nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2017‒07‒09
seventeen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. The Short Rise and Long Fall of heterodox Economics in germany After the 1970s: Explorations in a Scientific Field of Power and Struggle. By Heise, Arne; Thieme, Sebastian
  2. Why has economics turned out this way?’ A socio-economic note on the explanation of monism in economics. By Heise, Arne
  3. Replication in Experimental Economics: A Historical and Quantitative Approach Focused on Public Good Game Experiments By Nicolas Vallois; Dorian Jullien
  4. Estimating Rationality in Economics: A History of Statistical Methods in Experimental Economics By Nicolas Vallois; Dorian Jullien
  5. Tony Atkinson and his Legacy By A Brandolini; Stephen P Jenkins; John Micklewright
  6. A replication of "Education and catch-up in the Industrial Revolution" (American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 2011) By Edwards, Jeremy S. S.
  7. The Best and Worst of All Possible Worlds: Some Crude Evaluations By Michael R. Powers; Martin Shubik
  8. Modern capital theory and the concept of exploitation By von Weizsäcker, Carl Christian
  9. Nash equilibria of informational extensions By Kukuškin, Nikolaj Serafimovič
  10. On the submodularity of multi-depot traveling salesman games By Platz, Trine Tornøe
  11. Morishima on Marx By von Weizsäcker, Carl Christian
  12. When to Do the Hard Stuff? Dispositions, Movitavtion and th Choice of Difficulties By Melguizo, Isabel
  13. Classifying three person games By Ostmann, Axel
  14. Reliability and Validity of the Happiness Approach to Measuring Preferences By van Hoorn, Andre
  15. A further note on Rawls's theory By Harsanyi, John C.
  16. How Vatican II influenced female enfranchisement: A story of rapid cultural change By Anna Maria Koukal
  17. The Wisdom of Crowds in Matters of Taste By Johannes Müller-Trede; Shoham Choshen-Hillel; Meir Barneron; Ilan Yaniv

  1. By: Heise, Arne; Thieme, Sebastian
    Abstract: In the context of ongoing criticisms of the lack of pluralism in economics, the present article aims to discuss the development of ‘heterodox’ economics since the 1970s. Following Lakatos’s concept of scientific research programs (srp), and concentrating on the situation in Germany, the article will discuss classifications of economics, and will specify the understanding of diversity in the light of ‘axiomatic variations’ of the economic mainstream. This will form the basis for the subsequent description of the development of heterodoxy in Germany, with special reference to the founding of new universities and the reform movements in the 1970s. It can be shown that the heterodox scene flourished in this period, but that this pluralization remained fragmented and short-lived; by the 1980s at the latest heterodoxy was again on its way to marginalization. The history of heterodoxy in Germany thus presents itself as an unequal ‘battle of the paradigms,’ and can only be told as the story of a failure.
    Keywords: Heterodox economics, pluralization, philosophy of science, sociology of science
    JEL: A14 B40 B50 N01 Z13
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Heise, Arne
    Abstract: Economic science has – lamented by some, applauded by others – turned into a monistic discipline. In this short research note, a socio-economic answer to the question of why this has happened is provided by combining an economic approach to the market for economic ideas with a sociological approach to a scientific (power) field.
    Keywords: pluralism, monism, heterodoxy, standardization, regulation
    JEL: A14 B40 B50 L15
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Nicolas Vallois (Université Picardie Jules Verne; CRIISEA); Dorian Jullien (Université Côte d'Azur; GREDEG CNRS)
    Abstract: We propose a historical perspective on replication in experimental economics focused on public good games. Our intended contribution is twofold: in terms of method and in terms of object. Methodologically, we blend traditional qualitative history of economics with a less traditional quantitative approach using basic econometric tools to detect unnoticed historical patterns of replication. In terms of our object, we highlight a type of replication that we call "baseline replication", which is not present in explicit methodological discussions, yet central in the specificity of experimental economics regarding replication in economics.
