nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2019‒09‒30
twelve papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Retrospectives: Tragedy of the Commons After 50 Years By Brett Frischmann; Alain Marciano; Giovanni Ramello
  2. Arrow, Hausdorff, and Ambiguities in the Choice of Preferred States in Complex Systems By T. Erber; M. J. Frank
  3. Trade and terroir. The political economy of the world's first geographical indications By Giulia Meloni; Jo Swinnen
  4. Happiness Convergence in Transition Countries By Sergei Guriev; Nikita Melnikov
  5. From transaction costs to transaction value: Overcoming the Coase-Williamson paradigm By Frolov, Daniil
  6. Methods, Models, and the Evolution of Moral Psychology By Cailin O'Connor
  7. Role of honesty and confined interpersonal influence in modelling predilections By Khalid, Asma; Beg, Ismat
  8. U.S. Trade Policy in Historical Perspective By Douglas A. Irwin
  9. Neo-Kaleckian and neo-Marxian regime research: A promising scientific research programme or a scientific cul-de-sac? By Heise, Arne
  10. Interview: Innovationen und Institutionen - Über Markt, Moral und Moderne By Pies, Ingo
  11. L'impasse des comptabilités publique et privée: rendre visible les "biens communs" By Sylvie Rascol-Boutard; Ariel Eggrikx; Pascale Amans
  12. Ordoliberalismus und Soziale Marktwirtschaft By Pies, Ingo

  1. By: Brett Frischmann (Villanova University); Alain Marciano (MRE - Montpellier Recherche en Economie - UM - Université de Montpellier); Giovanni Ramello (Dipartimento di scienze giuridiche ed economiche, Universita degli studi del piemonte orientale - Universita degli studi del piemonte orienta)
    Abstract: Garrett Hardin's "The Tragedy of the Commons" (1968) has been incredibly influential generally and within economics, and it remains important despite some historical and conceptual flaws. Hardin focused on the stress population growth inevitably placed on environmental resources. Unconstrained consumption of a shared resource-a pasture, a highway, a server-by individuals acting in rational pursuit of their self-interest can lead to congestion and worse, rapid depreciation, depletion, and even destruction of the resources. Our societies face similar problems, not only with respect to environmental resources but also with infrastructures, knowledge, and many other shared resources. In this Retrospective, we examine how the tragedy of the commons has fared within the economics literature and its relevance for economic and public policies today. We revisit the original piece to explain Hardin's purpose and conceptual approach. We expose two conceptual mistakes he made, that of conflating resource with governance and conflating open access with commons. This critical discussion leads us to the work of Elinor Ostrom, the recent Nobel Prize in Economics Laureate, who spent her life working on commons. Finally, we discuss a few modern examples of commons governance of shared resources.
    Date: 2019
  2. By: T. Erber; M. J. Frank
    Abstract: Arrow's `impossibility' theorem asserts that there are no satisfactory methods of aggregating individual preferences into collective preferences in many complex situations. This result has ramifications in economics, politics, i.e., the theory of voting, and the structure of tournaments. By identifying the objects of choice with mathematical sets, and preferences with Hausdorff measures of the distances between sets, it is possible to extend Arrow's arguments from a sociological to a mathematical setting. One consequence is that notions of reversibility can be expressed in terms of the relative configurations of patterns of sets.
    Date: 2019–09
  3. By: Giulia Meloni; Jo Swinnen
    Abstract: The world’s first geographical indications (GIs) were in the wine sector and focused on the delineation of the location of production, the ‘terroir’: the Burgundy wines in the fifteenth century, the Port wines and Chianti wines in the eighteenth century, and the Champagne wines in the early twentieth century. We analyze the causes for the introduction of these GIs (‘terroirs’) and for changes in their delineation (expansion) later on. Our analysis shows that trade played a very important role in the creation of the ‘terroirs’ but not always through the same mechanisms. For the Port and Chianti GIs it was exports to Britain that were crucial; for Burgundy it was domestic trade to Paris; and for the Champagne GI it was not exports but pressure from wine imports and new wine regions that played a crucial role. For the expansions of the GIs later in history, other factors seem to have been equally important. Expansions of the GIs in the years and centuries after their introduction followed major changes in political power; the spread of a new philosophy in liberal and free markets across Europe; and infrastructure investments which opened up markets and made exports cheaper from “new” producers.
