nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2019‒07‒08
nine papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Federal Reserve Structure, Economic Ideas, and Monetary and Financial Policy By Bordo, Michael D.; Prescott, Edward Simpson
  2. Skill Mismatch and Skill Transferability: Review of Concepts and Measurements By Ljubica Nedelkoska; Frank Neffke
  3. Market Interaction and the Focus on Consequences in Moral Decision Making By Nana Adrian, Ann-Kathrin Crede, Jonas Gehrlein
  4. The Nucleolus, the Kernel, and the Bargaining Set: An Update By Iñarra García, María Elena; Serrano, Roberto; Shimomura, Ken-Ichi
  5. Book Review: Samuel Bowles The Moral Economy: Why Good Incentives Are No Substitute for Good Citizens, Reviewed by: Javed Ahmad Khan مراجعة علمية لكتاب: الاقتصاد الأخلاقي: لماذا الحوافز الجيدة ليست بديلاً للمواطنين الجيدين - المؤلف: سامويل باولز - مراجعة : جاويد أحمد خان By Javed Ahmad Khan
  7. La neuroéconomie en question : débats et controverses By Daniel Serra
  8. Does Culture Matter? A Test of the Harrison Hypothesis By Colin A. Moore; Elizabeth Mubanga Chishimba; Paul N. Wilson
  9. Neuroeconomics and modern neuroscience By Daniel Serra

  1. By: Bordo, Michael D. (Rutgers University); Prescott, Edward Simpson (Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland)
    Abstract: The decentralized structure of the Federal Reserve System is evaluated as a mechanism for generating and processing new ideas on monetary and financial policy. The role of the Reserve Banks starting in the 1960s is emphasized. The introduction of monetarism in the 1960s, rational expectations in the 1970s, credibility in the 1980s, transparency, and other monetary policy ideas by Reserve Banks into the Federal Reserve System is documented. Contributions by Reserve Banks to policy on bank structure, bank regulation, and lender of last resort are also discussed. We argue that the Reserve Banks were willing to support and develop new ideas due to internal reforms to the FOMC that Chairman William McChesney Martin implemented in the 1950s. Furthermore, the Reserve Banks were able to succeed at this because of their private-public governance structure, a structure set up in 1913 for a highly decentralized Federal Reserve System, but which survived the centralization of the System in the Banking Act of 1935. We argue that this role of the Reserve Banks is an important benefit of the Federal Reserve’s decentralized structure and contributes to better policy by allowing for more competition in ideas and reducing groupthink.
    Keywords: Federal Reserve System; monetary policy; financial regulation; governance;
    JEL: B0 E58 G28 H1
    Date: 2019–06–21
  2. By: Ljubica Nedelkoska; Frank Neffke
    Abstract: The notion of skills plays an increasingly important role in a variety of research fields. Since the foundational work on human capital theory, economists have approached skills through the lens of education, training and work experience, whereas early work in evolutionary economics and management stressed the analogy between skills of individuals and the organizational routines of firms. We survey how the concept of skills has evolved into notions such as skills mismatch, skill transferability and skill distance or skill relatedness in labor economics, management, and evolutionary approaches to economics and economic geography. We find that these disciplines converged in embracing increasingly sophisticated approaches to measuring skills. Economists have expanded their approach from quantifying skills in terms of years of education to measuring them more directly, using skill tests, self-reported skills and job tasks, or skills and job tasks reported by occupational experts. Others have turned to administrative and other large-scale data sets to infer skill similarities and complementarities from the careers of sometimes millions of workers. Finally, a growing literature on team human capital and skill complementarities has started thinking of skills as features of collectives, instead of only of individuals. At the same time, scholars in corporate strategy have studied the micro-determinants of team formation. Combined, the developments in both strands of research may pave the way to an understanding of how individual-level skills connect to firm-level routines.
    Keywords: Human capital, skills and tasks, skill relatedness, skill mismatch, skill transferability
    JEL: J24 J62 P25 L16
    Date: 2019–06
  3. By: Nana Adrian, Ann-Kathrin Crede, Jonas Gehrlein
    Abstract: There is a long ongoing debate on whether interaction in a market influences moral decisions of individuals. While some studies show that individuals tend to decide less morally when being exposed to a market environment, other studies argue that the experience of mar- ket interaction promotes moral behavior. We add to this discussion by distinguishing between two moral concepts: consequentialism and deontology. According to consequentialism, actions are evaluated only by their consequences. Contrary to that, deontology focuses solely on the morality of the action itself. We design an online experiment in order to investigate the e ect of market interaction on moral deci- sion making in a subsequent moral dilemma. Taking into account how markets make cost benefit considerations salient, we hypothesize that individuals are more likely to focus on consequences if they interacted in a market before.
