nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2016‒06‒09
sixteen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Business Cycles, Growth and Economic Policy: Schumpeter and the Great Depression By Muriel Dal-Pont Legrand; Harald Hagemann
  2. Inequality and the New Deal By Christian A. Belabed
  4. Ronald H. Coase and the Economics of Network Infrastructures By Claude Menard
  5. Rediscovery of the Idea of 'Soviet Society' at the End of 1930 - the Second Half of the 1950s By Maiofis, M. L.; Kukulin, Ilya Vladimirovich
  6. Gamblers and gentlefolk: money, law and status in Trollope's England By Nicola Lacey
  7. Inheritance of Convexity for Partition Restricted Games By Alexandre Skoda
  8. Themes in an institutionalist theory of economic policy By Paolo Ramazzotti
  9. Behavioral Polymorphism in Bayesian Games By Raul V. Fabella
  10. Identification of Biased Beliefs in Games of Incomplete Information Using Experimental Data By Aguirregabiria, Victor; Xie, Erhao
  11. A New Political Perspective: Simulative Democracy By ÖZLEM BECERIK YOLDAS; YUNUS YOLDAS
  12. Mechanism Design with Two Types of Information By Seung Han Yoo
  13. Le patrimoine au XXIe siècle: Piketty face à ses critiques By Guillaume Allegre; Xavier Timbeau
  14. The challenge of fear to Economics By Cedrini, Mario A.; Novarese, Marco
  15. Priming in economics By Alain Cohn; Michel André Maréchal
  16. Researchers and the Wealth of Nations By Cabello, Matias; Rojas, Carolina

  1. By: Muriel Dal-Pont Legrand (GREDEG CNRS; Université Nice Sophia Antipolis); Harald Hagemann (University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart)
    Abstract: Joseph A. Schumpeter’s theory of economic development analyzes how growth and cycle dynamics intertwine. The process of Creative Destruction plays an essential role in that dynamics: embodying a cleaning effect, it has a clear beneficial impact on long-run development. For that reason, and also for some of his famous (and provocative) non-interventionists statements, Schumpeter is generally interpreted as a pure liquidationist. This paper contests this rather simplistic view and shows that Schumpeter not only expressed much more nuanced positions as far as practical economic issues were concerned but also that his views on economic policy were rooted in his earlier contributions before the Great Depression, attesting to a stronger time-consistency of his contributions.
    Keywords: Business cycles, growth, short run, long run, creative destruction, cleansing effect, productive recessions, economic policy, Schumpeter
    JEL: B22 B31
    Date: 2016–05
  2. By: Christian A. Belabed
    Abstract: There is a large body of literature analyzing the onset of the Great Depression or the factors influencing economic recovery in the 1930s, especially the New Deal. The role of income inequality before and during the Great Depression, however, has almost never been discussed thoroughly. This paper attempts to answer two questions. Firstly, was inequality perceived as a problem by the Roosevelt administration? Secondly, did the New Deal incorporate these concerns such that economic policy design did take seriously the problem of inequality? Using official documents such as transcripts of Roosevelt's inaugural speeches, fireside chats and press conferences, this paper finds that top-end inequality was not recognized as a major political topic. Restoring the purchasing power of workers and farmers, however, appears to have been a political goal of the administration. The impact of New Deal policies on top-end income inequality or the wage share, however, can only be considered as modest. Only World War II and the long-term legislation of the New Deal may be considered successful in reducing top income and wealth shares and raising the wage share.
    Keywords: Inequality, income and wealth distribution, new deal, Roosevelt, Great Depression
    JEL: D31 D33 E02 E21 E25 G01 N12 N22 N32 N62
    Date: 2016
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Claude Menard (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: The legitimate emphasis put on the two leading contributions from Ronald Coase, ‘The nature of the Firm’ and ‘The problem of social cost’, has its dark side: it has kept under the bushel the rich empirical investigations that provided the scaffolding of most Coasean analyses. With the possible exception of his often revisited assessment of the Federal Communications Commission (1959) and his economics of the lighthouses (1974), very little attention has been paid to the continuing investment that Coase made in the analysis of network infrastructures. Throughout his long intellectual life, Coase published over 30 notes, papers, books, and extensive reports on what we now identify as network infrastructures, mainly telecommunications and postal services, but also gas, electricity, or ‘public’ transportation. He started doing so very early, in a devastating review of a book on the institutional structure of public utilities (1938a) and continued to do so without major disruptions until his very last contributions. In this chapter, I propose an exploration of this abundant and rich material, with an emphasis on two major lessons: (1) the analyses developed by Coase remain particularly relevant for the modern analysis of network infrastructures; (2) they highlight an approach to regulation and policy a good deal more subtle than is often assumed.