    Date: 2018–01
  4. By: Sergei Guriev (Département d'économie); Nikita Melnikov (Higher School of Economics (HSE))
    Abstract: The “transition happiness gap” has been one of the most robust findings in the literature on life satisfaction. Until very recently, scholars using various datasets have shown that residents of post-communist countries were significantly less satisfied with their lives than their counterparts in non-transition countries (controlling for income and other socio-economic characteristics). The literature has explained this finding by the great macroeconomic instability of the 1990s, by a substantial decrease in the quality and accessibility of public goods, by the major increase in inequality, and by the rapid depreciation of pre-transition human capital. All these factors were expected to subside over time – at least after the post-Great-Recession recovery. In this paper, we consider two most recent datasets – the third wave of the Life in Transition Survey (administered in 2015–16) and the 2010–2016 waves of the annual Gallup World Poll. We find that by 2016 the transition happiness gap had closed. This convergence has taken place both due to a “happiness recovery” in post-communist countries after the Great Recession and due to a decrease in life satisfaction in comparator countries in recent years. We also find that the convergence in life satisfaction was primarily driven by middle-income young, educated individuals, regardless of gender.
    Date: 2018–09
  5. By: Frolov, Daniil
    Abstract: The transaction cost economics has accumulated a mass of dogmatic concepts and assertions that have received high stability under the influence of path dependence. These include the dogma about transaction costs as frictions, the dogma about the unproductiveness of transactions as a generator of losses, Stigler-Coase theorem and the logic of transaction cost minimization, the dogma about the priority of institutions providing low-cost transactions. The listed dogmas underlie the prevailing tradition of transactional analysis – the Coase-Williamson paradigm – which, in turn, is the foundation of neo-institutional theory. Therefore, the community of new institutionalists implicitly block attempts of a serious revision of this dogmatics. The purpose of the article is to substantiate a post-institutional (alternative to the dominant institutional discourse) perspective for the development of transactional studies based on rethinking and combining forgotten theoretical alternatives. We are talking about Commons’s theory of transactions, Wallis-North’s theory of transaction sector and Zajac-Olsen’s theory of transaction value. The article provides arguments and examples in favor of the broader explanatory possibilities of post-institutional transactional analysis.
    Keywords: institutions, institutional complexity, transactions, transaction costs, transaction value, post-institutionalism
    JEL: B4 B52
    Date: 2019–07–19
  6. By: Cailin O'Connor
    Abstract: Why are we good? Why are we bad? Questions regarding the evolution of morality have spurred an astoundingly large interdisciplinary literature. Some significant subset of this body of work addresses questions regarding our moral psychology: how did humans evolve the psychological properties which underpin our systems of ethics and morality? Here I do three things. First, I discuss some methodological issues, and defend particularly effective methods for addressing many research questions in this area. Second, I give an in-depth example, describing how an explanation can be given for the evolution of guilt---one of the core moral emotions---using the methods advocated here. Last, I lay out which sorts of strategic scenarios generally are the ones that our moral psychology evolved to `solve', and thus which models are the most useful in further exploring this evolution.
    Date: 2019–09
  7. By: Khalid, Asma; Beg, Ismat
    Abstract: Classical models of decision-making do not incorporate for the role of influence and honesty that affects the process. This paper develops on the theory of influence in social network analysis. We study the role of influence and honesty of individual experts on collective outcomes. It is assumed that experts have the tendency to improve their initial predilection for an alternative, over the rest, if they interact with one another. It is suggested that this revised predilection may not be proposed with complete honesty by the expert. Degree of honesty is computed from the preference relation provided by the experts. This measure is dependent on average fuzziness in the relation and its disparity from an additive reciprocal relation. Moreover, an algorithm is introduced to cater for incompleteness in the adjacency matrix of interpersonal influences. This is done by analysing the information on how the expert has influenced others and how others have influenced the expert.
    Keywords: Honesty; group decision making; social network analysis; confined influence; predilection.
    JEL: C44 C61 D71 D81
    Date: 2018–06–15
  8. By: Douglas A. Irwin
    Abstract: This survey reviews the broad changes in U.S. trade policy over the course of the nation’s history. Import tariffs have been the main instrument of trade policy and have had three main purposes: to raise revenue for the government, to restrict imports and protect domestic producers from foreign competition, and to reach reciprocity agreements that reduce trade barriers. These three objectives – revenue, restriction, and reciprocity – accord with three consecutive periods in history when one of them was predominant. The political economy of these tariffs has been driven by the interaction between political and economic geography, namely, the location of trade-related economic interests in different regions and the political power of those regions in Congress. The paper also addresses the impact of trade policies on the U.S. economy, such as the welfare costs of tariffs, the role of protectionism in fostering American industrialization, and the relationship between the Smoot-Hawley tariff and the Great Depression of the 1930s.
