nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2017‒08‒27
ten papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Has economics returned to being the “dismal science†? The changing role of economic thought in German labour market reforms By Stephan Puehringer; Markus Griesser
  2. Inside Job or Deep Impact? Using Extramural Citations to Assess Economic Scholarship By Joshua Angrist; Pierre Azoulay; Glenn Ellison; Ryan Hill; Susan Feng Lu
  3. Quantum Barro--Gordon Game in Monetary Economics By Ali Hussein Samadi; Afshin Montakhab; Hussein Marzban; Sakine Owjimehr
  4. Brendan M. Walsh (1940-2016): The Economist at Work By J. Peter Neary; Cormac Ó Gráda
  5. Think Tank networks of German neoliberalism. Power structures in economics and economic policies in post-war Germany By Stephan Puehringer
  6. Fundamental Errors in the Voting Booth By Edward L. Glaeser; Giacomo A.M. Ponzetto
  7. The Structure and Content of Das Kapital By Deepankar Basu
  8. Mining Surplus: Modeling James A. Schmitz's Link Between Competition and Productivity By Jeremy Greenwood; David Weiss
  9. Gleichheit vs. Vielfalt. Ein konstruierter Widerspruch im Neoliberalismus? By Stephan Puehringer
  10. Die Liberalen und der Wohlfahrtsstaat - eine schwierige Beziehung By Göbel, Heike

  1. By: Stephan Puehringer; Markus Griesser (Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria)
    Abstract: As an immediate reaction to the recent financial crisis, it has been criticized that many economists are still acting as economic advisers for Ministries or the bureaucracy, although they have not been able to foresee the crisis . Academic economists still hold central positions in policy making; they influence decisions in economic expert panels or research departments in national and supranational organizations. Beside their role as policy advisors, economists also engage in public debates in a more narrow sense as technical economic experts as well as in a broader sense as “public intellectuals†in the process of the tra nsmission of economic knowledge in public (economic) policy discourses. In spite of the manifold critique about the state of economics in the aftermath of the crisis, an even increasing presence of economists and economic experts can be observed in the pu blic sphere during the last years . On the one hand this reflects the still dominant position of economics in the social sciences as well as the sometimes ignorant attitude of economists towards findings of other social sciences. On the other hand this pape r shows that the public debate on politico - economic issues among economists is dominated by a specific sub group of economists, tightly connected to an institutional network of “German neoliberalism†. This group of “public economists†(i) is dominant in pub lic debates even after the financial crisis, (ii) reproduces the formative German economic imaginary of the Social Market Economy in a German neoliberal interpretation and (iii) has a good access to German economic policymaking, rooted in a long history of economic policy advice.
    Date: 2016–04
  2. By: Joshua Angrist; Pierre Azoulay; Glenn Ellison; Ryan Hill; Susan Feng Lu
    Abstract: Does academic economic research produce material of scientific value, or are academic economists writing only for clients and peers? Is economics scholarship uniquely insular? We address these questions by quantifying interactions between economics and other disciplines. Changes in the impact of economic scholarship are measured here by the way other disciplines cite us. We document a clear rise in the extramural influence of economic research, while also showing that economics is increasingly likely to reference other social sciences. A breakdown of extramural citations by economics fields shows broad field impact. Differentiating between theoretical and empirical papers classified using machine learning, we see that much of the rise in economics’ extramural influence reflects growth in citations to empirical work. This parallels a growing share of empirical cites within economics. At the same time, the disciplines of computer science and operations research are mostly influenced by economic theory.
    JEL: A11 A12 A13 A14 B41 C18
    Date: 2017–08
  3. By: Ali Hussein Samadi; Afshin Montakhab; Hussein Marzban; Sakine Owjimehr
    Abstract: Classical game theory addresses decision problems in multi-agent environment where one rational agent's decision affects other agents' payoffs. Game theory has widespread application in economic, social and biological sciences. In recent years quantum versions of classical games have been proposed and studied. In this paper, we consider a quantum version of the classical Barro-Gordon game which captures the problem of time inconsistency in monetary economics. Such time inconsistency refers to the temptation of weak policy maker to implement high inflation when the public expects low inflation. The inconsistency arises when the public punishes the weak policy maker in the next cycle. We first present a quantum version of the Barro-Gordon game. Next, we show that in a particular case of the quantum game, time-consistent Nash equilibrium could be achieved when public expects low inflation, thus resolving the game.
    Date: 2017–08
  4. By: J. Peter Neary; Cormac Ó Gráda
    Abstract: Brendan M. Walsh [1940-2016] was a key figure in the renaissance of Irish economics. A brilliant and highly productive applied economist, his work was wide-ranging and hugely influential. This article reviews Walsh’s published research over a half a century.
    Keywords: Ireland; Economics; Walsh, Brendan M.
