nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2019‒03‒11
four papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Rationality and Capitalist Schooling By Lambert, Thomas
  2. Hur ekonomisk historia blev en egen disciplin vid de svenska universiteten By Krantz, Olle
  3. A First French Episode in the Renewal of Nonlinear Theory of Economic Cycles (1978-1985) By Alain Raybaut
  4. Narratives About Technology-Induced Job Degradation Then and Now By Robert J. Shiller

  1. By: Lambert, Thomas
    Abstract: In the field of philosophy of mind, the concepts of rational behavior, rational choice theory, and instrumental rationality (the “practical reasoning” version of rationality) are important in trying to make statements and conclusions about human thinking and behavior in general. Rational choice theory is also considered a normative but not a descriptive or positive theory. Much of economic theory is based on the principle that economic agents usually or always behave rationally in maximizing the benefits and/or minimizing the costs of their decisions. Developments in behavioral economics over the last several decades have begun to question this principle with much of the questioning about rationality and rational behavior centering on whether individuals can correctly and adequately assess probabilities and risk/reward. The inability to correctly assess risk/reward limits rational behavior and can yield sub-optimal outcomes for economic agents. This exploratory paper examines the linkages between schooling in a capitalist society and limits on rationality in a monopoly capital economic system.
    Keywords: behavioral economics, capitalist schooling, monopoly capital, rationality, rational choice
    JEL: B51 I24
    Date: 2019–03–05
  2. By: Krantz, Olle (Umeå University)
    Abstract: Economic history became a discipline with its own chair professors at the Swedish universities at the end of the 1940s. The well-known economic historian Eli Heckscher played a central role for the establishment and his work led to a stronger position for economic history in Sweden than in most other countries. However, his influence was not strong in the formation of the discipline. He always emphasized use of economic theory as essential for the economic-historical methodology. Nevertheless, traditional historical methods became dominating; historians –except for Heckscher –were experts at the appointments of the professors and all candidates were educated in history. Economists were not interested in promoting economic history. Thus, Heckscher’s methodological views did not gain acceptance and a bias towards traditional history came to dominate for a long time. In the 1960s, however, interest in theoretical and quantitative methods increased but then, paradoxically, the inspiration came from the USA and not from Heckscher.
    Keywords: ekonomisk historia; nationalekonomi; historia; ekonomisk teori; preceptorat; professur; sakkunniga
    JEL: N01
    Date: 2019–02–28
  3. By: Alain Raybaut (Université Côte d'Azur, CNRS, GREDEG, France)
    Abstract: This paper focusses on a first episode in the renewal of nonlinear economic dynamics in France that develops at Cepremap in the late 70s and the early 80s. These contributions refer to the non-Walrasian perspective and the Keynes-Kaldor tradition building on emerging mathematical advances on bifurcation theory and chaotic dynamics of mappings on the interval, developed notably at the same time by French scholars in dynamical systems. These developments contribute directly to further and systematic investigations, albeit within the different analytical framework of the OLG model, on endogenous cycles and complex dynamics.
    Keywords: Endogenous business cycle theory, Nonlinear dynamics, Non-Walrasian and Kaldorian macrodynamics
    Date: 2019–02
  4. By: Robert J. Shiller (Cowles Foundation, Yale University)
    Abstract: Concerns that technological progress degrades job opportunities have been expressed over much of the last two centuries by both professional economists and the general public. These concerns can be seen in narratives both in scholarly publications and in the news media. Part of the expressed concern about jobs has been about the potential for increased economic inequality. But another part of the concern has been about a perceived decline in job quality in terms of its effects on monotony vs creativity of work, individual sense of identity, power to act independently, and meaning of life. Public policy should take account of both of these concerns, inequality and job quality.
    Keywords: Labor-saving machines, Artificial intelligence, History of thought, Division of labor, Unemployment, Automation, Robotics
    JEL: N3 J0 B0 E2
    Date: 2019–02

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