    Keywords: Experimental Economics, Replication, History of Economic Thought, Methodology, Public Good Experiments
    JEL: B20 C83 A14 C90
    Date: 2017–06
  4. By: Nicolas Vallois (Université Picardie Jules Verne; CRIISEA); Dorian Jullien (Université Côte d'Azur; GREDEG CNRS)
    Abstract: Experimental economists increasingly apply econometric techniques to interpret their data, as suggested the emergence of "experimetrics" in the 2000's (Camerer, 2003; Houser, 2008; Moffatt, 2015). Yet statistics remains a minor topic in experimental economics' (EE) methodology. This article aims to study the historical roots of this present paradox. To do so, we analyze the use of statistical tools in EE from early economics experiments of the 1940's-1950's to the present days. Our narrative is based on qualitative analysis of published papers for the earliest periods and on bibliometric and quantitative approaches for the more recent time period. Our results reveal a significant change in EE' statistical methods, from purely descriptive methods to more sophisticated and standardized techniques. Statistics now plays a decisive role in the way EE estimates rationality, particularly in structural modeling approaches, but it is still considered as a non-methodological, because purely technical, matter. Our historical analysis shows that this technical conception was the result of a long-run evolution of research tactics in EE, that notably allowed experimental economists to escape from psychologist's more re exive culture toward statistics.
    Keywords: Experimental Economics, Statistics, Econometrics, History of Economic Thought, Methodology
    JEL: B20 C83 A14 C90
    Date: 2017–06
  5. By: A Brandolini; Stephen P Jenkins; John Micklewright
    Abstract: Tony Atkinson is universally celebrated for his outstanding contributions to the measurement and analysis of inequality, but he never saw the study of inequality as a separate branch of economics. He was an economist in the classical sense, rejecting any sub-field labelling of his interests and expertise, and he made contributions right across economics. His death on 1 January 2017 deprived the world of both an intellectual giant and a deeply committed public servant in the broadest sense of the term. This collective tribute highlights the range, depth and importance of Tony's enormous legacy, the product of over fifty years' work.
    Keywords: Atkinson
    Date: 2017–07
  6. By: Edwards, Jeremy S. S.
    Abstract: Although European economic history provides essentially no support for the view that education of the general population has a positive causal effect on economic growth, a recent paper by Becker, Hornung and Woessmann (Education and catch-up in the Industrial Revolution, 2011) claims that such education had a significant impact on Prussian industrialisation. The author shows that the instrumental variable they use to identify the causal effect of education is correlated with variables that influenced industrialisation but were omitted from their regression models. Once this specification error is corrected, the evidence shows that education of the general population had, if anything, a negative causal impact on industrialisation in Prussia.
    Keywords: education,industrialization,Prussia,regional effects,invalid instrument
    JEL: I25 N13 N63 O14
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Michael R. Powers (Tsinghua University); Martin Shubik (Cowles Foundation, Yale University)
    Abstract: The 2 x 2 matrix game plays a central role in the teaching and exposition of game theory. It is also the source of much experimentation and research in political science, social psychology, biology and other disciplines. This brief paper is addressed to answering one intuitively simple question without going into the many subtle qualifications that are there. How efficient is the non-cooperative equilibrium? This is part of a series of several papers that address many of the qualifications concerning the uses of the 2 x 2 matrix games.
    Keywords: 2 × 2 matrix games, Index
    JEL: C63 C72 D61
    Date: 2017–06
  8. By: von Weizsäcker, Carl Christian (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)
    Date: 2017–04–04
  9. By: Kukuškin, Nikolaj Serafimovič (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)
    Date: 2017–04–04
  10. By: Platz, Trine Tornøe (Department of Business and Economics)
    Abstract: The Steiner traveling salesman problem (STSP) is the problem of finding a minimum cost tour for a salesman that must visit a set of locations while traveling along costly streets before returning to his starting point at the depot. A solution to the problem is a minimum cost tour that both starts and ends at the depot and visits all the required locations. If different players are associated with the destinations to be visited, the STSP induces a cooperative traveling salesman (TS) game that poses the question of how to allocate the total cost of the tour between the different players involved. This cost allocation problem can be tackled using tools and solutions from cooperative games. The purpose of this paper is to generalise the notion of a traveling salesman (TS) game to allow for multiple depots in the underlying STSP and to analyse the submodularity of such multi-depot TS games. A multi-depot STSP can be represented by a connected (di)graph in which a fixed set of nodes are denoted depots, and a non-negative weight function is defined on the edges of the graph. The submodularity of multi-depot TS games is analysed by characterising graphs and digraphs that induce submodular multi-depot TS games for any position of the depots and for at least one position of the depots, respectively.
