nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2019‒12‒16
sixteen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Léon Walras, Irving Fisher and the Cowles Approach to General Equilibrium Analysis By Robert W. Dimand
  2. Ingemar Ståhl 1938-2014. A Portrait of a Political Economist in the Swedish Welfare State By Jonung, Lars
  3. Complexity, Conventions and Instability: the role of monetary policy By Citera, Emanuele; Sau, Lino
  4. How Economists Entered the 'Numbers Game': Measuring Discrimination in the U.S. Courtrooms, 1971-1989 By Chassonnery-Zaïgouche, Cléo
  5. Out, standing in the field to alleviating global poverty: 2019 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences By Ho, Toan Manh; Anh, Ho Hoang
  6. The Cowles Commission and Foundation for Research in Economics By Robert W. Dimand
  7. La neuroéconomie en question : débats et controverses By Daniel Serra
  8. Refuting Samuelson's Capitulation on the Re-switching of Techniques in the Cambridge Capital Controversy By Carlo Milana
  9. Système de l’obligation naturelle By Bellis, Kouroch
  10. The Origin and Nature of Behavioural Development Economics By Kuriakose, Francis; Joseph, Janssen
  11. Neuroeconomics and modern neuroscience By Daniel Serra
  12. Is Equal Pay Worth it? By Chassonnery-Zaïgouche, Cléo
  13. Ethique, économie et guerre By Jacques Fontanel
  14. Playing with Politeness in Economic Journals: The Strategy Used by Authors to Bring about Solidarity and Respect By Hamuddin, Budianto; , Dahler; Wardi, Jeni
  15. Passer en revue 40 ans de Travail et Emploi By Bruno Ducoudre
  16. Scientific Integrity in the Brazilian Economics Journals By Maria Dolores Montoya Diaz; Fernando Antonio Slaibe Postali

  1. By: Robert W. Dimand (Department of Economics, Brock University)
    Abstract: This paper explores the relationship of Walras’s work to a particularly influential tradition of general equilibrium, that associated with the Cowles Commission for Research in Economics in Colorado in the 1930s and at the University of Chicago from 1939 to 1955, and its successor, the Cowles Foundation, at Yale University from 1955. Irving Fisher introduced general equilibrium analysis into North America with his 1891 Yale dissertation Mathematical Investigations in the Theory of Value and Prices (published 1892) and was responsible in 1892 for the ï¬ rst English translation of a monograph by Walras. Fisher was only able to obtain copies of books by Walras and Edgeworth when his thesis was almost ready for submission, discovering that he had independently reinvented a general equilibrium approach already developed by others, but went beyond Walras in constructing a hydraulic mechanism to simulate computation of general equilibrium and, before Pareto, in using indifference curves. Fisher was closely involved with Alfred Cowles in the Cowles Commission, the Econometric Society and Econometrica in the 1930s, promoting formal mathematical and statistical methods in economics, including drawing attention to the contributions of Walras, Edgeworth and Pareto. The ï¬ rst substantial, systematic work on general equilibrium at the Cowles Commission was in international trade, by Theodore Yntema, research director of the Cowles Commission from 1939 to 1942 and author of A Mathematical Reformulation of the General Theory of International Trade (1932) and by Yntema’s student, Jacob Mosak, author of General Equilibrium Theory in International Trade (1944). A subsequent, much better-known body of work on existence of general equilibrium at Cowles was by Kenneth Arrow and Gerard Debreu (initially independently but leading to a major joint publication) and by Lionel McKenzie, all three associated with the Cowles Commission in Chicago in the early 1950s. After Cowles moved to Yale, the focus of general equilibrium research at the Cowles Foundation was Herbert Scarf’s pioneering work on computable general equilibrium (which he linked to Fisher’s earlier attempt, ï¬ rst presenting his approach in his contribution to Ten Economic Studies in the Tradition of Irving Fisher, 1967). Fisher and then the Cowles Commission were the channel through which Walrasian general equilibrium analysis entered North American economics. This paper is part of a larger history of the Cowles Commission and Foundation, commissioned by the Cowles Foundation. Presented at the 10th conference of the International Walras Association, University of Lausanne, 13-14 September 2019. I thank Amanar Akhabbar, Annie L. Cot, Cléo Chaussonery-Laïgouche and Harro Maas for helpful comments at the conference, and Daniel Sarech for his presentation which drew my attention to the writings of Firmin Oulès.