    Keywords: Consequentialism, deontological motivations, double auction, salience, decision theory.
    JEL: D91 L1
    Date: 2019–05
  4. By: Iñarra García, María Elena; Serrano, Roberto; Shimomura, Ken-Ichi
    Abstract: One of David Schmeidler’s many important contributions in his distinguished career was the introduction of the nucleolus, one of the central single-valued solution concepts in cooperative game theory. This paper is an updated survey on the nucleolus and its two related supersolutions, i.e., the kernel and the bargaining set. As a first approach to these concepts, we refer the reader to the great survey by Maschler (1992); see also the relevant chapters in Peleg and Sudholter (2003). Building on the notes of four lectures on the nucleolus and the kernel delivered by one of the authors at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1999, we have updated Maschler’s survey by adding more recent contributions to the literature. Following a similar structure, we have also added a new section that covers the bargaining set. The nucleolus has a number of desirable properties, including nonemptiness, uniqueness, core selection, and consistency. The first way to understand it is based on an egalitarian principle among coalitions. However, by going over the axioms that characterize it, what comes across as important is its connection with coalitional stability, as formalized in the notion of the core. Indeed, if one likes a single-valued version of core stability that always yields a prediction, one should consider the nucleolus as a recommendation. The kernel, which contains the nucleolus, is based on the idea of “bilateral equilibrium” for every pair of players. And the bargaining set, which contains the kernel, checks for the credibility of objections coming from coalitions. In this paper, section 2 presents preliminaries, section 3 is devoted to the nucleolus, section 4 to the kernel, and section 5 to the bargaining set.
    Keywords: nucleolus, kernel, bargaining, set
    JEL: C71 C72
    Date: 2019–06
  5. By: Javed Ahmad Khan (Professor, Centre for West Asian Studies Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India)
    Abstract: The words ‘moral’ and ‘economy’ originated in the classical intellectual world and in Aristotle’s social theory; besides the politics and ethics, economy was the third domain of practical philosophy where excessive profit making and charging of interest were not the moral practices. However, in the middle of the eighteenth century, the ‘moral economy’ got separated from the morality, and turned out to be simply a religious concept. Defining the moral economy in the 21st century on the basis of goodness, fairness, and justice is something perplexing for the proponents of market economies. But can we ignore the moral basis in our ‘ordinary business’ of life? The book under review, The Moral Economy by Samuel Bowles raises several questions in this regard and tries to show that our basic human goodness is more effective in decision making than the financial incentives. The strength of this book lies in its using different case studies and behavioral experiments with evidence-based arguments on the workable economic and financial world of the 21st century. Islamic economics is based on morality and ethics. Thus, the purpose behind the review of this path breaking work is to understand its relevance to Islamic economics that has emerged as a new paradigm in recent decades. نشأت الكلمات "الأخلاق" و "الاقتصاد" في عالم الفكر الكلاسيكي وفي النظرية الاجتماعية لأرسطو؛ إلى جانب السياسة والأخلاقيات (ethics)، كان الاقتصاد هو المجال الثالث للفلسفة العملية أو التطبيقية، حيث كان يُنظر إلى الإفراط في تحقيق الربح والتعامل بالربا كممارسات غير أخلاقية. ومع ذلك، ففي منتصف القرن الثامن عشر، انفصل "الاقتصاد الأخلاقي" عن الأخلاق، وأصبحت الأخلاق مجرد مفهوم ديني. إن محاولة تعريف الاقتصاد الأخلاقي في القرن الحادي والعشرين على أساس الخير، والعدالة، والوسطية أمر "مثير للحيرة" بالنسبة لأنصار اقتصاديات السوق (الاقتصاد الليبرالي). لكن هل يمكننا تجاهل الأسس الأخلاقية في "أعمالنا العادية" في الحياة؟ إن الكتاب قيد المراجعة، "الاقتصاد الأخلاقي" لساموئيل باولز يثير العديد من الأسئلة في هذا الصدد، ويحاول أن يوضح أن الخيرية الأساسية المرتكزة في الفطر الإنسانية أكثر فاعلية في صنع القرار من الحوافز المالية. تكمن قوة الكتاب في استخدامه لدراسة حالات مختلفة ولتجارب سلوكية متنوعة مع حجج مستندة إلى أدلة مستمدة من عالم الاقتصاد والمال القابل للتطبيق في القرن الواحد والعشرين. يعتمد الاقتصاد الإسلامي على الأخلاق والقيم. ولذا، فإن الهدف من وراء مراجعة هذا الكتاب هو فهم علاقته بالاقتصاد الإسلامي التي برزت كنموذج جديد في العقود الأخيرة.
