nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2017‒07‒02
twelve papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. A Refinement to the Typology of “Goods” By Howden, David
  2. Dynamical selection of Nash equilibria using Experience Weighted Attraction Learning: emergence of heterogeneous mixed equilibria By Robin Nicole; Peter Sollich
  3. Finance Behind the Veil of Money, A Rejoinder To Dr. Braun By Howden, David
  4. The Integration of Economic History into Economics By Robert A. Margo
  5. The Myopic Stable Set for Social Environments By Thomas Demuynck; Jean-Jacques Herings; Riccardo D. Saulle; Christian Seel
  6. She’s leaving home: a large sample investigation of the empty nest syndrome By Alan Piper; Ian Jackson
  7. Functional “reversal” and dimensional “decoupling” of “finance” and “the real economy”: a reflection on the “Kaleckian” and “Minskian” limits to over-financialization. By Paolo Piacentini
  8. Improvement of the Law Enforcement of the New Edition of the General Part of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation: General Principles in Theory and Jurisprudence By Dozhdev, Dmitry
  9. Six Dimensions of Concentration in Economics: Scientometric Evidence from a Large-Scale Data Set By Florentin GLOETZL; Ernest AIGNER
  10. Mises and Montaigne: A Comment By Bagus, Philipp; Howden, David; Gabriel, Amadeus; Carrasco Bañuelos, Eva María
  11. Elementi di pensiero economico nello Stato commerciale chiuso di J. G. Fichte By Stefano Spalletti
  12. Finance Behind the Veil of Money: Response to Dr. Braun’s Comment By Howden, David

  1. By: Howden, David
    Abstract: One of Carl Menger’s greatest contributions was to outline the nature of the problem under examination in economic science. Although it would take a further sixty years for Lionel Robbins to give a proper definition of the scope of economics as “the science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means that have alternative uses” (Robbins 1935: 16), it was Menger’s original groundwork in defining the characteristics that define an economic “good” that made possible these subsequent developments. The four-fold typology of goods provided here allows for one additional benefit. While it expands the scope of mutually exclusive goods, at the same time it must be apparent that the value of each is ultimately determined according to the standard market force of consumer preferences and values combined with the related concept of supply. When coupled with a novel method to look at the causal chain of how value is transmitted to various goods from its origin (at the value of consumers’ goods) one can gain insights into the scope of factors affecting the prices of goods beyond those apparent by way of the more standard consumers’ good/producers’ good dichotomy.
    Keywords: consumer goods, producer goods, financial assets, money
    JEL: A1 A10
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Robin Nicole; Peter Sollich
    Abstract: We study the distribution of strategies in a large game that models how agents choose among different double auction markets. We classify the possible mean field Nash equilibria, which include potentially segregated states where an agent population can split into subpopulations adopting different strategies. As the game is aggregative, the actual equilibrium strategy distributions remain undetermined, however. We therefore compare with the results of Experience-Weighted Attraction (EWA) learning, which at long times leads to Nash equilibria in the appropriate limits of large intensity of choice, low noise (long agent memory) and perfect imputation of missing scores (fictitious play). The learning dynamics breaks the indeterminacy of the Nash equilibria. Non-trivially, depending on how the relevant limits are taken, more than one type of equilibrium can be selected. These include the standard homogeneous mixed and heterogeneous pure states, but also \emph{heterogeneous mixed} states where different agents play different strategies that are not all pure. The analysis of the EWA learning involves Fokker-Planck modeling combined with large deviation methods. The theoretical results are confirmed by multi-agent simulations.
    Date: 2017–06
  3. By: Howden, David
    Abstract: In Finance Behind the Veil of Money, Eduard Braun (2014: 30-36) takes the minority view that opportunity costs are not only unnecessary but even unhelpful to understanding choice. In doing so he follows George Reisman (1996: 460) who also views the “doctrine of opportunity cost” as not only unnecessary to ascertain how one makes better decisions, but that its “sole contribution is obfuscation, not perception.” Both Braun and Reisman believe that it is unnecessary to include foregone alternatives in the calculus of cost since it implies that “one must suffer by virtue of possessing the very qualities that create one’s success [i.e., better opportunities]” (Reisman 1996: 460). Such a view errs by overlooking the difference between the actor’s ex-ante expectations of an action with the ex-post results. More importantly, it mistakes what role costs in general, and opportunity costs by extension, serve in economic theory.
