nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2018‒03‒05
eight papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Representations of Political Power Structures by Strategically Stable Game Forms: A Survey By Bezalel Peleg; Ron Holzman
  2. The Consumption Function: A New Perspective By Foster, John
  3. Deliberative Structures and their Impact on Voting Behavior under Social Conflict By Jordi Brandts; Leonie Gerhards; Lydia Mechtenberg
  4. The dynamical stability for an evolutionary language game under selection-mutation dynamics By Seigo Uchida; Masakazu Fukuzumi
  5. A Theory of Social Finance By Simon Cornée; Marc Jegers; Ariane Szafarz
  6. Regulatory Cycles: Revisiting the Political Economy of Financial Crises By Jihad Dagher
  7. CLASSES, CAPITAL AND THE SOCIAL FORMS IN BETWEEN - On the political and intellectual organization of the contradiction By Leonardo Ferreira Guimarães
  8. A bright future for financial agent-based models By J. Lussange; A. Belianin; S. Bourgeois-Gironde; B. Gutkin

  1. By: Bezalel Peleg; Ron Holzman
    Abstract: We survey the results on representations of committees and constitutions by game forms that possess some kind of equilibrium strategies for each profile of preferences of the players. The survey is restricted to discrete models, that is, we deal with finitely many players and alternatives. No prior knowledge of social choice is assumed: As far as definitions are concerned, the paper is self-contained. Section 2 supplies the necessary general tools for the rest of the paper. Each definition is followed by a simple (but nontrivial) example. In Section 3 we give a complete account of representations of committees (proper and monotonic simple games), by exactly and strongly consistent social choice functions. We start with Peleg's representations of weak games, and then provide a complete and detailed account of Holzman's solution of the representation problem for simple games without veto players. In Section 4 we deal with representations of constitutions by game forms. Following Gärdenfors we model a constitution by a monotonic and super additive effectivity function. We fully characterize the representations for three kinds of equilibrium: Nash equilibrium; acceptable equilibrium (Pareto optimal Nash equilibrium); and strong Nash equilibrium. We conclude in Section 5 with a report on two recent works on representations of constitutions under incomplete information.
    Date: 2018–02
  2. By: Foster, John
    Abstract: The behaviour of aggregate consumption is conventionally understood from the perspective of the permanent income and life cycle hypotheses. Both of these hypotheses are deduced from the theory of constrained optimization as applied to a ‘representative agent’ that consumes and saves. An alternative way of understanding aggregate consumption expenditure is to see it as primarily a systemic outcome of the adoption of widely upheld rules (‘meso-rules’) that enable trading and contracting in a complex economic system. Such systems require order to function but they must also adapt and evolve. Correspondingly, aggregate consumption can be viewed as being determined by two contrasting historical processes: one involves an aggregation of pre-committed, rule-bound choices and the other open-ended aspirational choices of novel products. Both of these processes are influenced by economic incentives. This is the domain of neoclassical economic theory and it is found that such theorising can tell us a great deal once it is set in its proper historical context. Although a modern complex system perspective derived from the natural sciences is adopted, it is embedded in economic thinking. For example, connections are made to the insights and intuitions of Alfred Marshall, Joseph Schumpeter, Simon Kuznets, Friedrich Hayek and Maynard Keynes. What we understand from them, along with modern complex system analysis, is that, although it is individual decisions that are fundamental in any economic system, it cannot be the case that what we observe at the aggregate level just reflects the optimization decision of a representative agent. As Hayek observed, the role of individual is much more complex and important than this. Using half a century of data, the US consumption function is modelled successfully on the presumption that the economy is a complex system in which there has been the diffusion of a ‘culture of consumerism’ in the post-war era. This has involved the increasing adoption of a particular bundle of meso rules and this has resulted in a steadily increasing ratio of consumption to GDP that has been tending towards a limit. It was found that variables and perspectives drawn from neoclassical economic theory are important in explaining variations in the growth of aggregate consumption.
    Keywords: consumption function, macroeconomics, US
    JEL: E0 E00 E1 E10 E2 E21 E6 E60
    Date: 2018–02–06
  3. By: Jordi Brandts; Leonie Gerhards; Lydia Mechtenberg
    Abstract: Inequalities in democracies are multi-faceted. They not only incorporate differences in economic opportunities, but also differences in access to information and social influence. In a lab experiment, we study the interaction of these inequalities to provide a better understanding of socio-political tensions in modern societies. We identify the tragedy of the elite, the dilemma that privileged access to information about a fundamental state that mediates political conflict creates lying incentives for the better informed. In our experiment, an electorate consists of two groups, one informed and one uninformed about an uncertain state of the world. Incentives depend on this state. Before voting the two groups can communicate. We study four different communication protocols which vary the access to communication channels of the two groups and are meant to represent societies with different degrees of openness. We hypothesize that the deliberative structures affect group identities, preferences, and voting. Our observed outcomes largely coincide with those predicted by our theoretical analysis.
