nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2019‒03‒25
fifteen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. The Pizza Night Game: Efficiency, Conflict and Inequality in Tacit Bargaining Games with Focal Points By Andrea Isoni; Robert Sugden; Jiwei Zheng
  2. The (In)Elasticity of Moral Ignorance By Marta Serra-Garcia; Nora Szech
  3. Sraffa on Marshall's Theory of Value in the Cambridge Lectures: Achievements in an Unfinished Criticism By Trezzini, Attilio
  4. Values of Economists Matter in the Art and Science of Economics By van Dalen, Harry
  5. Whither Economic History ?: Between Narratives and Quantification By Pamfili Antipa; Vincent Bignon
  6. When do people exploit moral wiggle room? An experimental analysis in a market setup By Katharina Momsen; Markus Ohndorf
  7. Partial Norms By Giovanna d’Adda; Martin Dufwenberg; Francesco Passarelli; Guido Tabellini
  8. Comparative analysis of agrarian theories, ideologies, rural development institutions By Nikulin, Alexander (Никулин, Александр)
  9. Peregrinations of an Economist: Perroux's Grand Tour of Fascist Europe By Nicolas Brisset; Raphaël Fèvre
  10. What have we done? The impact of choosing and studying different academic disciplines on beliefs and values By Maité Laméris; Pierre-Guillaume Méon; Anne-Marie Van Prooijen
  11. Why the Fuss? - Friedman (1968) After Fifty Years By David Laidler
  13. Transformation of what? Or: The socio-ecological transformation of working society By Barth, Thomas; Jochum, Georg; Littig, Beate
  14. A theory of predatory welfare state and citizen welfare: the french case By Philippe Batifoulier; Nicolas Da Silva; Mehrdad Vahabi
  15. J. S. Mill's Liberal Principle and Unanimity By Edward J. Green

  1. By: Andrea Isoni (Warwick Business School); Robert Sugden (University of East Anglia); Jiwei Zheng (University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: We report the results of a new tacit bargaining experiment that provides two key insights on the effects of payoff inequality on coordination and cooperation towards mutually beneficial outcomes. The experiment features the novel Pizza Night game, which can disentangle the effects of payoff inequality from those of conflict of interest. When coordination relies on focal points based on labelling properties, payoff inequality does not interfere with the successful use of those properties. When coordination results in mutual benefit, payoff inequality is not an obstacle to the realisation of efficiency. Conflict of interest is the main barrier to successful coordination.
    Keywords: Pizza Night game, tacit bargaining, conflict of interest, payoff inequality, focal points
    JEL: C72 C78 C91
    Date: 2018–05
  2. By: Marta Serra-Garcia (University of California, San Diego); Nora Szech (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie)
    Abstract: We investigate the elasticity of moral ignorance with respect to monetary incentives and social norm information. We propose that individuals suffer from higher moral costs when rejecting a certain donation, and thus pay for moral ignorance. Consistent with our model, we find significant willingness to pay for ignorance, which we calibrate against morally neutral benchmark treatments. We show that the demand curve for moral ignorance exhibits a sharp kink, of about 50 percent, when moving from small negative to small positive monetary incentives. By contrast, while social norms strongly favor information acquisition, they have little impact on curbing moral ignorance.
    Keywords: information avoidance, morality, unethical behavior, social norms
    JEL: D83 D91 C91
    Date: 2019–03
  3. By: Trezzini, Attilio (Roma Tre University)
    Abstract: In his Cambridge lectures, Sraffa argues that classical political economy and marginalist economics present two alternative theoretical structures. This was a major achievement reached during the preparation of the lectures. The understanding of these two theoretical structures was however still unfinished: as known, he had already identified the need for simultaneous determination of prices and distribution - a result comprehensibly not made explicit in the lectures; but the critical implications of this result for the interpretation of Marshall's position were probably not yet evident to Sraffa. He in fact still accepted the Marshallian thesis that classical political economy and marginalist economics identified two single alternative “ultimate standards of value”. Sraffa’s failure to also overcome this limitation of the debate on the ultimate standard bears witness to his, albeit critical, initial adherence to the Marshallian theoretical framework. The road towards Production of Commodities was open but still unfinished.
    Keywords: Sraffa; Piero Sraffa Papers; Marshall; Theory of costs.
    JEL: B12 B13 B24 B31
    Date: 2019–03
  4. By: van Dalen, Harry (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: What role do personal values play in the practice of economists? By means of a survey among economists working inside and outside academia in the Netherlands, we present novel insights on their personal values, how these differ from the average citizen, and how values impact their economic views and their methodological choices. Three overarching values summarize the value structure of economists: achievement, serving the public interest, and conformity to rules. Subsequent tests are performed to see whether these values affect (1) their opinion on economic propositions and (2) their attitudes towards methodological principles in economics. For the majority of economic propositions, personal values matter. Especially the value of serving the public interest has a strong effect on their economic view. Furthermore, it seems that economists who value achievement are the ones who are more likely to embrace mainstream methodological principles: thinking predominantly in terms of efficiency, rationality, and competition, believing that economic knowledge is objective and transparently produced and in agreement with Milton Friedman’s view on positive economics. Female economists are at some notable points less convinced of market solutions and have more trust in the government in serving the public interest.