    Keywords: Transaction costs, infrastructures, networks, institutions, meso-institutions
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Maiofis, M. L. (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA)); Kukulin, Ilya Vladimirovich (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA))
    Abstract: The article is focused on difficulties, boundaries and new approaches in the study of the institutional history of the USSR. It demonstrates applicability and usefulness of microhistory and history of ideas and concepts for this work. It is based on a micro-historical study. Analyzing the documents from the personal archival collection of a social activist, pedagogue and military expert Boris Ivanovitch Zhurin (1890-1964), the authors demonstrate that the 1939 turned to be very important in his career. It was just in 1939 when Zhurin changed his previous “modest” profession of engineer-constructor specializing in concrete buildings for a profession of military expert and for the role of social activist and publicist. As a military expert, Zhurin spent the years 1939 and 1940 writing a monograph about interaction of different combat arms, including artillery and reconnaissance aviation, during the advance of Russian troops in June, 1917. He was convinced that this experience would be vital during the next war. As a social activist and publicist, in 1939 Zhurin elaborated a program of mobilization of the so called “parental public” (roditelskaya obshestvennost) for the purposes of supporting Soviet school. Zhurin invented, described and promoted a new social institute which he called “parents’ committees in multiple dwellings,” insisting that this would have been the best instrument to control and improve family education. This second “know-how” was also based on the idea of interaction, as the parents’ committees had to establish close relationship with district executive committees (ispolkom), school administration and school parents’ committees, local Komsomol departments, and house management as well. This program was partly implemented in the 1950s. Zhurin’s program greatly anticipated the new notion of “public” (obschestvennost) and new social politics promoted by N. Khruschev on the XXth Party Congress in 1956. Thorough observation of Zhurin’s archive and publications and reconstruction of the historical context of both 1939 and the “Thaw” years bring the author to the conclusion that Zhurin perceived Soviet society after the Great Terror as being completely atomized, demoralized by low competence of higher command (in army) and state bureaucrats and lacking the channels of knowledge and experience transmission, and strived to invent new models to rebuild and intensify “horizontal” social ties.
    Keywords: Soviet Society, 1930s, 1950s
    Date: 2016–03–10
  6. By: Nicola Lacey
    Abstract: This paper examines the range of very different conceptions of money and its legal and social significance in the novels of Anthony Trollope, considering what they can tell us about the rapidly changing economic, political and social world of mid Victorian England. It concentrates in particular on Orley Farm (1862) - the novel most directly concerned with law among Trollope’s formidable output - and The Way We Live Now (1875) - the novel most directly concerned with the use and abuse of money in the early world of financial capitalism. The paper sets the scene by sketching the main critiques of money in the history of the novel. Drawing on a range of literary examples, it notes that these critiques significantly predate the development of industrial let alone financial capitalism. Probably the deepest source of ambivalence about money in the novel has to do with ‘commodification’. As this concern unfolds in Trollope, it tells us a great deal about changing conceptions of property in a world in which industrial capitalism sat alongside practices of speculative investment geared simply to the multiplication of money. Trollope’s nostalgia for the world of land sits alongside an increasingly sharp critique of the power of money, and these novels illuminate the rapidly changing economic, political and social world of mid Victorian England. They also speak, as it were, volumes on the relative effectiveness of the different regulatory resources which can be brought to bear upon each form of wealth. And they open some fascinating windows on the gendering of both money and law as concepts in the later Victorian imagination.