    JEL: F13 N71 N72
    Date: 2019–09
  9. By: Heise, Arne
    Abstract: [Introduction] Over the past three decades, a small but very productive Post-Keynesian and Marxian research community has engaged in the elaboration of a scientific research programme (SRP) that has come to be known as wage and profit-led regime research.1 In dozens of journal articles in almost every heterodox economic journal, particularly the Cambridge Journal of Economics, the primary aim has been to reiterate the classical political economy conception of functional income distribution as a major determinant of economic development and employment, from both a Keynesian (effective demand) and Marxian (class struggle) perspective. Only recently, the Review of Keynesian Economics (RoKE) dedicated - convening almost the entire 'wage and profit-led regime' community - an incredible four (consecutive) issues to delineating and discussing this Denkstil. The International Labour Office (ILO), meanwhile, commissioned a major research initiative investigating the relationship between functional income distribution and growth (see Lavoie/Stockhammer 2013a).2 Since only very few critical voices (such as Peter Skott (2017) joined this illustrious debate, I would like to re-open this discussion about the scientific and political merits of the 'wage and profit-led regime' approach. My intention is to examine whether this SRP can fill an obvious gap in Post-Keynesian theory. In accordance with Keynes' considerable neglect of distributional questions in his General Theory, most Post-Keynesians have underemphasised a phenomenon that has become one of the most socially and politically concerning problems of our times: growing income inequality. This article is structured as follows: in the next section, the main arguments of the wage and profit-led regime approach will be delineated and scrutinised with reference to the Bhaduri-Marglin model, which is regarded as 'a widely used workhorse model' (Stockhammer 2017: 25). I will subsequently question its theoretical bases, its empirical validity, and its policy applicability. Finally, I offer a number of concluding remarks on the merits of the distributional regime approach.
    Date: 2019
  10. By: Pies, Ingo
    Abstract: Dieses Interview erläutert das Moralparadoxon der Moderne und seine Bedeutung für die demokratische Wirtschafts- und Gesellschaftspolitik. Auf diese Weise bietet es Einblicke in das 'ordonomische' Forschungsprogramm: welche Fragen gestellt werden, wie diese Fragen gestellt werden und wie die Antworten beschaffen sind, die sich mit der ordonomischen Methode erarbeiten lassen. Der inhaltliche Schwerpunkt dieses Interviews liegt darauf, die Bedeutung (und insbesondere die moralischen Implikationen) von Innovationen für die moderne post-malthusianische Wachstumsgesellschaft hervorzuheben.
    Keywords: Wirtschaftsethik,Ordonomik,Moralparadoxon der Moderne,Innovation,Wachstum,Diskursversagen,economic ethics,ordonomics,moral paradox of modernity,innovation,growth,discourse failure
    Date: 2019
  11. By: Sylvie Rascol-Boutard (MRM - Montpellier Research in Management - UM1 - Université Montpellier 1 - UM3 - Université Paul-Valéry - Montpellier 3 - UM2 - Université Montpellier 2 - Sciences et Techniques - UPVD - Université de Perpignan Via Domitia - Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier (GSCM) - Montpellier Business School - UM - Université de Montpellier); Ariel Eggrikx (MRM - Montpellier Research in Management - UM1 - Université Montpellier 1 - UM3 - Université Paul-Valéry - Montpellier 3 - UM2 - Université Montpellier 2 - Sciences et Techniques - UPVD - Université de Perpignan Via Domitia - Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier (GSCM) - Montpellier Business School - UM - Université de Montpellier); Pascale Amans (LGC - Laboratoire de Gestion et de Cognition - UPS - Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - Université Fédérale Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées)
    Date: 2018–06–01
  12. By: Pies, Ingo
    Abstract: Die maßgeblich von Walter Eucken geprägte Denkschule des 'Ordoliberalismus' will die Wirtschaft durch eine Verfassung ordnen. Der Staat soll die Spielregeln des Marktes gestalten, dann aber nicht weiter in die wettbewerblichen Spielzüge der Wirtschaftsakteure eingreifen. Der maßgeblich von Alfred Müller-Armack geprägte Begriff 'Soziale Marktwirtschaft' versteht sich als wirtschafts- und gesellschaftspolitisches Leitbild, das eine aktive Wettbewerbspolitik, eine marktkonforme Sozialpolitik sowie außenwirtschaftlichen Freihandel empfiehlt und insofern ordoliberales Gedankengut umsetzt.
    Keywords: Wettbewerbsordnung,Ordnungspolitik,Marktkonformität,Rahmenordnung,Wirtschaftsverfassung,competitive order,constitutional politics,market conformity,institutional framework,economic constitution
    Date: 2019

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.