    JEL: A10 J10 J20
    Date: 2017–05
  5. By: Stephan Puehringer
    Abstract: Even after the financial crisis, economists still exert influence on politics and society in general on several levels and thus can be still interpreted as a discipline of power. Particularly in Germany there is a long tradition of institutionalized economic policy advice, which offers economists a channel of direct and indirect impact on politics. During the European crisis policies many scholar stressed a "comeback", "revival" or "return" of ordoliberalism, the German variety of neoliberalism. In this paper I show how economists connected in the "German neoliberal thought collective" since the end of WW II have built up a strong institutional powerstructure, which had a continuous impact on German economic politics over many decades. It can be shown that in several turning points of German economic history, German neoliberalism and its core politico-economic concept of "Social market economy" served as guiding principle of economic policy. Furthermore I will show that up to now there is an uneven power balance among economists with high political and societal influence, i.e. economists connected in Keynesian or union-linked networks are in a minority position compared to the dense network of economists in the "German neoliberale thought collective". Hence, what was observed during the European crisis policies as a "comeback of ordoliberalism" should rather be interpreted as the consequence of a persistant influence of German neoliberal networks on German economic politics over many decades.
    Date: 2016–09
  6. By: Edward L. Glaeser; Giacomo A.M. Ponzetto
    Abstract: Psychologists have long documented that we over-attribute people’s actions to innate characteristics, rather than to luck or circumstances. Similarly, economists have found that both politicians and businessmen are rewarded for luck. In this paper, we introduce this “Fundamental Attribution Error” into two benchmark political economy models. In both models, voter irrationality can improve politicians’ behavior, because voters attribute good behavior to fixed attributes that merit reelection. This upside of irrationality is countered by suboptimal leader selection, including electing leaders who emphasize objectives that are beyond their control. The error has particularly adverse consequences for institutional choice, where it generates too little demand for a free press, too much demand for dictatorship, and responding to endemic corruption by electing new supposedly honest leaders, instead of investing in institutional reform.
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2017–08
  7. By: Deepankar Basu (Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts - Amherst)
    Abstract: Karl Marx’s magnum opus, Das Kapital, presents an analysis of the long run dynamics of a mature capitalist economy. The analysis is conducted at two primary levels of abstraction – ‘capital in general’ (where competition between individual capitals is abstracted from) and ‘many capitals’ (where the phenomenon of competition between individual capitals is introduced) – and the presentation is organized into three volumes. In terms of structure, the analysis in the first two volumes is located at the level of ‘capital in general’, and the analysis in the third volume is located at the level of ‘many capitals’. In terms of content, the first volume analyses the production and accumulation of surplus value, the second volume investigates the problems of realization of surplus value, and the third volume analyses the mechanisms that lead to the distribution of surplus value into income streams of different fractions of the ruling class – as profit of enterprise, commercial profit, interest and rent (and monopoly profit more generally). The three volumes together give a comprehensive picture of the workings of a mature capitalist economy and highlights its long run, contradictory tendencies.
    Keywords: value, surplus value, capital, reproduction schemes, prices of production, rent, interest, commercial profit
    JEL: B14 B24 B51
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Jeremy Greenwood (University of Pennsylvania); David Weiss (Tel Aviv University)
    Date: 2017–08
  9. By: Stephan Puehringer
    Abstract: Im grossen Kanon der Trias „Freiheit, Gleichheit, Solidaritaet“ ist die Rolle von Gleichheit seit jeher eine ambivalente. Die starke normative Konnotation, die fuer Freiheit, als Losloesung aus tradierten, hierarchischen Herrschaftsverhaeltnissen und Solidaritaet, als Forderung einer egalitaeren, auf Gerechtigkeit basierenden Gesellschaftsordnung gilt, scheint fuer Gleichheit erst einmal nicht so klar gegeben. Vielmehr wirkt Gleichheit zunaechst als Kontrastfolie fuer widerstrebende ideologische Denkrichtungen. In verschiedenen wissenschaftlichen Disziplinen finden zwar Diskurse ueber Gleichheit statt, die auch auf einen gesamtgesellschaftlichen Diskurs ausstrahlen. So ist etwa Gleichheit vor dem Gesetz eine massgebliche Errungenschaft und in Fragen der Gleichberechtigung oder Gleichbehandlung spiegelt sich die positive Bewertung von politischer Gleichheit im Recht als Erbe der aufklaererischen Tradition der westlichen Industrienationen wider. Vor allem aus einer oekonomischen Mainstream †Perspektive hingegen †vor allem was soziale Gleichheit, die auch Fragen der sozialen Teilhabe oder Verteilungsfragen betrifft †auch teils massive Kritik an Gleichheitskonzepten geuebt
  10. By: Göbel, Heike
    Abstract: Es ist nicht so, dass man in einer Tageszeitung zwischen Euro-Krise, Brexit oder dem unberechenbaren Präsidenten Donald Trump viele Gelegenheiten für Begegnungen mit großen ökonomischen Vordenkern und liberalen Geistern hat. Jenseits runder Jahrestage schöpft und zehrt man eher unmerklich von dem, was aus dem Studium und gelegentlichen Lektüren auch ein wenig zufällig hängengeblieben ist. [...]
    Date: 2017

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