    Keywords: moral economy, social theory, ethics, good incentives, good citizens. الاقتصاد الأخلاقي، النظرية الاجتماعية، الأخلاقيات، الحوافز الجيدة، المواطنون الجيدون.
    Date: 2018–07
  6. By: Arthur Mustafin (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: This article is devoted to a reconstruction of Soviet discussions on long cycles based on an analysis of a wide range of unknown and little-known historiographical sources and archival materials. The role of discussions in the formation of assessments and ideas about long cycles is shown. In particular, we show that the controversy between Kondratiev and Gosplan about the economic development of the USSR had a noticeable effect on the negative evaluation of Kondratiev’s method for identifying long cycles. The study defines the relations between Kondratiev’s views on the problem of long cycles and his probabilistic-statistical approach to the analysis of society.
    Keywords: long waves, Kondratiev cycles, pre-industrial economy, grain prices, time series analysis.
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2019
  7. By: Daniel Serra (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - FRE2010 - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier)
    Abstract: As any nascent discipline, neuroeconomics raises many questions. The article reports on the main debates and controversies that neuroeconomics has aroused in the literature. Three major issues relating to the status of knowledge produced are addressed. Are results reliable? Are they scientifically legitimate? What is their usefulness for an economist? This framework allows to assess the main criticisms addressed to neuroeconomics and the nature of the parades which can be deployed.
    Abstract: Comme toute discipline émergente, la neuroéconomie soulève bon nombre de questions donnant lieu à débats et controverses. L'article en rend compte en les regroupant autour de trois questions majeures qui portent sur le statut des connaissances à ce jour produites : Des connaissances certaines ? Des connaissances scientifiquement justifiées ? Des connaissances utiles à l'économiste ? Sans prétendre à l'exhaustivité, ce cadre d'analyse permet d'apprécier les lignes de force des principales critiques adressées à la neuroéconomie en même temps que la nature des parades susceptibles d'être déployées
    Keywords: Neuroéconomie,economie comportementale,economie expérimentale,méthodologie économique,epistémologie scientifique
    Date: 2019
  8. By: Colin A. Moore; Elizabeth Mubanga Chishimba; Paul N. Wilson
    Abstract: This study utilizes unique data from the World Values Survey to test the hypothesis that fatalism and the practice of the Golden Rule influence the economic development of nations. We use standard econometric models that account for endogeneity to understand the relative roles of culture, productivity, institutions, and geography in explaining human flourishing. Our analysis supports Harrison’s cultural hypothesis and demonstrates that fatalism and altruism’s explanatory powers, in our full model, are no less powerful than productivity, institutions, and geography in explaining economic performance. However, transforming existing fatalistic and altruistic attitudes in a positive direction using public policy to provide greater support for human flourishing may prove more challenging than overcoming other development constraints.
    Keywords: International Development
    Date: 2019–06–28
  9. By: Daniel Serra (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - FRE2010 - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - UM - Université de Montpellier - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier)
    Abstract: The paper is an overview of the main significant advances in the knowledge of brain functioning by modern neuroscience that have contributed to the emergence of neuroeconomics and its rise over the past two decades. These advances are grouped over three non-independent topics referred to as the "emo-rational" brain, "social" brain, and "computational" brain. For each topic, it emphasizes findings considered as critical to the birth and development of neuroeconomics while highlighting some of prominent questions about which knowledge should be improved by future research. In parallel, it shows that the boundaries between neuroeconomics and several recent subfields of cognitive neuroscience, such as affective, social, and more generally, decision neuroscience, are rather porous. It suggests that a greater autonomy of neuroeconomics should perhaps come from the development of studies about more economic policy-oriented concerns. In order to make the paper accessible to a large audience the various neuroscientific notions used are defined and briefly explained. In the same way, for economists not specialized in experimental and behavioral economics, the definition of the main economic models referred to in the text is recalled.
    Keywords: neuroeconomics,neuroscience,behavioral economics,experimental economics
    Date: 2019

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