nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2017‒12‒03
sixteen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. The "dark ages" of German macroeconomics and other alleged shortfalls in German economic thought By Feld, Lars P.; Köhler, Ekkehard A.; Nientiedt, Daniel
  2. Friedman’s presidential address in the evolution of macroeconomic thought By Reis, Ricardo; Mankiw, N. Gregory
  3. Economic History Goes Digital: Topic Modeling the Journal of Economic History By Lino Wehrheim
  5. Shocking intellectual austerity: the role of ideas in the demise of the gold standard in Britain By Morrison, James Ashley
  6. On the enforcement value of soft correlated equilibrium for two-facility simple linear congestion games By Forgó, Ferenc
  7. Did Protestantism promote economic prosperity via higher human capital? By Edwards, Jeremy
  8. Happiness at work By De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel; Ward, George
  9. Framing Game Theory By Hitoshi Matsushima
  10. RELATIVE INCOME AND HAPPINESS By Nisachon Leerattanakorn
  11. Poverty’s Deconstruction: Beyond the Visible By Sumon Kumar Bhaumik; Ira N. Gang; Myeong-Su Yun
  12. An Economics Approach to Language Policy and Linguistic Justice By Bengt-Arne Wickström; Torsten Templin; Michele Gazzola
  13. Resisting neoliberalism? Movements against austerity and for democracy in Cairo, Athens and London By Ishkanian, Armine; Glasius, Marlies
  14. Book review: Marta Harnecker, A world to build: new paths toward twenty-first century socialism By Yaffe, Helen
  15. Don’t mess with my smokes: cigarettes and freedom By Bovens, Luc
  16. Can having internal locus of control insure against negative shocks? Psychological evidence from panel data By Buddelmeyer, Hielke; Powdthavee, Nattavudh

  1. By: Feld, Lars P.; Köhler, Ekkehard A.; Nientiedt, Daniel
    Abstract: Ordoliberalism is often accused as being responsible for Germany's policy stance during the Eurozone crisis. Ordoliberalism originates from the so-called Freiburg School of Economics, founded by Walter Eucken during the 1930s at the University of Freiburg, which is in fact in Germany. It is however neither true that ordoliberal thought has continuously been predominant and a prevailing idea in German macroeconomic policy, nor that it is responsible for Germany's policy stance during the crisis in EMU. In this paper, we show why a proper analysis must arrive at this conclusion by referring to Eucken's thinking and the development of German ordoliberalism across time in relation to the "Rules vs. Discretion" debate and to Constitutional Economics. Although ordoliberalism may have had some influence on the design of EMU, pragmatism, the status-quo and national interests are dominant in German economic policy.
    Keywords: Ordoliberalism,Eurozone Crisis,Constitutional Economics,Monetary and Fiscal Policy
    JEL: B13 B26 B31 D78 E61 E63
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Reis, Ricardo; Mankiw, N. Gregory
    Abstract: This essay discusses the role of Milton Friedman’s presidential address to the American Economic Association, which was given a half century ago and helped set the stage for modern macroeconomics. We discuss where macroeconomics was before the address, what insights Friedman offered, where researchers and central bankers stand today on these issues, and (most speculatively) where we may be heading in the future.
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2017–11–06
  3. By: Lino Wehrheim
    Abstract: Digitization and computer science have established a whole new set of methods to analyze large collections of texts. One of these methods is particularly promising for economic historians: topic models, statistical algorithms that automatically infer themes from large collections of texts. In this article, I present an introduction to topic modeling and give a very first review on the research using topic models. I illustrate their capacity by applying them on 2.675 articles published in the Journal of Economic History between 1941 and 2016. This contributes to traditional research on the JEH and to current research on the cliometric revolution.
