nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2019‒09‒02
eleven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. The difficult relationship between historical ordoliberalism and Adam Smith By Horn, Karen
  2. Reflexiones sobre la teoría económica desde las perspectivas feministas By Luisa Fernanda Tovar
  3. Heterodox economics and Economic Anthropology: reflections prompted by two books By Sergio Cesaratto
  4. A Survey on the Washington Consensus and the Beijing Model: Reconciling Development Perspectives By Simplice A. Asongu; Paul N. Acha-Anyi
  5. "Evolving International Monetary and Financial Architecture and the Development Challenge: A Liquidity Preference Theoretical Perspective" By Jorg Bibow
  6. Fifty Years a-Growing: Economic History and Demography in the ESR By Cormac Ó Gráda
  7. Ethics of Randomized Controlled Trials: Should Economists Care about Equipoise? By Michel Abramowicz; Ariane Szafarz
  8. Pockets of effectiveness: The contributions of critical political economy and state theory By Giles Mohan
  9. Are Referees and Editors in Economics Gender Neutral? By Card, David; DellaVigna, Stefano; Funk, Patricia; Iriberri, Nagore
  10. Socialism and the Right of Inheritance: A Discussion on the Reform of the Soviet Civil Law in the Late 1930s By Kawamoto, Kazuko
  11. Potential Outcome and Directed Acyclic Graph Approaches to Causality: Relevance for Empirical Practice in Economics By Guido Imbens

  1. By: Horn, Karen
    Abstract: Ever since the global financial crisis of 2008, interpreted by some observers as a foreseeable failure of "unfettered" capitalism, the German intellectual tradition of ordoliberalism has been meeting with increased interest. Its emphasis on good government, appropriate rules and institutions makes it attractive. Welcome as this may be, however, that trend may impact the reception of the works of Adam Smith in a problematic way, since the key historical figures of ordoliberalism reject his theory vigorously, even though, from today's perspective, their concerns and policy recommendations look very parallel to his. Their common hope is human flourishing. Just like the Scot, the broad scope of their vision encompasses society as a whole, not just the market; they are concerned with ethics, not just economics. But what, then, can solve the puzzle of this implausible rejection, by which the ordoliberals contribute to a deep-rooted prejudice against Smith? In this paper, Karen Horn takes stock of their concrete criticisms, which turn out to be based on a narrow understanding of Smith's work. She suggests that it is religion that stands at the root of the explanation, though situational elements may also play a role. The essential contentious point seems to be what the ordoliberals take for the Scot's naïve belief in natural harmony, the sources of which they see in his stoicism and possible deism. The deeper problem for them with Smith is the pagan flavour and the systematic normative relativism of an essentially evolutionary approach to human values.
    Keywords: Ordoliberalism,Adam Smith,History of economic thought,Natural harmony
    JEL: B12 B3
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Luisa Fernanda Tovar
    Abstract: A partir de una revisión general de la literatura, el documento busca reflexionar sobre la necesidad de incluir en la historia y el pensamiento económico los aportes del feminismo. Para ello, se esbozan las principales críticas que el feminismo hace a la ciencia económica y se identifican dos enfoques de economía feminista: integracionista y de ruptura. Luego, se plantean tres ejemplos de cómo el pensamiento económico ha intentado enfrentar las críticas provenientes del feminismo, para posteriormente nombrar tres pistas proporcionadas por las perspectivas feministas para el desarrollo tanto de la ciencia económica como de sus metodologías de trabajo. Finalmente, la revisión concluye con algunas posibilidades de reflexión a partir de las economías feministas, no solo en el ámbito académico, sino también político. *** From a general literature survey, the document seeks to reflect on the need to include the contributions of feminism in history and economic thought. To achieve this objective, the main criticisms that feminism target to economic science are outlined and two approaches to feminist economics are identified: integrationist and rupture. Next, three examples of how economic thinking has tried to face the criticism of feminism are raised. Then, three indications are provided from feminist perspectives for the development of both economic science and its working methodologies. Finally, the survey concludes with some possibilities for reflection from feminist economics, not only in academia but also in politics.
    Keywords: economía feminista, género, feminismos, producción y reproducción social
    JEL: A13 B5 B54 N0
    Date: 2019–08–22
  3. By: Sergio Cesaratto
    Abstract: This paper has been long ago inspired by Jared Diamond (1997) and, in particular, by his extensive use of the concept of economic surplus as the key to the development of civilization. Unfortunately, Diamond does not even mention the origin of the concept in classical and pre-classical economics. Moreover, Diamond does not pay any consideration to the long debates in economic anthropology on the role of economic analysis in studying primitive and ancient economic formations. These debates are instead the object of a more recent book by Cedrini & Marchionatti (2017), who context the neoclassical “imperialist” attempt to occupy the territory of economic anthropology. They rely, however, upon the frail institutionalist background provided by Karl Polanyi and his school and by other anthropologists of similar inspiration. In so doing, they fail to provide a robust economic basis to institutional change, by firmly anchoring it around the changing modes of generation and distribution of the economic surplus. These notes are explorative, as also shown by a post-scriptum. Comments welcome.