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2016–02–10
  7. By: Alexandre Skoda (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: A correspondence P associates to every subset A ⊆ N a partition P(A) of A and to every game (N,v), the P-restricted game (N,vP) defined by vP(A) = ∑ (F ∈ P(A)) v(F) for all A ⊆ N. We give necessary and sufficient conditions on P to have inheritance of convexity from (N,v) to (N,vP). The main condition is a cyclic intersecting sequence free condition. As a consequence, we only need to verify inheritance of convexity for unanimity games and for the small class of extremal convex games (N,vS) (for any Ø ≠ S ⊆ N) defined for any A ⊆ N by vS(A) = |A ∩ S | − 1 if |A ∩ S | ≥ 1, and vs(A) = 0 otherwise. In particular when (N,v) corresponds to Myerson's network-restricted game inheritance of convexity can be verified by this way. For the Pmin correspondence (Pmin(A) is built by deleting edges of minimum weight in the subgraph GA of a weighted communication graph G, we show that inheritance of convexity for unanimity games already implies inheritance of convexity. Assuming only inheritance of superadditivity, we also compute the Shapley value of the restricted game (N,vP) for an arbitrary correspondence P.
    Keywords: communication network,cooperative game,restricted game,partitions
    Date: 2016–05
  8. By: Paolo Ramazzotti (University of Macerata)
    Abstract: The paper discusses the ends and scope of economic policy from an evolutionary and institutionalist perspective. I focus on how complexity and di erent types of coordination characterize the economy we live in. I then discuss how public coordination and change can be conceived of. I point out that the means to adequately deal with economic complexity depend on which social priorities prevail and on how the economy is conceptually framed in relation to those priorities. This requires the combined formulation of moral and cognitive value judgments and the non-separability of economic theory from the ends of economic policy.
    Date: 2016–05
  9. By: Raul V. Fabella (School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman; National Academy of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: J. Harsanyi introduced structural polymorphism in game theory, that is, there are many possible agent types such as “low productivity” or high productivity” with corresponding probability but all operating under one behavioral type, strict rationality. In this paper, we introduce behavioral polymorphism into Bayesian games. The multiplicity of behavioral types have become increasingly recognized and studied. Agents ascribe to each other a probability distribution across the possible types. They then choose the appropriate type as response to the possible type of the others which type determines the choice of strategy. We show in a dimorphic game model with the two types being strict rationality (SR) and utilitarian altruist (UA) that there always is a high enough assignment such that cooperation is the dominant strategy for both players in initially social dilemma games. Thus, the strategy set is endogenous in games with behavioral polymorphism. We argue that the assignment is based on some heuristics such as the counter-parties’ membership in some groups.
    Keywords: behavioral polymorphism; Bayesian games; cooperation; dominant strategy
    JEL: C70 C72
    Date: 2016–05
  10. By: Aguirregabiria, Victor; Xie, Erhao
    Abstract: This paper studies the identification of players'; preferences and beliefs in empirical applications of discrete choice games using experimental data. The experiment comprises a set of games with similar features (e.g., two-player coordination games) where each game has different values for the players'; monetary payoffs. Each game can be interpreted as an experimental treatment group. The researcher assigns randomly subjects to play these games and observes the outcome of the game as described by the vector of players' actions. Data from this experiment can be described in terms of the empirical distribution of players' actions conditional on the treatment group. The researcher is interested in the nonparametric identification of players' preferences (utility function of money) and players' beliefs about the expected behavior of other players, without imposing restrictions such as unbiased or rational beliefs or a particular functional form for the utility of money. We show that the hypothesis of unbiased/rational beliefs is testable and propose a test of this null hypothesis. We apply our method to two sets of experiments conducted by Goeree and Holt (2001) and Heinemann, Nagel and Ockenfels (2009). Our empirical results suggest that in the matching pennies game, a player is able to correctly predict other player's behavior. In the public good coordination game, our test can reject the null hypothesis of unbiased beliefs when the payoff of the non-cooperative action is relatively low.
    Keywords: Testing biased beliefs; Multiple equilibria; Strategic uncertainty; Coordination game.
