nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2017‒10‒29
fourteen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. "The Paper Money of Colonial North Carolina, 1712-1774" By Farley Grubb
  3. Os Debates Metodológicos na Inglaterra nas Décadas de 1870 E 1880: o Desafio Historicista à Economia Política By Laura Valladão de Mattos
  4. Populists at the Polls: Economic Factors in the 1896 Presidential Election By Barry Eichengreen; Michael R. Haines; Matthew S. Jaremski; David Leblang
  5. The Unequal Distribution of Economic Education : A Report on the Race, Ethnicity, and Gender of Economics Majors at US Colleges and Universities By Amanda S. Bayer; David W. Wilcox
  6. Beyond the Stars By Olivier Sterck
  7. Werte-Erziehung? Wirtschafts-Unterricht? Vier ordonomische Thesen zum schulischen Bildungsauftrag By Pies, Ingo
  8. Nice to You, Nicer to Me: Does Self-Serving Generosity Diminish the Reciprocal Response? By Woods, Daniel; Servátka, Maroš
  9. Quest for the Impossible: Conformity and Sameness in Two Science Fiction Dystopias: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) and Lois Lowry’s The Giver (1993) By Radwan Gabr El–Sobky
  10. Transparency is overrated: communicating in a coordination game with private information By Cabrales, Antonio; Drouvelis, Michalis; Gurguc, Zeynep; Ray, Indrajit
  11. William Edwards reflects on his lifelong connection with ISU Extension and Outreach By Senty, Kristen
  12. Sticky Belief Adjustment: A Double Hurdle Model and Experimental Evidence By Timo Henckel; Gordon Menzies; Peter Moffat; Daniel J. Zizzo
  13. Bureaucratic Identity and the Shape of Public Policy: A Game Theoretic Analysis By Naseer, Shaheen; Heine, Klaus
  14. Uninformed buyers and market efficiency By Maier, Carl G.; Marencak, Michal

  1. By: Farley Grubb (Department of Economics, University of Delaware)
    Abstract: Beginning in 1712, North Carolina's assembly emitted its own paper money and maintained some of its paper money in public circulation for the rest of the colonial period. This paper money has been reviled as an archetype of what was bad about the paper monies issued by American colonial legislatures. Yet little systematic analysis of North Carolina's paper money has been undertaken. We correct that here. We reconstruct North Carolina's paper money regime from original sources—providing yearly quantitative data on printings, net new emissions, redemptions and removals, amounts remaining in circulation, denominational structure, as well as the paper money's current market value in pounds sterling. We identify different paper money regimes based on how the assembly structured and executed its paper money laws. We model and estimate how the market value of this money was determined. We compare the quantity theory of money with an asset-pricing model that treats the money as zero-coupon bonds to see which explains the observed market value of the paper money better. The asset-pricing model wins by a mile. Finally, we explore counterfactual redemption architectures to show how redemption affected monetary performance in periods of value collapse.
    Keywords: asset money, bills of credit, redemption, transaction premium, zero-coupon bonds
    JEL: E42 E51 G12 N11 N21
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Philippe Gillig
    Abstract: This paper deals with a debate about the universality of the “desire of wealth” in John Stuart Mill’s thought. The debate occurred in the literature about fifteen years ago, when Samuel Hollander and Sandra Peart published in 1999 a criticism of Abraham Hirsch and Neil De Marchi’s interpretation of Mill’s methodology. This article constitutes an attempt to solve the debate by providing a rationale for the disagreement between both sets of scholars. In particular, we show that the divergence between them comes from the fact that they ground their respective arguments using different texts, while neglecting that Mill gradually changed his mind in his writings subsequent to the 1836 essay entitled “On the Definition of Political Economy...”. First, in accordance with the development of his ethology, Mill deprived the maximizing behavior of its universal validity; then, Mill focused more and more on “competition” as economics’ basic axiom in order to stress its historical relevance; and finally Mill strengthened the relativity of the behavioral axiom with the introduction of the concept of “custom”.
    Keywords: homo œconomicus; universal laws; John Stuart Mill; economic methodology.