    Keywords: Irving Fisher, Cowles Commission, Leon Walras, General Equilibrium Analysis
    JEL: B21 B23 B31
    Date: 2019–11
  2. By: Jonung, Lars (Department of Economics, Lund University)
    Abstract: For many decades, Ingemar Ståhl was a well-known economist in Sweden. He introduced new perspectives into research, teaching and public debate. He made his presence felt in areas as diverse as housing policy, defense economics, energy policy, financial economics, industrial policy, higher education, union controlled wage earner funds, law and economics, health-care economics and taxation. He advocated a public choice perspective which in his view provided a more realistic interpretation of the behavior of politicians and bureaucrats than that provided by traditional welfare economics. As an active participant in the public debate, he provided a pungent commentary on a wide range of issues. He contributed to the shift in Swedish economic policy from interventionist controls and collectivist systems inspired by Social-Democratic ideology to market-oriented and liberal solutions. Several of his proposals, most prominently the present system of student finance remain part of current Swedish public policy.
    Keywords: Public choice; welfare economics; property rights; socialism; liberalism; welfare state; Sweden
    JEL: A11 B21 D51 D72 H43 I22 J51 L51 P48 Q18
    Date: 2019–12–04
  3. By: Citera, Emanuele; Sau, Lino (University of Turin)
    Abstract: Ever since the 2008 financial crisis, there has been both a widespread recognition that the mainstream approach on financial markets has failed to anticipate and to justify the crisis and on the need of ex ante and ex post adequate economic policies to cope with such phenomena. The aim of our paper is to provide a theoretical and methodological analysis of the role of conventions as emergent phenomena in financial markets, the latter being thought of as dynamically complex systems. Drawing upon the notion of ‘dynamic complexity’ and Keynes’ view of financial markets, we claim that social conventions can only provisionally stabilize the system, but they will eventually lead to financial instability and crisis. Then, we adopt this framework to investigate the implications for monetary policy to stabilize the system by virtue of the role of central bank to intervene, and thus shape, a convention. In this respect, we consider the credibility of the monetary authority and how it can be exerted through ‘moral suasion’ to control the financial fragility of investors’ balance-sheet positions as well as to affect the convention around the longterm interest rate.
    Date: 2019–11
  4. By: Chassonnery-Zaïgouche, Cléo (University of Lausanne)
    Abstract: The paper explores why and how economists entered the courtrooms as expert witnesses in employment discrimination cases in the US. The main sources are published legal decisions. I analyze the courts’ and economists’ discourses on the use of a specific method, multiple regression analysis in relation to litigation history, academic debates, and the institutional settings of expertise within the courts. I first show how the early reception of the method in the late 1970s did not involve systematic rejection from the courts but rather a large amount of skepticism. I then illustrate how economic theory underlying the method was progressively introduced in the “judicial tool-kit” and how the debates in the courtrooms relates to the debates in academia in the 1980s. Finally, by 1989, practical and ethical questions regarding the institutional settings of experts’ testimony took center stage, reflecting the increasing professionalization of forensic economics.
    Date: 2019–06–05
  5. By: Ho, Toan Manh (Thanh Tay University Hanoi); Anh, Ho Hoang
    Abstract: Thoughts on 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, which has been awarded to Abhijit Banerjee (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA), Esther Duflo (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA) and Michael Kremer (Harvard University, Cambridge, USA). Published in EASE Vietnam SciComm System:
    Date: 2019–10–13
  6. By: Robert W. Dimand (Department of Economics, Brock University)
    Abstract: Founded in 1932 by a newspaper heir disillusioned by the failure of forecasters to predict the Great Crash, the Cowles Commission promoted the use of formal mathematical and statistical methods in economics, initially through summer research conferences in Colorado and through support of the Econometric Society (of which Alfred Cowles was secretary-treasurer for decades). After moving to the University of Chicago in 1939, the Cowles Commission sponsored works, many later honored with Nobel Prizes but at the time out of the mainstream of economics, by Haavelmo, Hurwicz and Koopmans on econometrics, Arrow and Debreu on general equilibrium, Yntema and Mosak on general equilibrium in international trade theory, Arrow on social choice, Koopmans on activity analysis, Klein on macroeconometric modelling, Lange, Marschak and Patinkin on macroeconomic theory, and Markowitz on portfolio choice, but came into intense methodological, ideological and personal conflict with the emerging “Chicago school.†This conflict led the Cowles Commission to move to Yale in 1955 as the Cowles Foundation, directed by James Tobin (who had declined to move to Chicago to direct it). The Cowles Foundation remained a leader in the more technical areas of economics, notably with Tobin’s “Yale school†of monetary theory, Scarf’s computable general equilibrium, Shubik in game theory, and later Phillips and Andrews in econometric theory but as formal methods in economic theory and econometrics pervaded the discipline of economics, Cowles (like the Econometric Society) became less distinct from the rest of economics. This entry is part of an archivally-based history of the Cowles Commission and Foundation commissioned by the Cowles Foundation. This paper is the entry on “The Cowles Commission and Foundation for Research in Economics†in The New Palgrave Online and is included as a Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper by the kind permission of Springer Nature.
