Page
    Abstract: We establish a new fixed point result for measurable-selection-valued correspondences with nonconvex and possibly disconnected values arising from the composition of Caratheodory functions with an upper Caratheodory correspondence. We show that, in general, for any composition of Caratheodory functions and an upper Caratheodory correspondence, if the upper semicontinuous part of the underlying upper Caratheodory correspondence contains an upper semicontinuous sub-correspondence taking contractible values, then the induced measurable-selection-valued correspondence has fixed points. An excellent example of such a composition, from game theory, is provided by the Nash payoff correspondence of the parameterized collection of one-shot games underlying a discounted stochastic game. The Nash payoff correspondence is gotten by composing players’ parameterized collection of state-contingent payoff functions with the upper Caratheodory Nash equilibrium correspondence (i.e., the Nash correspondence). As an application, we use our fixed point result to establish existence of a stationary Markov equilibria in discounted stochastic games with uncountable state spaces and compact metric action spaces.
    Keywords: approximate Caratheodory selections; fixed points of nonconvex valued correspondences; contractible-valued sub-correspondences; weak star convergence; stationary Markov equilibria; discounted stochastic games.
    JEL: C7
    Date: 2015–09
  11. By: Marco Faillo (University of Trento); Matteo Rizzolli (LUMSA University); Stephan Tontrup (New York University)
    Abstract: Abstract The institution of property is void without legal and social enforcement against theft. To address wasteful competition over resources, societies have long developed strategies that encompass -inter alia- behavioral traits, social norms and legal institutions to promote the respect and enforcement of property rights. On the other hand, a growing body of biological and ethological evidence suggests that several other animal species establish and respect some forms of property even in the absence of institutions. Would human beings respect others' property in the absence of institutions? Do people posses some innate sense of property, or do they respect property only because of legal and social enforcement? In this study, we explore this issue with a lab experiment that resembles a famous thought experiment proposed by Plato. As Plato sought to understand how one ought to behave when he or sheis completely shielded by the consequences of his actions,we study whether people respect property once full anonymity is granted. In this experiment, we implement a Free-Form Dictator game where participants can both give and take up to five scratchcards from a passive counterpart that they have either previously bought outside the lab with their own money (legal treatments) or gained inside the lab via an effort task (effortful treatments). In conclusion to the experiment, evidence is provided of a (weak) sense of property. We also provide evidence that property in the lab is better established through an effort tasks than through the use of subject's own real property brought from outside the lab.
    Keywords: property rights, dictator game, bully game, taking, stealing, anonymity, effort, scratchcards
    JEL: C91 D23 K11 P14 P26
    Date: 2016–01
  12. By: Yvon Pesqueux (LIRSA - Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Recherche en Sciences de l'Action - Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers [CNAM])
    Abstract: Ce texte propose les contours d’une renouvellement de la conception de l’action organisée, conception qui s’est développée à partir des années 90 où le marché est considéré comme « cité juste », conception qui fonde les contours de la gouvernance aujourd’hui, aussi bien dans les institutions privées que publiques et c’est aussi ce qui fonde la référence à la privatisation. Ce débat est pour partie achevé (du moins pour ce qui concerne la Corporate Governance). Par contre, la notion connaît depuis un usage extensif dont il sera aussi question dans ce texte. Difficile de parler de gouvernance sans évoquer ses liens étroits avec la notion de régulation, la gouvernance étant l’expression d’un régime de gouvernance.
    Keywords: gouvernance, théorie des organisations
    Date: 2015–12–22
  13. By: Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter
    Abstract: The article is a contribution to the 50th jubilee anniversary "festschrift" of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen. It surveys the development of the field of political theory/comparative politics (incl. political economy) in the period 1965-2015.
    Keywords: history of thought; political science; comparative politics; political economy
    JEL: B0 B2 B3 B5 H1 H4 H5
    Date: 2015
  14. By: Tinghög, Gustav (Division of Economics, Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University); Andersson, David (Division of Economics, Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University)
    Abstract: According to luck egalitarianism, inequalities should be deemed fair as long as they follow from individuals’ deliberate and fully informed choices, i.e. option luck – while inequalities should be deemed unfair if they follow from choices over which the individual has no control, i.e. brute luck. This study investigates if individuals’ fairness preferences correspond with the luck egalitarian fairness position. More specifically, in a laboratory experiment we test how individuals choose to redistribute gains and losses that stem from option luck compared to brute luck. A two-stage experimental design with real incentives was employed. In total, 226 subjects were randomly assigned to either the brute luck or option luck treatment. Treatments were identical except for how monetary compensation for participation in the experiment was settled in stage one. In the option luck treatment, subjects were given the option to chose between a safe option (50 SEK) and a risky option (a 50/50 gamble between 0 SEK and 150 SEK). In the brute luck treatment no such choice was given, instead all subjects were compensated based on outcome of the risky option. In the second stage, subjects were asked to distribute additional endowments (100 SEK) in an anonymous dictator game using the strategy method, i.e. making decisions contingent on the recipient losing or wining in the gamble. Individuals change their action associated with re-allocation depending on the underlying conception of luck. Subjects in the brute luck treatment equalized outcomes to larger extent (p=0.0069). Thus, subjects redistributed a larger amount to unlucky losers and a smaller amount to lucky winners compared to equivalent choices made in the option luck treatment. We find strong support for people having a fairness preference not just for outcomes, but also for how those outcomes are reached. Our findings are potentially important for understanding the role citizens assign individual responsibility for life outcomes, i.e. health and wealth.
