nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2020‒05‒11
five papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. The surplus approach, Polanyi and institutions in economic anthropology and archaeology By Sergio Cesaratto; Stefano Di Bucchianico
  2. The Morality and Rationality of Ambiguity Aversion By Brian Jabarian
  3. German economics: Its current form and content By Urban, Janina; Rommel, Florian
  4. Geographical Concentration and Editorial Favoritism within the Field of Laboratory Experimental Economics (RM/19/029-revised-) By Cloos, Janis; Greiff, Matthias; Rusch, Hannes
  5. Computing Bayes: Bayesian Computation from 1763 to the 21st Century By Gael M. Martin; David T. Frazier; Christian P. Robert

  1. By: Sergio Cesaratto; Stefano Di Bucchianico
    Abstract: This paper was inspired long ago 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 mention the origin of the concept in classical and pre-classical economics, nor does he pay much attention to debates in economic anthropology about the role of economic analysis in studying primitive and ancient economic formations. These debates were the subject of a recent book by Cedrini & Marchionatti (2017), who dispute the neoclassical “imperialist” attempt to occupy the territory of economic anthropology. The authors rely on the institutionalist background provided by Karl Polanyi and his school and by other anthropologists of similar inspiration. Polanyians, however, fail to complete their institutional analysis by anchoring it to the changing modes of generation and distribution of the economic surplus. Yet their emphasis on the need to introduce institutions from the beginning, when speaking of economic surplus, should be taken into consideration by the classical surplus approach
    Keywords: surplus approach, economic anthropology, economic archaeology, Marx, Polanyi, Sraffa
    JEL: A12 B51 B52 Z13
    Date: 2020–04
  2. By: Brian Jabarian
    Abstract: In their article, "Egalitarianism under Severe Uncertainty", (Philosophy and Public Affairs, 2018), Thomas Rowe and Alex Voorhoeve elegantly develop a theory of distributive justice, called "pluralist egalitarianism", for cases under maximal uncertainty. In this pr\'ecis for our PEA Soup Discussion, I firstly sketch their views and arguments. I then discuss their main scenarios. Finally, I suggest several objections against their view, proposing a two-stage ambiguity thought experiment.
    Date: 2020–04
  3. By: Urban, Janina; Rommel, Florian
    Abstract: This paper provides a systematic assessment of academic economics teaching, research and policy advice in Germany. It assembles recent empirical studies and contributes by presenting their main findings in a comprehensible manner as well as contextualizing them in the current economic and methodological discourses. As most studies are only available in German this paper also contributes by making these findings accessible to the international debate on the special characteristics of economics as a discipline.
    Keywords: Economics Education,Economics Research,Pluralism,Mainstream Pluralism,German Economics
    JEL: A11 A14 A22 A23 B41
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Cloos, Janis; Greiff, Matthias; Rusch, Hannes (RS: GSBE other - not theme-related research, General Economics 1 (Micro))
    Abstract: We examine geographical concentration, scientific quality, and editorial favoritism in the field of experimental economics. We use a novel data set containing all original research papers ( NÂ = 596) that exclusively used laboratory experiments for data generation and were published in the American Economic Review, Experimental Economics, or the Journal of the European Economic Association between 1998 and 2018. The development of geographical concentration is examined using data on authors' affiliations at the time of the respective publication. Results show that research output produced by US-affiliated economists increased slower than overall research output, leading to a decrease in geographical concentration. Several proxies for scientific quality indicate that experiments conducted in Europe are of higher quality than experiments conducted in North America: European experiments rely on a larger total number of participants as well as participants per treatment, and receive more citations compared to experiments conducted in North America. Examining laboratory experiments published in the AER more closely, we find that papers authored by economists with US-affiliations receive significantly fewer citations in the first 5 and 10 years after publication compared to papers by authors from the rest of the world.
    JEL: A11 A14 C90 I23
    Date: 2020–05–06
  5. By: Gael M. Martin; David T. Frazier; Christian P. Robert
    Abstract: The Bayesian statistical paradigm uses the language of probability to express uncertainty about the phenomena that generate observed data. Probability distributions thus characterize Bayesian inference, with the rules of probability used to transform prior probability distributions for all unknowns - models, parameters, latent variables - into posterior distributions, subsequent to the observation of data. Conducting Bayesian inference requires the evaluation of integrals in which these probability distributions appear. Bayesian computation is all about evaluating such integrals in the typical case where no analytical solution exists. This paper takes the reader on a chronological tour of Bayesian computation over the past two and a half centuries. Beginning with the one-dimensional integral first confronted by Bayes in 1763, through to recent problems in which the unknowns number in the millions, we place all computational problems into a common framework, and describe all computational methods using a common notation. The aim is to help new researchers in particular - and more generally those interested in adopting a Bayesian approach to empirical work - make sense of the plethora of computational techniques that are now on offer; understand when and why different methods are useful; and see the links that do exist, between them all.
    Keywords: history of Bayesian computation, Laplace approximation, Markov chain Monte Carlo, importance sampling, approximate Bayesian computation, Bayesian synthetic likelihood, variational Bayes, integrated nested Laplace approximation.
    JEL: C11 C15 C52
    Date: 2020

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