    Keywords: Economic History, Topic Models, Latent Dirichlet Allocation, Cliometrics, Digitization, Methodology
    JEL: A12 C18 N01
    Date: 2017–11
  4. By: Humberto Barreto (Department of Economics and Management, DePauw University)
    Abstract: The primary ideas in Piketty’s Capital should be incorporated into the economics curriculum. Unfortunately, its theoretical foundation—the Solow Model—when conventionally taught with a Solow diagram or analytical solution, is beyond the reach of the typical undergraduate. The model, however, can be effectively presented via simulation, with steady-state and comparative statics properties directly observed. A single, standalone, macro-enhanced Excel workbook, Capital.xlsm, is all that is needed to teach the main ideas in Piketty’s Capital. Download it here or from this direct link: lsm
    Keywords: inequality, simulation, Excel, income distribution, Solow Model, economic growth
    JEL: A10 A20 J10
    Date: 2017–11
  5. By: Morrison, James Ashley
    Abstract: Britain's 1931 suspension of the gold standard remains one of the most shocking policy shifts of the past century. Conventional explanations focus on changing international conditions alongside the rise of social democracy: when Britons refused to shoulder the increasing costs of defending the exchange rate, the Bank of England was “forced” to abandon the gold standard. This article refocuses attention on policy-makers’ causal ideas at critical moments. Drawing on numerous primary sources held in several archives, it reveals a cleavage within the Bank over the appropriate response to the flight from sterling. Following the nervous collapse of the Bank's governor, the deputy governor shifted the Bank's strategy from making defensive rate hikes to pursuing fiscal austerity. He then “temporarily” suspended gold convertibility in a gambit to forestall the election he (incorrectly) assumed would unseat the gold standard's supporters in Parliament. When the unintended experiment with a managed float proved successful, Keynes was able to persuade policy-makers to embrace the new exchange rate regime.
    JEL: F3 G3
    Date: 2016–01–01
  6. By: Forgó, Ferenc
    Abstract: Exact enforcement values (Ashlagi I, Monderer D and Tennenholz M (2008) Journal of Artificial Intelligence 33:575-613) of soft correlated equilibrium (Forgó F (2010) Mathematical Social Sciences 60:186-190) for non-decreasing and mixed two-facility simple linear congestion games (including n-person chicken and prisoners' dilemma games) are determined and found to be 1 and 2, respectively. For non-inreasing two-facility simple linear congestion games lower and upper bounds are given for the enforcement value. The upper bound 1,265625 is significantly better than the previously known 1,333
    Keywords: soft correlated equilibrium, congestion games, chicken game, prisoners' dilemma, enforcement value
    JEL: C72
    Date: 2017–11–20
  7. By: Edwards, Jeremy
    Abstract: This paper investigates the Becker-Woessmann (2009) argument that Protestants were more prosperous in nineteenth-century Prussia because they were more literate, a version of the Weber thesis, and shows that it cannot be sustained. The econometric analysis on which Becker and Woessman based their argument is fundamentally flawed, because their instrumental variable does not satisfy the exclusion restriction. When an appropriate instrumental-variable specification is used, the evidence from nineteenth-century Prussia rejects the human-capital version of the Weber thesis put forward by Becker and Woessmann.
    Keywords: Human capital, Protestantism, economic history, instrumental variables
    JEL: C26 I20 N33 Z12
    Date: 2017–08
  8. By: De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel; Ward, George
    Abstract: Happiness is typically defined by how people experience and evaluate their lives as a whole. Since the majority of people spend much of their lives at work, it is critically important to gain a solid understanding of the role that employment and the workplace play in shaping happiness for individuals and communities around the world. In this paper, we focus largely on the role of work and employment in shaping people’s happiness, and investigate how employment status, job type, and workplace characteristics relate to measures of subjective wellbeing
    Keywords: subjective wellbeing; employment; job type; job characteristics
    JEL: R14 J01
    Date: 2017–03
  9. By: Hitoshi Matsushima (Department of Economics, University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: An economic agent (player) sometimes fails to correct hypothetical (contingent) thinking, which may increase the occurrence of anomalies in various economic situations. This paper demonstrates a method to encourage such a boundedly rational player to practice correct hypothetical thinking in strategic situations with imperfect information. We introduce a concept termed “frame†as a description of a synchronized cognitive procedure, through which a player decides multiple actions in a step-by-step manner, shaping his (or her) strategy selection as a whole. We could regard a frame as a supposedly irrelevant factor from the viewpoint of full rationality. However, this paper theoretically shows that in a multi-unit auction with private values, the ascending proxy auction has a significant advantage over the second-price auction in terms of the boundedly rational players' incentive to practice correct hypothetical thinking, because of the difference, not in physical rule, but in background frame, between these auction formats. By designing frames appropriately, we generally show that any static game that is solvable in iteratively undominated strategies is also solvable even if players cannot practice correct hypothetical thinking without the help of a well-designed frame.