    Keywords: fairness; luck egalitarianism; brute luck; option luck; dictator game; laboratory experiment
    JEL: D03
    Date: 2016–02–19
  15. By: Mauel Martín Rodríguez
    Abstract: Al finalizar la guerra civil española, el nuevo Estado buscaba un nuevo orden económico. Aunque hubo intentos de adoptar un modelo propio, pronto se pusieron los ojos en las distintas corrientes vigentes entonces en Europa. Una de ellas era la Escuela de Friburgo, liderada por Eucken, que en principio podía resultar muy atractiva para el régimen instaurado en España. Defendía el mercado, preconizaba un Estado fuerte para preservar el orden de la competencia y redistribuir la renta, estaba en contra de los monopolios y buscaba en el pasado los valores morales y espirituales que se habían perdido. Junto a ello, una serie de circunstancias favorables hicieron posible su recepción intelectual en España e incluso que sus ideas llegaran a aplicarse efímeramente en el Plan de Estabilización de 1959
    Keywords: Escuela Friburgo, economistas españoles
    Date: 2016–02
  16. By: Karlson, Nils (The Ratio institute); Fergin, Elina (The Ratio institute)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the relationship between competence and virtue. We argue that virtues <p> should be regarded as a kind of competencies, which are essential in an entrepreneurial <p> society, both for individual development and for the sustainability of such a society. Such <p> competencies, or virtues, are essential not only for entrepreneurial success, but they may also <p> be regarded as the informal norms, the rules of fair conduct, necessary to uphold an open <p> market system. Moreover, to a certain degree virtues are learnt through the practice of <p> entrepreneurship. Due to their importance, though, this may not be enough. Formal education <p> should be complemented with situated learning, reflection and dialogue on moral and ethical <p> issues, particularly in the context of management and entrepreneurial praxis.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship; competence; skills; business ethics; education
    JEL: D01 I25 I29 L26 M53
    Date: 2014–12–31
  17. By: Joseph Keneck Massil
    Abstract: Given the lack of universally accepted definition of the word ‘institution’, studying the institutional change as well as the determinants of institutional quality remains a difficult and even perilous exercise. Therefore, this article aims to achieve a threefold objective. First, it proposes a definition of the term ‘institution’. Second, it reviews the extensive literature on the theories of institutional change. Third, it highlights the existent empirical literature on the determinants of institutional quality.
    Keywords: Institutions, Institutional change theory, Determinants of institutional quality.
    JEL: D02 D72 P48
    Date: 2016
  18. By: Sela, Aner
    Abstract: We study two-stage all-pay contests where there is synergy between the stages. The reward for each contestant is fixed in the first stage while it is effort-dependent in the second one. We assume that a player's effort in the first stage either increases (positive synergy) or decreases (negative synergy) his reward in the second stage. The subgame perfect equilibrium of this contest is analyzed with either positive or negative synergy. We show, in particular, that whether the contestants are symmetric or asymmetric their expected payoffs may be higher under negative synergy than under positive synergy. Consequently, they prefer smaller rewards (negative synergy) over higher ones (positive synergy).
    Keywords: effort-dependent rewards; two-stage all-pay contests
    JEL: C70 D44 L12 O32
    Date: 2016–02
  19. By: Salamanca Lugo, Andrés
    Abstract: A bargaining solution concept generalizing the Harsanyi (1963) NTU value is defined for cooperative games with incomplete information. When compared with Myerson's (1984a) bargaining solution, our solution concept differs from the former in that we require coalitional agreements to be equitable when players make interpersonal utility comparisons in terms of some virtual utility scales. When there are only two players, the two solutions are easily seen to coincide (whenever utility weights are strictly positive), however they may differ for general n-person games. By using the concept of virtual utility, our bargaining solution reflects the fact that players negotiate at the interim stage.
    Keywords: Cooperative games, incomplete information, virtual utility.
    JEL: C71 C78 D82
  20. By: Davide Torsello (Central European University (Budapest)); Bertrand Venard (Audencia Recherche - Audencia)
    Abstract: The social importance of corruption and its complex nature have led management scholars to study the phenomenon. However, they have largely ignored the research conducted by anthropologists on the matter. The aim of this article is to provide a critical review of the anthropological literature on corruption in relation to the management science research. Anthropology offers valuable insights into the understanding of the study of corruption. The field provides new perspectives particularly in relation to the definition of the concept, the morality of corruption, the processual approach, the methods of inquiry, and the holistic perspective. Management research can gain important insights from the results of ethnographic investigations that support the idea that the great diversity in the practices of corruption worldwide is imbued with the particular cultural and social implications of this phenomenon.
    Keywords: Corruption, Bribery, Deviant/counterproductive behavior, Business and government/political economy, Ethics, Emerging markets
    Date: 2015–12
  21. By: Nigel Dodd
    JEL: F3 G3
    Date: 2015
  22. By: Martin, Albert; Hollborn, Mona; Jochims, Thorsten; Rogée, André; Saggau, Charlott; Wüst, Sebastian
    Abstract: Der vorliegende Beitrag berichtet über fragwürdiges Unternehmensverhalten. Wir gehen auf Fälle ein, die einiges Aufsehen erregt haben. Ziel unserer Darlegungen ist es, einen Beitrag zur Erklärung der "Bad Practices" zu leisten, die hierbei zur Anwendung kamen. Primär geht es uns um die Mechanismen, die unmoralisches Verhalten von und in Organisationen hervorbringen. Dahinter steht die Vorstellung, dass es eine Reihe von typischen Verhaltensmustern gibt, deren Analyse ein hohes theoretisches Potential birgt. Im Ergebnis konnten wir eine Reihe von Mechanismen finden, die sich drei Grundmustern im Umgang mit der Moral zuordnen lassen: der Moralumgehung, der Moralbesetzung und der Moral-Ignoranz.
    Date: 2015

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