    Keywords: opportunity cost
    JEL: A1 A11 A2 A22
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Robert A. Margo
    Abstract: In the United States today the academic field of economic history is much closer to economics than it is to history in terms of professional behavior, a stylized fact that I call the “integration of economic history into economics”. I document this using two types of evidence – use of econometric language in articles appearing in academic journals of economic history and economics; and publication histories of successive cohorts of PhDs in the first decade since receiving the doctorate. Over time, economic history became more like economics in its use of econometrics and in the likelihood of scholars publishing in economics, as opposed to economic history journals. But the pace of change was slower in economic history than in labor economics, another sub-field of economics that underwent profound intellectual change in the 1950s and 1960s, and there was also a structural break evident for post-2000 PhD cohorts. To account for these features of the data, I sketch a simple, “overlapping generations” model of the academic labor market in which junior scholars have to convince senior scholars of the merits of their work in order to gain tenure. I argue that the early cliometricians – most notably, Robert Fogel and Douglass North – conceived of a scholarly “identity” for economic history that kept the field distinct from economics proper in various ways, until after 2000 when their influence had waned.
    JEL: A14 N01
    Date: 2017–06
  5. By: Thomas Demuynck (Ecares, Université Libre de Bruxelles); Jean-Jacques Herings (Department of Economics, Maastricht University); Riccardo D. Saulle (Department of Economics, Maastricht University); Christian Seel (Department of Economics, Maastricht University)
    Abstract: We introduce a new solution concept for models of coalition formation, called the myopic stable set. The myopic stable set is defined for a very general class of social environments and allows for an infinite state space. We show that the myopic stable set exists and is non-empty. Under minor continuity conditions, we also demonstrate uniqueness. Furthermore, the myopic stable set is a superset of the core and of the set of pure strategy Nash equilibria in noncooperative games. Additionally, the myopic stable set generalizes and unifies various results from more specific environments. In particular, the myopic stable set coincides with the coalition structure core in coalition function form games if the coalition structure core is non-empty; with the set of stable matchings in the standard one-to-one matching model; with the set of pairwise stable networks and closed cycles in models of network formation; and with the set of pure strategy Nash equilibria in finite supermodular games, finite potential games, and aggregative games. We illustrate the versatility of our concept by characterizing the myopic stable set in a model of Bertrand competition with asymmetric costs, for which the literature so far has not been able to fully characterize the set of all (mixed) Nash equilibria.
    Keywords: Social Environments, Group Formation, Stability, Nash Equilibrium
    JEL: C70 C71
    Date: 2017–06
  6. By: Alan Piper (Europa-Universität Flensburg, International Institute of Management); Ian Jackson (School of Business, Leadership and Economics, Staffordshire University)
    Abstract: This study considers life satisfaction in relation to the empty nest syndrome, which is a situation where there are feelings of loss or loneliness for mothers and/or fathers following the departure of the last child from the parental home. In particular, the investigation considers the significance of Identity Economics when applied to parents experiencing a reduction in well-being following an extended period of child-rearing. The origins of the empty nest syndrome are first considered briefly before conducting an economic analysis of life satisfaction using the German Socio-Economic Panel. Our particular focus is the change in the subjective well-being of the individuals who become empty nesters, taking advantage of the richness of this dataset. As a result, this is the first large sample economic analysis of its kind to use identity to evaluate the effects of becoming "empty nest" parents in a systematic way.
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Paolo Piacentini (Department of Social Sciences and Economics - Sapienza University of Rome (Italy))
    Abstract: The predominance of “financial” interests in the operation of present-day capitalism is very much at the centre of the research agenda within the “Post-Keynesian” field. Two “schools”, firmly established in this tradition, and talented scholars, have provided advances for the understanding of the implications and risks of “financialization”. I refer to the schools, intuitively, as the “Kaleckian” and the “Minskian” schools. “Neo-Kaleckians” stress the medium-term implications for growth performance and distributive trends in the real economy; “Minskians” have recently insisted that innovative practices of modern finance such as shadow banking, securitization, etc., will eventually increase the fundamental “fragility” of capitalism, as in Minsky’s seminal intuition. Although extensive literature has produced important results in recent years, there is still ground for further, “comprehensive”, reflection upon the interaction between “finance” and “the real economy”. This contribution is targeted in that direction. Two phenomena are described as “fundamentals”, giving rise to further consequences. The first is reversal: the relationship between the financial and the real spheres of the economy is now “inverted” with respect to the conventional wisdom of economists, which holds that “finance” services the “real economy”, turning savings into investments. With the reversal, it is now the real economy that services finance, as the originator of debt obligations, upon which assets and trading on the financial markets are established. The second is decoupling: this is understood as the dilatation of the value of financial wealth, relative to real output levels and growth. One important piece of evidence for this notion is the decline in investment to profit ratios in mature economies. Can actual trends in real growth “sustain”, for evermore, a disproportional inflation of financial values? Might the ratio to GDP of the value of the “patrimoines”, by which I mean the aggregation of all riches (Piketty) steadily increase? If the valuation of financial assets is essentially founded upon the servicing of debt obligations out of the proceeds of real activities, more and more “decoupling” might imply that there is a risk that capitalism may engage in a global “Ponzi” scheme.