    JEL: C57 C72
    Date: 2016–05
  11. By: ÖZLEM BECERIK YOLDAS (Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University); YUNUS YOLDAS (Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University)
    Abstract: When the idea of democracy first appeared and applied in the ancient Greece, many political thinkers have begun to discuss critically about its nature and justification. It seemed as a successful form of government in the 20th century, but due to globalization, modern societies have undergone a profound change and transformation and democracy experienced many setbacks in the 21st century. Even in well-established democracies political perception and social values changed. Global financial and political crisis that democracy faced, led to a weakness of the ideals of democracy and political alienation. As a result, today, theoretical discussions such as democracy without democracy, democracy without politics or post-democracy emerge to point the sign of the malaise of democracy. Against this background, this paper tries to illuminate, building on the work of Ingolfur Blühdorn’s ‘Simulative Democracy’ the future of democracy and the triggers for the crisis of democracy.
    Keywords: New Politics, Ingolfur Blühdorn, Simulative Democracy, Future of Democracy
  12. By: Seung Han Yoo (Department of Economics, Korea University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
    Abstract: In many real world situations, a principal faces an agent who has two different types of information: one associated with contractible actions and the other not. We first establish an impossibility result such that the principal cannot implement a nonlinear mechanism given the information constraint. The main result shows that the principal can still obtain the second-best payoff with a direct mechanism by characterizing incentives of a supervisor. The nature of incompleteness suggests a foundation of incomplete contract, the agent’s information structure, and thus demands a different solution, an informational hierarchical structure with the supervisor. This result has new implications for the theory of the firm to explain the origin of a firm’s decentralized system, as opposed to what the standard mechanism theory offers.
    Keywords: Two types of information, Incomplete contract, Information structure
    JEL: C72
    Date: 2016
  13. By: Guillaume Allegre (OFCE); Xavier Timbeau (OFCE)
    Abstract: Le succès mondial du livre de Thomas Piketty a donné lieu à une floraison de commentaires, laudateurs ou plus critiques. La recension des principaux arguments invite à considérer le patrimoine et non le capital comme le véritable objet de cet ouvrage.
    Keywords: Commentaires sur la thèse de Thomas Piketty; Patrimoine et héritage
    Date: 2015–09
  14. By: Cedrini, Mario A.; Novarese, Marco
    Abstract: Until the advent of Behavioral and Neuroeconomics, Economics has generally tended to undervalue, on average, the importance of fear. Fear has traditionally been regarded as pertaining to an alternative domain with respect to rationality: it has thus been considered as triggering mechanism of anomalous, even irrational behavior. Conversely, the article speculates on the complexity of the concept of fear and of the social effects it is thought to produce. While discussing the eventual desirability of a freed-from-fear world and Western obsession with risk management and safety from the economic problem and other pressures, the paper provides a general introduction to the relevance of the relatively unexplored issue of fear to economics as discipline as well as to applied economics in public policy.
    Date: 2016–04
  15. By: Alain Cohn; Michel André Maréchal
    Abstract: Conceptual priming has become an increasingly popular tool in economics. Here, we review the literature that uses priming in incentivized experiments to study economic questions. We mainly focus on the role of social identity, culture, and norms in shaping preferences and behavior. We also discuss recently raised objections to priming research and conclude with promising avenues for future research.
    Keywords: Priming, experiment, identity, endogenous preferences
    JEL: C90 D03
    Date: 2016–04
  16. By: Cabello, Matias; Rojas, Carolina
    Abstract: Despite the repeated claim by eminent students of economic growth that scientists and inventors have contributed to economic development, no study has yet quantified this effect using the rich historical record of great minds. Introducing a novel database of per capita researchers since the antiquity, we show that the history of research activity (corrected for geographical biases) predicts economic growth over the long run better than any other established growth predictor, and that this predictive power, while subject to swings, has been consistently increasing through time over the long run. These conclusions are drawn after presenting a number of facts suggesting that forces exogenous to income and population growth have determined how intensively countries have engaged in research. In contrast to a large body of literature, we find that property rights and schooling have been of minor importance for research and for economic growth through modern history.Our estimated dynamic impact of researcher densities on economic growth are very consistent through a variety of samples and regressions, based either on cross-sectional or on time-series variance. Permanently doubling the number of researchers per capita had barely an impact in 1800, but today its impact might be an increase of annualized economic growth rates of 1% in a 20-years span.
    Keywords: Economic growth, long run, science, research, education, institutions.
    JEL: N1 N10 O11 O30 O43 O47
    Date: 2016–05–19

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