    Keywords: Cowles Commission, Formalism in economics, Mathematics in economics, Cowles approach to econometrics
    JEL: B23 B41 C01 C02
    Date: 2019–11
  7. By: Daniel Serra (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - FRE2010 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier - UM - Université de Montpellier - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique)
    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: Carlo Milana
    Abstract: Paul A. Samuelson's (1966) capitulation during the so-called Cambridge controversy on the re-switching of techniques in capital theory had implications not only in pointing at supposed internal contradiction of the marginal theory of production and distribution, but also in the pursue of vested interests of vested interests in the academic and political world to this day. Based on a new non-switching theorem (Milana, 2019), the present paper demonstrates that Samuelson's capitulation was logically groundless from the point of view of the economic theory of production.
    Date: 2019–12
  9. By: Bellis, Kouroch
    Abstract: Kouroch BELLIS, Système de l’obligation naturelle, thèse, Paris II, 2018 (version 15 juin 2019). RÉSUMÉ La notion d’obligation naturelle passe assez inaperçue en doctrine. Cette discrétion est due à un courant doctrinal qui a estimé qu’il n’y a pas de système rationnel de l’obligation naturelle en droit français. Un tel système existe pourtant. La tradition juridique française est par essence jusnaturaliste, de type humaniste, et l’obligation de droit naturel apparait être le fruit de cette longue tradition. Le système français de l’obligation naturelle repose sur l’idée que certaines obligations de justice sont laissées à l’appréciation individuelle de son éventuel débiteur qui doit juger de la situation à partir de sa conscience individuelle. Sa reconnaissance individuelle est largement valable à partir du moment où la société accepte le principe de l’obligation de justice en question, mais ses effets dépendent de son éventuel caractère objectivement appréciable en argent. Ce système permet de comprendre et résoudre bien des difficultés qui émergent en pratique dans des domaines juridiques variés. ABSTRACT The notion of natural obligation is often overlooked in France. This is the result of a doctrinal trend from the last century, which, nourished by legal positivism, has concluded that there is no rational system of natural obligations in French Law. Such a system does exist nonetheless. The time has come to restore the notion of natural obligations and with it the notion of natural law. The French legal tradition is by essence jusnaturalist, of humanist type, and the system of natural obligations appears to be the fruit of this long tradition. The rules pertaining to this notion are a confluence of positive law and natural law through the fundamental field which is the law of obligations. Through the discovery of a true system of natural law, the system of natural obligations as it manifests itself in French law appears quite naturally. It enables us then to understand and resolve many practical difficulties arising in court cases.
    Date: 2018–07–23
  10. By: Kuriakose, Francis; Joseph, Janssen
    Abstract: The article traces the origin of behavioural development economics and brings out the characteristics of this framework in public policy.
    Keywords: Behavioural Development Economics; Neoclassical Economics; Choice Architecture; Nudge; Public Policy
    JEL: O12 Z13
    Date: 2019–03–14
  11. By: Daniel Serra (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - FRE2010 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier - UM - Université de Montpellier - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique)
    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
  12. By: Chassonnery-Zaïgouche, Cléo (University of Lausanne)
    Abstract: The paper describes the personal and intellectual trajectories of Millicent Fawcett, Beatrice Webb and Eleanor Rathbone that led them to first oppose the "equal pay for equal work" principle and to support it after the first world war. I focus on their changing economic arguments in relation to their perception of the "facts" regarding women's work and wages during the war effort.