    JEL: B12 B41
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Laura Valladão de Mattos
    Abstract: Esse artigo analisa um debate, ocorrido nas décadas de 1870 e 1880, que se seguiu a fortes críticas lançadas por dois economistas historicistas, Thomas Cliffe Leslie e John Kells Ingram, à natureza dedutiva, abstrata e universalista da Economia Política. O objetivo desses economistas era substituir essa ciência por uma Economia de caráter indutivo e histórico. Walter Bagehot e William Stanley Jevons – defensores, respectivamente, da ortodoxia vigente e do marginalismo emergente – reagiram diretamente a esses críticos. A resposta de Bagehot foi reafirmar o método dedutivo da Economia Política, porém restringir a validade dessa ciência às sociedades comerciais avançadas como a Inglaterra. A reação de Jevons foi enfatizar a natureza dedutiva e universal da teoria econômica, mas defender a importância da existência de ramos de históricos e aplicados de investigação. Argumenta-se que, o desafio historicista colocou as questões metodológicas na ‘ordem do dia’ e fez com que esses economistas atribuíssem um ‘lugar’ para a história – ainda que não aquele almejado por Leslie e Ingram. Analisar esse debate metodológico permite uma compreensão melhor das alternativas que se apresentavam para a Economia ao final do século XIX e pode, quem sabe, jogar luz sobre os rumos que a nossa ciência tomou nas primeiras décadas do século XX.
    Keywords: Cliffe Leslie; John Ingram; Stanley Jevons; Walter Bagehot; historicismo
    JEL: B1 B15 B5
    Date: 2017–10–24
  4. By: Barry Eichengreen; Michael R. Haines; Matthew S. Jaremski; David Leblang
    Abstract: The 1896 presidential election between William Jennings Bryan and William McKinley has gained new salience in the wake of the 2016 contest. We provide the first systematic analysis of voting patterns in 1896, combining county-level returns with economic, financial, demographic and climatological data. Specifically, we consider the economic concerns of the Populists with falling crop prices, high interest rates and railroad monopolies. We show that Bryan did well where mortgage interest rates were high, railroad penetration was low, and crop prices had declined by most over the previous decade. Using our estimates, we show that further declines in crop prices or increases in interest rates would have been enough to tip the Electoral College in Bryan’s favor. But to change the outcome, the additional fall in crop prices would have had to be large. The counterfactual increase in interest rates appears, at first blush, to have been more modest. But where previous authors have argued that interest rates came down in the 1890s because of the entry of additional banks, our estimates indicate that bank entry would have had to be very significantly slower to tip the election. There is no question that economic grievances mattered in 1896. But small or even moderate changes in economic conditions would not have changed the outcome of the election.
    JEL: N0 N11
    Date: 2017–10
  5. By: Amanda S. Bayer; David W. Wilcox
    Abstract: The distribution of economic education among US college graduates is quite unequal: female and underrepresented minority undergraduates, collectively, major in economics at 0.36 the rate that white, non-Hispanic male students do. This paper makes a four-part contribution to address this imbalance. First and foremost, we provide detailed comparative data at the institution level to provoke and inform the attention of economists and senior administrators at colleges and universities, among others. Second, we establish a definition of full inclusion in economic education on college and university campuses and use that definition to evaluate the status quo and to compare institutions. Third, we illuminate the reasons why the need to improve the distribution of economic education is urgent, including the imperative to support economic policymaking. Lastly, we point the way forward, identifying both currently available resources and reasonable next steps for all involved parties to take.
    Keywords: Education ; Ethnicity ; Race
    Date: 2017–10–19
  6. By: Olivier Sterck
    Abstract: It is frequent to hear in economic seminars or read in academic papers that an effect is economically significant or economically important. Yet, the economic literature is vague on what economic importance means and how it should be measured. In this paper, I show that existing measures of economic importance are flawed and misused. Using an axiomatic approach, I derive a new method to assess the economic importance of each variable in linear regressions. The new measure is interpreted as the percentage contribution of each explanatory variable to deviations in the dependent variable. As an illustration, the method is applied to the study of the causes of long-run economic development.
    Keywords: Regression; Economic importance; Effect size; Standardized beta coefficients; Long-run growth
    JEL: B4 C18 O10 O47 Z13
    Date: 2017
  7. By: Pies, Ingo
    Abstract: Dieser Artikel formuliert aus der Perspektive des ordonomischen Forschungsprogramms vier Thesen zum schulischen Bildungsauftrag.
    Keywords: Wertekonsens,Regelkonsens,Wertepluralismus,Anreize,Institutionen,value consensus,rule consensus,value pluralism,incentives,institutions
    Date: 2016
  8. By: Woods, Daniel; Servátka, Maroš
    Abstract: Reciprocity has been shown to be sensitive to perceived intentions, however, not much is known about the intensity of reciprocal responses to the precise nature of those intentions. For example, a person can strategically appear to be kind while being self-serving or can be selflessly (genuinely) kind. Do these two intentions elicit different reciprocal reactions? We propose a conjecture that self-serving but generous actions diminish the positively reciprocal response, compared to selfless generous actions. We classify actions that increase a recipient’s maximum payoff, but by less than the giver’s maximum payoff, as being self-serving generous actions, while classifying actions that increase a recipient’s maximum payoff by more than the giver’s as selfless generous actions. We hypothesize that selfless generous actions are considered more generous than self-serving generous actions, and that self-serving generous actions will therefore result in a diminished reciprocal response. We test this conjecture using two novel experimental designs. We find some evidence that subjects perceive self-serving generous actions as being less generous than selfless generous actions, but no empirical support for our conjecture on the diminished reciprocal response.