    Keywords: Traveling salesman problem; cooperative game; submodularity
    JEL: C71
    Date: 2017–07–06
  11. By: von Weizsäcker, Carl Christian (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)
    Date: 2017–04–04
  12. By: Melguizo, Isabel
    Abstract: We analyze individual decisions of when to face difficult tasks. Although threatening, difficult tasks provide better economic outcomes than easy ones. We argue how individual dispositions, i.e., the expression of some non-cognitive dimensions, might drive timing decisions. Specifically, when experiencing low dispositions, individuals get trapped into low value easy tasks while when experiencing high dispositions, they are willing to always deal with high value difficult tasks. Also, when outcome achievements motivate individuals, they move from low value easy tasks to high value difficult tasks. This finding is interpreted as individuals preparing themselves to cope with difficulties.
    Keywords: individual dispositions, task difficulty, avoidance behavior
    JEL: D83 D84
    Date: 2016–12
  13. By: Ostmann, Axel (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)
    Date: 2017–04–04
  14. By: van Hoorn, Andre
    Abstract: While the use of happiness data to estimate “utility” functions has some interesting advantages over stated and revealed preferences methods and is growing in popularity, evidence on the reliability and validity of the happiness approach to measuring preferences is lacking. Moving beyond the intuitive appeal of estimating happiness functions, I draw on the literature in psychology on so-called psychometric quality to examine the following two features of the happiness approach to measuring preferences: (i) do repeated samples and different measures of happiness or subjective well-being (SWB) render similar preferences (what is called reliability)?; and (ii) do SWB-based preference measures relate to other measures that capture similar constructs in a logical way (what is called construct validity)? Empirical evidence indicates that SWB-based preferences exhibit high intertemporal, test-retest stability and are highly consistent when measured using alternative indicators of SWB (reliability). Similarly, SWB-based preferences relate to stated and revealed preferences measures of similar constructs in expected ways (construct validity). Overall, I conclude that estimating happiness (“utility”) functions provides a reliable and valid means for measuring people’s preferences.
    Keywords: Heterogeneous preferences; revealed preferences; stated preferences; attitudes; subjective well-being; happiness
    JEL: D60 I30
    Date: 2016
  15. By: Harsanyi, John C. (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)
    Date: 2017–04–04
  16. By: Anna Maria Koukal
    Abstract: The importance of culture for human behavior is well established in the economic literature. So far, most authors have emphasized the long persistence of cultural traits. In contrast, this paper deals with an important case of a rapid update of culturally rooted beliefs and behavior. Using a newly composed historical dataset (1919-1984), this paper provides evidence that the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) had a rapid effect on Catholics’ voting behavior pertaining to female enfranchisement in Switzerland. In various difference-in-differences settings, the Second Vatican Council turns out to increase the acceptance of women’s suffrage in Catholic municipalities, when compared to Protestant municipalities.
    Keywords: Catholic Church; Second Vatican Council; rapid cultural change; female enfranchisement
    JEL: N34 Z12 D72
    Date: 2017–06
  17. By: Johannes Müller-Trede; Shoham Choshen-Hillel; Meir Barneron; Ilan Yaniv
    Abstract: Decision makers can often improve the accuracy of their judgments on factual matters by consulting “crowds” of others for their respective opinions. In this article, we investigate whether decision makers could similarly draw on crowds to improve the accuracy of their judgments about their own tastes and hedonic experiences. We present a theoretical model which states that accuracy gains from consulting a crowds’ judgments of taste depend on the interplay among taste discrimination, crowd diversity, and the similarity between the crowd’s preferences and those of the decision maker. The model also delineates the boundary conditions for such “crowd wisdom.” Evidence supporting our hypotheses was found in two laboratory studies in which decision makers made judgments about their own enjoyment of musical pieces and short films. Our findings suggest that, although different people may have different preferences and inclinations, their judgments of taste can benefit from the wisdom of crowds.
    Date: 2017–06

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