    Date: 2019–06–05
  13. By: Jacques Fontanel (CESICE - Centre d'études sur la sécurité internationale et les coopérations européennes - UPMF - Université Pierre Mendès France - Grenoble 2 - UGA - Université Grenoble Alpes)
    Abstract: L'éthique est une branche de la philosophie morale, une discipline empirique, appliquée à un contexte politique, religieux et social déterminé. Les relations entre l'économie et la guerre ont souvent été génétiques, parfois positives, souvent dangereuses et perverses. En soi, la guerre n'a pas d'éthique bien définie, même si elle cherche, au niveau international, à fixer des règles à respecter dans ses actions et ses effets. L'éthique de l'économie elle-même est dépendante des valeurs politiques qui l'accompagnent dans son organisation et ses règles. Si le profit est recommandé dans le capitalisme, il était fermement condamné dans d'autres systèmes d'organisation et de pensées.
    Keywords: Ethique,Economie politique,mercantilisme,libéralisme,religions
    Date: 2019–10–15
  14. By: Hamuddin, Budianto; , Dahler; Wardi, Jeni
    Abstract: Post print in ISOL 3, Universitas Andalas, Padang. 2017. This study tries to analyze the dominance strategy of politeness used by authors in order to bring about solidarity and respect in selected economic journals. The corpus consists of 78.064 words from 12 different articles from one reputable Economic journal in the United States namely the Economic Growth Journal (EG). The data were taken from six years latest where this study conducted in 2012. The conceptual framework of the present study based on the politeness theory by Brown and Levinson (1978) alongside the application onto scientific writing by Myers (1989) and persuasive tactics proposed by Mulholland (1994). This study calculated in a total of 591 times the authors employ the tactics in order to maintain solidarity and respect in their articles. Positive politeness strategies seem to be the highest frequency (258 times) than the other 3 strategies. The data also reveals that EG authors have used 8 tactics in this strategy and it seems the 3 most used tactics was; by using in-group identity marker (62 times), using an in-group pronoun (59 times), and by informing readers about their research (40 times). This study clearly sees that the strategies and tactics employed by the authors in EG journal has a purposes to bring about solidarity and respect used by EG authors in their articles somehow used to reach the demands of the academic discourse community that expects scientific language to be objective and formal however not losing its intimacy with the economic community members and this is seems in line with the nature of positive politeness strategies.
    Date: 2018–03–21
  15. By: Bruno Ducoudre (Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques)
    Abstract: Dans quelle mesure l’évolution des articles publiés depuis 1979 dans Travail et Emploi dessine-t-elle une histoire cohérente ? Pour essayer de répondre à cette question, nous proposons une analyse des articles parus dans la revue au cours de ces quatre décennies à partir de leurs titres et mots-clés. Pour rendre compte et éclairer cette histoire, trois types d’arguments sont mobilisés. Travail et Emploi étant initialement une revue de nature administrative, publiée par le ministère du Travail, l’évolution de ses articles est en partie liée aux soubresauts de l’actualité législative, des politiques publiques et de la production statistique. Elle peut par ailleurs pour partie tenir aux transformations du regard porté par les sciences sociales sur le travail et l’emploi à partir du moment où Travail et Emploi devient une revue résolument académique. Enfin, ces évolutions rendent également, et assez naturellement, compte des transformations réelles et profondes du travail et de l’emploi sur le terrain, dans la vie des travailleurs et des entreprises.
    Date: 2019–11
  16. By: Maria Dolores Montoya Diaz; Fernando Antonio Slaibe Postali
    Abstract: Attention to issues of scientific integrity and the dissemination of good research practice have grown in all areas. The purpose of this article is to investigate how the guidelines for authors of Brazilian academic journals in the area of Economics are structured on several topics related to the widely accepted good practices of research. The analysis evidenced the absence of important requirements and even a lack of mention of ethical aspects in research. We have also found that three journals have made great progress in this direction and can serve as a basis for perfecting the whole system. Greater dissemination, both through the adoption of more explicit policies by journals and the incorporation of ethics in research in undergraduate and postgraduate programs have the potential to contribute to the dissemination of good research practices and consequently to the improvement of the quality of Brazilian research in Economics.
    Keywords: Ethics; Research misconduct; Brazil; Economic Journals; Submission Guidelines
    JEL: B49 A13
    Date: 2019–12–12

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