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Pamfili Antipa (Département d'économie); Vincent Bignon (Banque de France)
    Abstract: Macroeconomic analysis is not just a game of equations; it is a narrative of the real. We argue in this article for a re-evaluation of the importance of narratives. Because each financial crisis is a unique event, the narrative is the natural form of analysis. In addition, the effects of economic policies can no longer be analysed independently of the narratives appropriated by economic agents (Schiller, 2017) and policy makers (Friedman and Schwartz, 1963). There is a twofold value in adding the historical dimension. Economic history is instructive by multiplying case studies, i.e. by increasing the variety of policy successes and failures analysed. History also loosens the shackles of our preconceptions, since comparing the past and present calls into question the exceptional nature of what we are living.
    Keywords: Economic history; Cliometrics; Narrative; Economic policy
    Date: 2018–01
  6. By: Katharina Momsen; Markus Ohndorf
    Abstract: We investigate if decision makers exploit moral wiggle room in green market set- tings. We therefore implement a laboratory experiment in which subjects purchase products associated with externalities. In six between-subjects treatments, we alter the availability of information on the externalities, the price of revealing information as well as the nature of the externality, which could either affect another subject or change the amount spent by the experimenters on carbon offsets. We find that subjects do not exploit moral wiggle room when revealing information is costless. When a very small cost of revealing information is introduced, their behavior de- pends on the relation between prices and externalities. In situations in which it is relatively cheap to have a large impact on the recipient’s payoff, subjects exploit moral wiggle room in order to choose selfishly. For other parametrizations, subjects behave either honestly egoistically or altruistically.
    Keywords: Information avoidance, experiment, carbon offsets, moral wiggle room, ethical consumption
    JEL: C91 D12 D64 D89 Q50
    Date: 2019–03
  7. By: Giovanna d’Adda; Martin Dufwenberg; Francesco Passarelli; Guido Tabellini
    Abstract: We consider an expanded notion of social norms that render them belief-dependent and partial, formulate a series of related testable predictions, and design an experiment based on a variant of the dictator game that tests for empirical relevance. Main results: Normative beliefs influence generosity, as predicted. Degree of partiality leads to more dispersion in giving behavior, as predicted. Keywords: Social norms, partial norms, normative expectations, consensus, experiment. JEL codes: C91, D91
    Date: 2019
  8. By: Nikulin, Alexander (Никулин, Александр) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)
    Abstract: In recent years, the focus of agrarian research has shifted from peasant studies to agrarian and environmental practices, which eliminates the gap between macroeconomic programs and microeconomic realities of rural life and reduces the intensity of the struggle of competing ideologies (liberal, populist, marxist, postmodern, etc.) by withdrawing the study of agricultural practices from political-economic domain into historiographical theorizing and economic modeling. To confirm this thesis, the preprint identifies general trends in the development of key modern agrarian theories and ideologies and theoretical-methodological foundations of the comparative agrarian analysis, and presents the case of the Brazilian social-economic boom as determined by a complex combination of local and regional agrarian and rural development strategies.
    Date: 2019–03
  9. By: Nicolas Brisset (Université Côte d'Azur, France; GREDEG CNRS); Raphaël Fèvre (University of Cambridge; POLIS)
    Abstract: This article examines Perroux's intellectual career, from the interwar period to the Vichy period, in the light of his Grand Tour of European authoritarian regimes. By assessing Perroux's singular analysis of the Italian, German, Austrian and Portuguese regimes, we will illuminate how Perroux used foreign fascist experi-ences to speak about France and the organization of Europe as a whole. Ultimate-ly, by analysis Perroux's thoughts it will enable us to develop our understanding of how the Vichy regime perceived itself, and can, thus, contribute to recent debates concerning the ideological nature—fascist or not—of the Vichy regime.
    Keywords: Fascisms, Travels, Vichy, François Perroux
    JEL: B41 B26
    Date: 2019–03
  10. By: Maité Laméris; Pierre-Guillaume Méon; Anne-Marie Van Prooijen
    Abstract: In this paper, we examine the effect of studying business on the beliefs and values of students, carefully distinguishing between self-selection in the discipline and socialization during the first year of study. Using a survey of students in a leading Belgian business school, we observe significant differences between business students and students from other disciplines at the start of their first year in both their beliefs and values. We also discover that these differences persist or are reinforced at the end of the year. Moreover, we find changes in values of business students that take only one year to manifest. Furthermore, we find that business students over the course of the first year change their beliefs more than students from other disciplines. Accordingly, we report evidence of self-selection and socialization effects on both the values and beliefs of a typical business student. Moreover, we observe that while some values and beliefs of business students change over time, we do not observe changes for economics students. This suggests that the effect of studying business is not entirely driven by the role of economics in business studies.