    Keywords: Surplus approach, Economic anthropology, Marx, Sraffa, Polanyi
    JEL: A12 B51 B52 Z13
    Date: 2019–07
  4. By: Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé/Cameroon); Paul N. Acha-Anyi (Walter Sisulu University, South Africa)
    Abstract: Reconciling the two dominant development models of the Washington Consensus (WC) and Beijing Model (BM) remains a critical challenge in the literature. The challenge is even more demanding when emerging development paradigms like the Liberal Institutional Pluralism (LIP) and New Structural Economics (NSE) schools have to be integrated. While the latter has recognized both State and market failures but failed to provide a unified theory, the former has left the challenging concern of how institutional diversity matter in the development process. We synthesize perspectives from recently published papers on development and Sino-African relations in order to present the relevance of both the WC and BM in the long-term and short-run respectively. While the paper postulates for a unified theory by reconciling the WC and the BM to complement the NSE, it at the same time presents a case for economic rights and political rights as short-run and long-run development priorities respectively. By attempting to reconcile the WC with the BM, the study contributes at the same to macroeconomic NSE literature of unifying a development theory and to the LIP literature on institutional preferences with stages of development. Hence, the proposed reconciliation takes into account the structural and institutional realities of nations at different stages of the process of development.
    Keywords: Economic thought; Development; Beijing model; Washington Consensus; Africa
    JEL: B10 O11 O19 O55
    Date: 2019–01
  5. By: Jorg Bibow
    Abstract: This paper investigates the peculiar macroeconomic policy challenges faced by emerging economies in today's monetary (non)order and globalized finance. It reviews the evolution of the international monetary and financial architecture against the background of Keynes's original Bretton Woods vision, highlighting the US dollar's hegemonic status. Keynes's liquidity preference theory informs the analysis of the loss of policy space and widespread instabilities in emerging economies that are the consequence of financial hyperglobalization. While any benefits promised by mainstream promoters remain elusive, heightened vulnerabilities have emerged in the aftermath of the global crisis.
    Keywords: Emerging Economies; Hyperglobalization; Liquidity; Liquidity Preference Theory; Reserve Accumulation; US Dollar Hegemony
    JEL: B22 E43 E44 F02 F36 G12
    Date: 2019–08
  6. By: Cormac Ó Gráda
    Abstract: This paper surveys publications in the fields of economic history and demography in the ESR since 1969. Numbering sixty in all, they cover a broad chronological and thematic range. Some of these papers never attracted much notice, but stand as useful sources for future historians. A few have become classics.
    Keywords: Ireland; Economic history; Demography; Economics; Sociology; Religion
    JEL: N J11 J12 J13 J61 Z12
    Date: 2019–08
  7. By: Michel Abramowicz; Ariane Szafarz
    Abstract: Equipoise is defined by Freedman (1987, p.141) as a "state of genuine uncertainty on the part of the clinical investigator regarding the comparative therapeutic merits of each arm in a trial." This principle is grounded in the ethical motivation that any ex-ante preference for a given option would undermine the interests of those who are offered another. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in development economics disregard the equipoise requirement by typically disadvantaging the control group. This paper investigates how the equipoise principle is formalized in the medical literature and discusses whether and how it should be taken into consideration by economists. It argues that equipoise is especially relevant when double (or even single) blindness is excluded and when the control group includes already vulnerable individuals. More generally, this paper advocates for developing a vibrant ethics conversation on the design and fairness of RCTs in social sciences.
    Keywords: Equipoise; Fairness; Ethics of RCTs; Control Group; Placebo
    JEL: C93 I14 B41 O16 D63
    Date: 2019–08–26
  8. By: Giles Mohan
    Abstract: The pockets of effectiveness (PoEs) debates and political settlements literature are rooted in particular forms of political economy analysis. At one level, this is a positive contribution to the mainstream development policy literature, and allows us to characterise political systems and their power relations, as well as forcing us to pay close attention to the dynamics of state institutions. Yet, these literatures are disconnected from a tradition of more critical political economy analysis and state theory. This brief review is a first attempt to connect these bodies of theory, largely in an African context. We find some promising new (and old) avenues of inquiry to connect critical political economy to PoE work, largely in terms of various meso-level theories of how states function, which move us away from all-encompassing metatheories of the state. Such meso-level theories enable us to theorise the more fine-grained and developmentally positive institutions that constitute PoEs, since much of the meta-theory tends to be both broad brush as well as causally pessimistic, insofar as African states are rarely seen to engender positive developmental outcomes. These meso-level theories can also be more easily elaborated methodologically, which is vital, since most of the claims about state capacity and function require contextual empirical analysis.
    Date: 2019
  9. By: Card, David; DellaVigna, Stefano; Funk, Patricia; Iriberri, Nagore
    Abstract: We study the role of gender in the evaluation of economic research using submissions to four leading journals. We find that referee gender has no effect on the relative assessment of female- versus male-authored papers, suggesting that any differential biases of male referees are negligible. To determine whether referees as a whole impose different standards for female authors, we compare citations for female and male-authored papers, holding constant referee evaluations and other characteristics. We find that female-authored papers receive about 25% more citations than observably similar male-authored papers. Editors largely follow the referees, resulting in a 6 percentage point lower probability of a revise and resubmit verdict for female-authored papers relative to a citation-maximizing benchmark. In their desk rejection decisions, editors treat female authors more favorably, though they still impose a higher bar than would be implied by citation-maximization. We find no differences in the informativeness of female versus male referees, or in the weight that editors place on the recommendations of female versus male referees. We also find no differences in editorial delays for female versus male-authored papers.
    Date: 2019–06
  10. By: Kawamoto, Kazuko
    Date: 2019–08
  11. By: Guido Imbens
    Abstract: In this essay I discuss potential outcome and graphical approaches to causality, and their relevance for empirical work in economics. I review some of the work on directed acyclic graphs, including the recent “The Book of Why,” ([Pearl and Mackenzie, 2018]). I also discuss the potential outcome framework developed by Rubin and coauthors, building on work by Neyman. I then discuss the relative merits of these approaches for empirical work in economics, focusing on the questions each answer well, and why much of the work in economics is closer in spirit to the potential outcome framework.
    JEL: C01
    Date: 2019–07

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