nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2017‒08‒20
three papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Embedding Cooperation in General-equilibrium Models By John E. Roemer
  2. 40 years of JEEM: Research trends and influential publications in environmental and resource economics By Kube, Roland; Löschel, Andreas; Mertens, Henrik; Requate, Till
  3. The impartial observer under uncertainty By Berens, Stefan; Chochua, Lasha

  1. By: John E. Roemer (Dept. of Political Science & Cowles Foundation, Yale University)
    Abstract: Humans cooperate a great deal in economic activity, but our two major models of equilibrium – Walrasian competitive in markets and Nash in games – portray us as only non-cooperative. In earlier work, I have proposed a model of cooperative decision making (Kantian optimization); here, I embed Kantian optimization in general equilibrium models and show that ‘Walras-Kant’ equilibria exist and often resolve inefficiencies associated with income taxation, public goods and bads, and non-traditional firm ownership, which typically plague models where agents are Nash optimizers. In four examples, introducing Kantian optimization in one market – often the labor market – suffices to internalize externalities, generating Pareto efficient equilibria in their presence. The scope for efficient decentralization via markets appears to be significantly broadened with cooperative behavior.
    Keywords: Kantian optimization, Cooperation, General equilibrium, Market socialism, Global emissions control, Worker-owned firms, Externalities, Public goods
    JEL: D50 D60 D62 D70 D91 E19 H21 H23 H41
    Date: 2017–08
  2. By: Kube, Roland; Löschel, Andreas; Mertens, Henrik; Requate, Till
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the way the content of the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management (JEEM) has developed over the last 40 years. We have classified the articles in the journal into five dimensions: content, methods, environmental media (pollutants and resources), cross-cutting issues and the regional dimension of studies. Up to about 10 years ago, non-market valuation and cost-benefit analysis, natural resource economics and environmental policy instruments were the subjects regularly representing the lion's share of the articles published in the journal. Thereafter we register a significant shift towards a more diversified array of research areas, with climate change and energy issues finding their way into the journal. In addition, increasing methodological plurality becomes apparent, reflected in a significant shift away from economic theory and towards empirical approaches. We also analyze key distinctions between the major environmental economics journals. To this end, we compare the 100 most frequently cited articles in JEEM, Ecological Economics, Land Economics, Environmental & Resource Economics, and the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Here we find that non-market valuation studies play an important role in all the journals considered. Econometric studies are also widely represented in all of them, with theoretical models particularly strong in JEEM. Finally, we use citations as a criterion for analyzing JEEM's external influence on leading general economics (A+) journals. A regression analysis shows that a focus on market-based environmental policies and policy comparisons plus the use of econometric and statistical methods or experimental approaches correlates positively with an A+ citation. If we leave self-citations out of account, A+ citations are also positively correlated with a focus on air pollution and negatively correlated with a focus on water pollution and other pollutants.
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Berens, Stefan (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University); Chochua, Lasha (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)
    Abstract: This paper extends Harsanyi’s Impartial Observer Theorem by introducing Knightian Uncertainty in the form of individual belief systems. It features an axiomatic framework of societal decision-making in the presence of individual uncertainty. The model allows the analysis of scenarios where individuals agree on the ranking but not on the likelihood of social outcomes. The preferences of the impartial observer are represented by a weighted sum of utilities - each representing individual preferences with different belief systems. In order to incorporate common criticism of the framework of Harsanyi (1953), our approach is based on the generalized version by Grant et al. (2010). The belief systems are introduced as second-order beliefs following Seo (2009).
    Keywords: Impartial Observer, Uncertainty, Utilitarianism
    Date: 2017–08–10

This nep-hpe issue is ©2017 by Erik Thomson. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.