    Keywords: University education; Business and economics studies; Beliefs; Values
    JEL: A13 A20 D63
    Date: 2019–03–07
  11. By: David Laidler (University of Western Ontario)
    Abstract: Friedman’s Presidential Address was about “The Role of Monetary Policy†. Its famous discussion of inflation-unemployment inter-relationships was subservient to this broader topic. The program it promoted influenced monetary policy in the ‘70s and early ‘80s with mixed results, but enough of it survived to be a clearly visible influence on today’s inflation-targeting regimes.
    Date: 2018
  12. By: Artem V. Efimov (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is finding a method of calculating or at least reliably estimating the money supply in the 1710s’ Russia. The estimation is based on Gresham’s Law that states: “Bad money drive out good money.” The “good” and “bad” monies of Petrine era are identified. I argue that the “good” money was driven out by 1705 and, therefore, the emission of “bad” money in 1705–10 increased money supply. The increase is estimated to be about 40 percent. This conclusion calls for a further investigation of price dynamics of the period to determine effects of the increase.
    Keywords: Peter the Great’s reforms, monetary reform, money supply
    JEL: N1
    Date: 2019
  13. By: Barth, Thomas (Institute for Sociology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany); Jochum, Georg (School of Governance, Technical University of Munich, Germany); Littig, Beate (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Austria)
    Abstract: The critical strand of the current sustainability discourse often refers to Karl Polanyi's work "The Great Transformation" (e.g. “World in Transition – A Social Contract for Sustainability”, German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), 2011). However, this reference is usually shortened, since in particular Polanyi's remarks about the commodification of labor are disregarded. Overall, work still plays a marginal role in the entire sustainability discourse. Consequently analytical as well as transformative potential remains unused. In our paper we want to put work into the center of the reflections on transformation and outline ways of a socio-ecological transformation towards a sustainable work society. For Polanyi the marketization of work and nature was in the center of his analysis of industrial society. He argues that market societies are constituted by two opposing movements - the laissez-faire movement to expand the scope of the market, and the protective countermovement that emerges to resist the disembedding of the economy. Thus transformation concepts which refer to Polanyi have to focus on the socio-ecological transformation of the working society. Accordingly, it is not just an energy turnaround as often argued, but a “work turnaround” that needs to be at the center of the (sustainability-oriented) transformation debate, which finally involves the re-embedding of the markets into society and the ecosystems. Summing up our arguments, we come to the conclusion that dominant sustainability-oriented transformation concepts fail (e.g. decarbonization, green economy), since they primarily aim at the ecological reorientation of market mechanisms. We argue that the initial point of the fundamental transformation of social relations and of social relations with nature is the (re-)organization of work. A transition to sustainability means in other words, reconceptualizing the global world of work by redefining the concept of work itself and its structural (e.g. the gendered and global division of work, paid/unpaid work, technological innovations) and institutional foundations (e.g. the role of the state). Exploring sustainable work provides a concrete basis for talking about both the direction of this transformation and the way to get there.
    Keywords: Societal-nature relationships, labor, Polanyi, sustainability, transformation research, commodification, work turnaround
    Date: 2019–02
  14. By: Philippe Batifoulier (Centre d'Economie de l'Université de Paris Nord (CEPN)); Nicolas Da Silva (Centre d'Economie de l'Université de Paris Nord (CEPN)); Mehrdad Vahabi (Centre d'Economie de l'Université de Paris Nord (CEPN))
    Abstract: In this paper, we argue that the welfare state is an outcome of modern mass (total) warfare. The total war economy requires the participation of all citizens, erasing the difference between the military and citizens. Consequently, the war economy benefits from supporting the civilian population. The total war effect explains why a predatory state undertakes welfare programs. This is one of the contributions of the present paper. While welfare state is closely related to total warfare, social welfare is not. Fraternal social welfare in the United States preceded the New Deal and the rise of welfare state. Similarly, the French welfare system was born as citizen welfare and not state welfare. In fact, welfare programs were initiated in 1871 during the Paris Commune by workers under the name of la sociale, and it was established as a self-managed citizen welfare in 1945 before being displaced by government welfare programs. A second contribution of this paper is to explore the reappropriating effect or the way self-managed citizen welfare was transformed into a welfare state through a three stage process of reforms in 1946, 1967, and 1996.
    Keywords: Citizen welfare, La Sociale, Predatory state, State reappropriation effect, Total war effect, Welfare state
    JEL: D6 D74 H1 H53 N4 O1
    Date: 2019–03
  15. By: Edward J. Green
    Abstract: The broad concept of an individual's welfare is actually a cluster of related specific concepts that bear a "family resemblance" to one another. One might care about how a policy will affect people both in terms of their subjective preferences and also in terms of some notion of their objective interests. This paper provides a framework for evaluation of policies in terms of welfare criteria that combine these two considerations. Sufficient conditions are provided for such a criterion to imply the same ranking of social states as does Pareto's unanimity criterion. Sufficiency is proved via study of a community of agents with interdependent ordinal preferences.
    Date: 2019–03

This nep-hpe issue is ©2019 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.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.