    Date: 2017–11
  10. By: Nisachon Leerattanakorn (Maejo University)
    Abstract: Most of the literature confirms link between relative real income and happiness, but few research study the link of income perception. This empirical study aims to investigate the linkage between relative income and happiness. We conducted a survey and then estimated happiness using the ordered logit model. Results showed that individual happiness is not only related to absolute relative income, but is also associated with the attitude toward relative income in two dimensions, namely, individual?s needs and compared with those of other people. Moreover, self-esteem, trust, and community specification factors can influence individual happiness. Policy implication should concern real inequality together with perception on inequality.
    Keywords: Happiness, Well-being, Relative income, Attitude, Thailand
    JEL: A12 D01 I31
    Date: 2017–10
  11. By: Sumon Kumar Bhaumik (Sheffield University Management School); Ira N. Gang (Rutgers University); Myeong-Su Yun (Inha University)
    Abstract: In contrast to his contribution to other areas, Shubhashis Gangopadhyay’s contributions to our understanding of poverty are often thought of as indirect consequences of the main themes of his work. Yet in more than 15 published papers Gangopadhyay directly takes on poverty, including its estimate and understanding its sources. Our contribution honours Gangopadhyay’s work in this area by outlining an approach useful in deconstructing the changes and differences in the likelihood of poverty incidence. We highlight how far it can take us, and how it still leaves us far short of understanding much of what drives poverty.
    Keywords: poverty incidence, headcount ratio, probit decomposition, capabilities approach
    JEL: C20 I30
    Date: 2017–11–20
  12. By: Bengt-Arne Wickström; Torsten Templin; Michele Gazzola
    Abstract: The essay gives an overview of how language planning and language policy can be motivated and analyzed by economic methods. It is discussed what type of value language-related goods possess and what type of goods they are. Properties like degrees of rivalry, exclusion, and shielding and how they can justify language planning are treated. A cots-benefit approach to language planning is suggested and critically discussed. Especially the structure of costs and its significance for the cost-benefit analysis is scrutinized. It is shown that the cost structure has some clear implications for practical language planning. Finally, the focus is directed towards distributional issues related to language policy.
    Keywords: language planning, language policy, cost-benefit analysis
    JEL: D61
    Date: 2017
  13. By: Ishkanian, Armine; Glasius, Marlies
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2017–10–30
  14. By: Yaffe, Helen
    JEL: B14 B24 P2 P3
    Date: 2016
  15. By: Bovens, Luc
    Abstract: Considerations of objective-value freedom and status freedom do impose constraints on policies that restrict access to cigarettes. As to the objective-value freedom, something of value is lost when anti-alcohol policies lead to pub closures interfering with valued life styles, and a similar, though weaker, argument can be made for cigarettes. As to status freedom, non-arbitrariness requires consultation with vulnerable populations to learn what might aid them with smoking cessation.
    JEL: B14 B24 P2 P3
    Date: 2016–06–13
  16. By: Buddelmeyer, Hielke; Powdthavee, Nattavudh
    Abstract: We investigate whether the intensity of emotional pain following a negative shock is different across the distribution of a person's locus of control – the extent to which individuals believe that their actions can influence future outcomes. Using panel data from Australia, we show that individuals with strong internal locus of control are psychologically insured against own and others’ serious illness or injury, close family member detained in jail, becoming a victim of property crime and death of a close friend, but not against the majority of other life events. The buffering effects vary across gender. Our findings thus add to the existing literature on the benefits of internal locus of control.
    Keywords: locus of control; resilience; well-being; happiness; HILDA
    JEL: I19
    Date: 2015–12–24

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.
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