    Keywords: communication, social conflict, Inequality
    JEL: C92 D91
    Date: 2018–02
  4. By: Seigo Uchida; Masakazu Fukuzumi
    Abstract: We present complete results pertaining to the dynamical stability for sender-receiver games following Lewis (1969), and Nowak and Krakauer (1999) under the selection-mutation dynamics. Our research reveals that two distinct classes of neutrally stable strategies have a distinguishing feature of the dynamic stability. The rest points close to the strategies of these classes are asymptotically stable and all rest points other than these are not.Length: 47 pages
    Date: 2017–10
  5. By: Simon Cornée (Univ Rennes, CREM, CNRS, UMR 6211, F-35000 Rennes, France, and CERMi); Marc Jegers (Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Department of Applied Economics, Belgium); Ariane Szafarz (Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), SBS-EM, CEB, and CERMi, Belgium)
    Abstract: Myriad different types of institutions are involved in social finance. This paper attempts to make sense of the diverse ways of operationalizing the delivery of funds by social financial institutions (SFIs). It explores the continuum of feasible SFIs, which range from foundations offering pure grants to social banks supplying soft loans. The in-between category includes “quasi-foundations” granting loans that require partial repayment only. In our model, the SFIs face information asymmetries and trade off costly social screening against social contributions, under the budget constraint that depends on the generosity of their funders. We characterize the SFIs’ optimal strategy and suggest that quasi-foundations can be efficient vehicles for social finance, especially when social screening costs are relatively low.
    Keywords: Social Finance, Philanthropy, Foundations, Social Banks
    JEL: G21 D63 G24 H25
    Date: 2018–02
  6. By: Jihad Dagher
    Abstract: Financial crises are traditionally analyzed as purely economic phenomena. The political economy of financial booms and busts remains both under-emphasized and limited to isolated episodes. This paper examines the political economy of financial policy during ten of the most infamous financial booms and busts since the 18th century, and presents consistent evidence of pro-cyclical regulatory policies by governments. Financial booms, and risk-taking during these episodes, were often amplified by political regulatory stimuli, credit subsidies, and an increasing light-touch approach to financial supervision. The regulatory backlash that ensues from financial crises can only be understood in the context of the deep political ramifications of these crises. Post-crisis regulations do not always survive the following boom. The interplay between politics and financial policy over these cycles deserves further attention. History suggests that politics can be the undoing of macro-prudential regulations.
    Date: 2018–01–15
  7. By: Leonardo Ferreira Guimarães
    Abstract: This working paper focusses on a rigorous and somewhat idiosyncratic exposition of the concepts of dialectics, determinations of reflection (or essentialities) and social forms, adopting a Marxist reading of Hegel’s Science of Logic. The objective of this focus is to address one of the elements highly common in debates between Marxists and post-structuralists e amongst Marxist themselves: the centrality of categories of the one (like Universality, necessity, identity and so on) or of the multiple (like particularity, contingency, difference etc). Hence, the focus of this work is on the centrality of reflexive or mutual determinations (essence, non-identical identity, contradictory unity and social forms). Initially, even though Marx and some Marxist authors had used the notion of social forms, none of them had this notion developed in itself. The specific developments of this notion: such as the value forms, commodity form, political and juridical social forms were explored by various authors and by Marx himself. But, in the literature review made for this research, it wasn’t found any conceptualization of the general notion. The concept of social form can be explored as a methodological resource to mediate those above-mentioned elements of the debates. For instance, to centralize the social forms is to centralize the negative and reflexive element when we discuss if it’s the capital and its tendency laws that make for the historical march or the class struggle and the political contingency. The focus is on the something that exists in-between, the objectivation process in itself, not in its extremes
    Keywords: Dialectics; Marxist method; Social Forms; Political Economy; Hegel-Marxrelation
    JEL: B40 B49 B51
    Date: 2017–12–22
  8. By: J. Lussange; A. Belianin; S. Bourgeois-Gironde; B. Gutkin
    Abstract: The history of research in finance and economics has been widely impacted by the field of Agent-based Computational Economics (ACE). While at the same time being popular among natural science researchers for its proximity to the successful methods of physics and chemistry for example, the field of ACE has also received critics by a part of the social science community for its lack of empiricism. Yet recent trends have shifted the weights of these general arguments and potentially given ACE a whole new range of realism. At the base of these trends are found two present-day major scientific breakthroughs: the steady shift of psychology towards a hard science due to the advances of neuropsychology, and the progress of artificial intelligence and more specifically machine learning due to increasing computational power and big data. These two have also found common fields of study in the form of computational neuroscience, and human-computer interaction, among others. We outline here the main lines of a computational research study of collective economic behavior via Agent-Based Models (ABM) or Multi-Agent System (MAS), where each agent would be endowed with specific cognitive and behavioral biases known to the field of neuroeconomics, and at the same time autonomously implement rational quantitative financial strategies updated by machine learning. We postulate that such ABMs would offer a whole new range of realism.
    Date: 2018–01

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