    Keywords: Financialisation; Wealth; Real Investment.
    JEL: E44 E21
    Date: 2017–06
  8. By: Dozhdev, Dmitry (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA))
    Abstract: The subject of the research in this work is the concrete historical forms of the treaty in the history of law, the doctrine of the transaction in the history of legal thought, the principles of conscientiousness and justice in the establishment and implementation of subjective rights.
    Date: 2017–05
  9. By: Florentin GLOETZL (Vienna University of Economics and Business, Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria); Ernest AIGNER (Vienna University of Economics and Business, Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020 Vienna, Austria)
    Abstract: This paper scientometrically investigates concentration in economics between 1956and 2016 using a large-scale data set. It is revealed that economics is highly concentratedalong six dimensions: articles, journals, regions, institutions, authors, and paradigms. NorthAmerica accounts for half of all published articles and three quarters of all citations, while thetop twenty academic institutions reap a share of 42 percent of all citations. The top 100 authorsalone receive a share of 15 percent. Five journals account for 27.7 percent of all citations andonly 8 percent of all articles, and 3 percent of all citations may be attributed to heterodoxschools of thought. The overall Gini coefficient for the distribution of citations among articlesis 0.72. Generally, concentration is found to increase towards the top of the discipline and to behigher and more persistent on the level of citations than on the level of articles. Concentrationhas increased over the last few decades, with the strongest increases occurring already until the 1970s.
    Keywords: concentration, economics, scientometrics
    Date: 2017–03
  10. By: Bagus, Philipp; Howden, David; Gabriel, Amadeus; Carrasco Bañuelos, Eva María
    Abstract: Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) baptized the idea that the gain of some is caused by the loss of others as the “Montaigne dogma.” Mises considered the fallacy to be very widespread and sufficiently noteworthy that he devoted chapter 24 of his magnum opus Human Action to refuting the idea. Casto Martín Montero Kuscevic and Marco Antonio del Río Rivera (2015) discuss Mises´ refutation of Montainge´s dogma and claim that he misinterpreted Montaigne on fundamental grounds. They make the further claim that Mises misattributed the dogma to Montaigne. In this short response, we assess their argument to demonstrate that a more complete reading of Mises’s arguments vindicate both his identification and criticisms of the Montaigne dogma.
    Keywords: Montaigne dogma, Ludwig von Mises
    JEL: B1 B13 B3 B31
    Date: 2016
  11. By: Stefano Spalletti (University of Macerata)
    Abstract: Questo scritto analizza i contributi dello Stato Commerciale Chiuso (1800) di Johann Gottlieb Fichte all'economia politica nel loro complesso. Presenta l'interpretazione del diritto di proprietà del filosofo tedesco come un a priori fondamentale del suo metodo economico. Quanto deriva da questa interpretazione - principalmente l'impianto di un'economia pianificata centralmente - appare il risultato di una costituzione economica "razionale" che perviene a un equilibrio di stampo socialista ma senza un calcolo economico esplicito. Il paper fornisce anche una nuova e diversa interpretazione dell'"anarchia dei mercati" di Fichte, riconducendola a un esito derivante dal "fallimento dei mercati" stessi. Questi argomenti vengono discussi, infine, in una prospettiva comportamentale che giustifica l'attenzione di Fichte verso gli stili economici (Wirtschaftsstil) quale caratteristica tipica della tradizione economica tedesca.
    Keywords: Stili economici,Fichte,Fallimenti del mercato,Pianificazione,Diritto di proprietÃ
    JEL: B14 B31 B51
    Date: 2017–06
  12. By: Howden, David
    Abstract: What is the relationship between opportunity cost, choice and action? In my review of Eduard Braun´s Finance Behind the Veil of Money (2014), I took exception with his view that opportunity costs are not only unnecessary, but even detrimental to understand decision making. The most substantial difference between our views comes from Braun´s treatment of the relationship between opportunity cost and choice.
    Keywords: opportunity cost
    JEL: A1 D0 D00
    Date: 2016

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