    Keywords: Reciprocity, generosity, self-serving, genuine, experiment, Revealed Altruism, lost wallet game, investment game
    JEL: C7 C72 C9 C91
    Date: 2017–09–26
  9. By: Radwan Gabr El–Sobky (Menoufia University in Cairo)
    Abstract: This paper is a comparative study of the quest for the impossible: conformity and sameness in two science fiction dystopias: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (Britain in 1932) and Lois Lowry’s The Giver (America in 1993). It is an attempt to demonstrate the two novelists’ ideologies of the quest for perfection through achieving conformity and sameness in two dystopian societies; such a quest is a quest for the impossible. The methodology of this study is based mainly on the concept of dystopian science fiction and on the characteristics of the dystopian society depicted in science fiction literature that are stated in M. Keith Booker’s Dystopian Literature: a Theory and Research Guide (1994), and in M. Keith Booker’s and Anne–Marie Thomas’ “Dystopian Science Fiction†in The Science fiction Handbook (2009).
    Keywords: utopia, dystopia, conformity, sameness, Aldous Huxley, Lois Lowry.
    Date: 2016–08
  10. By: Cabrales, Antonio; Drouvelis, Michalis; Gurguc, Zeynep; Ray, Indrajit
    Abstract: We consider an experiment with a version of the Battle of the Sexes game with two-sided private information, allowing a possible round of either one-way or two-way cheap talk before the game is played. We compare different treatments to study truthful revelation of information and subsequent payoffs from the game. We find that the players are overall truthful about their types in the cheap-talk phase in both one-way or two-way talk. Furthermore, the unique symmetric cheap-talk equilibrium in the two-way cheap talk game is played when they players fully reveal their information; however, they achieve higher payoffs in the game when the talk is one-way as the truthful reports facilitate desired coordination.
    Keywords: Battle of the Sexes; cheap talk; coordination; private information
    JEL: C72 C92 D83
    Date: 2017–10
  11. By: Senty, Kristen
    Date: 2016–03–25
  12. By: Timo Henckel (Australian National University); Gordon Menzies (Economics Discipline Group, University of Technology, Sydney); Peter Moffat (School of Economics, University of East Anglia); Daniel J. Zizzo (Newcastle University Business School)
    Abstract: Given a lack of perfect knowledge about the future, agents need to form expectations about variables affecting their decisions. We present an experiment where subjects sequentially receive signals about the true state of the world and need to form beliefs about which one is true, with payoffs related to reported beliefs. We control for risk aversion using the Offerman et al. (2009) technique. Against the baseline of Bayesian updating, we test for belief adjustment under-reaction and over-reaction and model the decision making process of the agent as a double hurdle model where agents first decide whether to adjust their beliefs and, if so, then decide by how much. We find evidence for sticky belief adjustment. This is due to a combination of: random belief adjustment; state-dependent belief adjustment, with many subjects requiring considerable evidence to change their beliefs; and Quasi-Bayesian belief adjustment, with insufficient belief adjustment when a belief change does occur.
    Keywords: belief revision; double hurdle model; expectations; overreaction; underreaction
    JEL: C34 C91 D03 D84
    Date: 2017–04–07
  13. By: Naseer, Shaheen; Heine, Klaus
    Abstract: The paper proposes a theoretical framework to explain policy drift, when identity moderates the principle-agent relation between the legislator and the bureaucracy. Our model points to the subtle interaction between different administrative levels of bureaucracy and how this interaction shapes the structure and size of budgetary allocations. Conceptually we enrich the public choice tradition of modeling bureaucracies by insights which fall broadly into the study of organizational behavior.
    JEL: D73 H11
    Date: 2017
  14. By: Maier, Carl G.; Marencak, Michal
    Abstract: Empirical evidence shows that low cost of signaling interest in offers can result in a significant number of inappropriate signals. This paper provides a theoretical explanation for this observation as an equilibrium outcome of a model with utility maximizing fully rational agents that decide to signal their interest without knowing whether the offer suits them or not. We show that falling transaction costs can decrease market efficiency and social welfare.
    JEL: C72 D83 E24
    Date: 2017

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