nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2020‒09‒07
eight papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Randomization in the Tropics Revisited: a Theme and Eleven Variations By Angus Deaton
  2. Binary Relations in Mathematical Economics: On the Continuity, Additivity and Monotonicity Postulates in Eilenberg, Villegas and DeGroot By M. Ali Khan; Metin Uyanik
  3. The Late Emerging Consensus Among American Economists on Antitrust Laws in the Second New Deal (1935-1941) (Revised Version) By Thierry Kirat; Frederic Marty
  4. Piero Sraffa and Raffaello Piccoli, two Italian Scholars in Cambridge in 1929-1932 By Morra, Lucia
  5. A History of Pricing Pollution (Or, Why Pigouvian Taxes are not Necessarily Pigouvian) By H. Spencer Banzhaf
  6. Great Expectations. Hicks on expectations from Theory of Wages (1932) to Value and Capital (1939) (long version) By Jean-Sébastien Lenfant
  7. El Keynesianismo y la Gran Depresión: Un Análisis Comparativo de la Experiencia de Alemania, EE.UU. y Gran Bretaña entre 1930 y 1937 By Emilio Ocampo
  8. نئولیبرالیسم و مقابله با تورم By Vahabi, Mehrdad

  1. By: Angus Deaton
    Abstract: Randomized controlled trials have been used in economics for 50 years, and intensively in economic development for more than 20. There has been a great deal of useful work, but RCTs have no unique advantages or disadvantages over other empirical methods in economics. They do not simplify inference, nor can an RCT establish causality. Many of the difficulties were recognized and explored in economics 30 years ago, but are sometimes forgotten. I review some of the most relevant issues here. The most troubling questions concern ethics, especially when very poor people are experimented on. Finding out what works, even if such a thing is possible, is in itself a deeply inadequate basis for policy
    JEL: C01 C93 O22
    Date: 2020–07
  2. By: M. Ali Khan; Metin Uyanik
    Abstract: This chapter examines how positivity and order play out in two important questions in mathematical economics, and in so doing, subjects the postulates of continuity, additivity and monotonicity to closer scrutiny. Two sets of results are offered: the first departs from Eilenberg's (1941) necessary and sufficient conditions on the topology under which an anti-symmetric, complete, transitive and continuous binary relation exists on a topologically connected space; and the second, from DeGroot's (1970) result concerning an additivity postulate that ensures a complete binary relation on a {\sigma}-algebra to be transitive. These results are framed in the registers of order, topology, algebra and measure-theory; and also beyond mathematics in economics: the exploitation of Villegas' notion of monotonic continuity by Arrow-Chichilnisky in the context of Savage's theorem in decision theory, and the extension of Diamond's impossibility result in social choice theory by Basu-Mitra. As such, this chapter has a synthetic and expository motivation, and can be read as a plea for inter-disciplinary conversations, connections and collaboration.
    Date: 2020–07
  3. By: Thierry Kirat; Frederic Marty
    Abstract: This paper presents the late convergence process from American economists that led them to support a strong antitrust enforcement in the Second New Deal despite their long-standing distrust toward this legislation. The paper presents the path from which institutionalist economists, on one side, and members of the First Chicago School, on the other one, have converged on supporting the President F.D. Roosevelt administration towards reinvigorating antitrust law enforcement as of 1938, putting aside their initial preferences for a regulated competition model or for a classical liberalism. The appointment of Thurman Arnold at the head of the Antitrust Division in 1938 gave the impetus to a vigorous antitrust enforcement. The 1945 Alcoa decision crafted by Judge Hand embodied the results of this convergence: in this perspective, the purpose of antitrust law enforcement does consist in preventing improper uses of economic power. Read the first version of this publication
    Keywords: Antitrust,Efficiency,Economic Power,Institutional Economics,Chicago School,New Deal,
    JEL: B25 K21 L40 N42
    Date: 2020–08–25
  4. By: Morra, Lucia (University of Turin)
    Abstract: Sraffa’s diaries report that from June 1929 until late 1932 he often met with the literary scholar, poet and philosopher Raffa-ello Piccoli, Serena Professor of Italian at the University of Cambridge. After a sketchy biography of Piccoli, the essay recon-structs the story of their friendship, thus contributing to the reconstruction of Sraffa’s biography in 1929-1932; it pauses along the way on their meetings with Carlo Rosselli in 1929-1931 and on their common friendship with Ludwig Wittgen-stein.
    Keywords: Piero Sraffa; Raffaello Piccoli; Carlo Rosselli; Ludwig Wittgenstein.
    JEL: B31
    Date: 2020–08–31
  5. By: H. Spencer Banzhaf
    Abstract: The standard history of modern environmental economics often views it as an application of A.C. Pigou's theory of externalities, refined over the decades and applied to environmental problems in the 1960s, when the first detailed pro-posals for pricing pollution were outlined by Allen Kneese, Thomas Crocker, John Dales, and others. However, the historical literature has noted problems with this narrative, including a 30-year gap in discussions of such applications and few actual citations to Pigou. This paper offers a simple explanation for this puzzle: Namely, pollution pricing is not (necessarily) Pigouvian. It argues that the early applied literature on the topic was rooted more in questions about common property resources and increasing returns from developing natural re-sources. Both topics were treated by broad literatures by the 1960s, including distinctly American traditions not particularly associated with Pigou.
    JEL: B2 H23 Q2 Q5
    Date: 2020–08
  6. By: Jean-Sébastien Lenfant (Université de Lille, Clersé)
    Abstract: The article is intended as an in-depth study of the development and role of expectations within John R. Hicks' representation of the functioning of a capitalist economy. It covers his contributions to economic theory in the 1930s, with a particular focus on Value and Capital. The question underlying the study is whether Hicks develops a theory of expectations. We argue that there are several elements of such a theory in Hicks's work, though what is most important to him is the historical dynamic generated by heterogeneity of expectations.
    Keywords: Hicks (john Richard), expectations, temporary equilibrium, stability, cycles
    Date: 2020–08
  7. By: Emilio Ocampo
    Abstract: Existe una noción bastante generalizada, incluso entre economistas e historiadores, que las naciones más industrializadas del planeta –Alemania, Estados Unidos y Gran Bretaña– lograron salir de la Gran Depresión gracias a políticas de expansión del gasto público y el déficit preconizadas por John Maynard Keynes. Esta noción no se sustenta en la evidencia. En primer lugar, las políticas empleadas por estos tres países entre 1930 y 1937 fueron heterogéneas y sus resultados significativamente distintos. En segundo lugar, en Estados Unidos, las políticas de expansión del gasto e intervención en los mercados, que podrían describirse genéricamente como keynesianas, retardaron la recuperación económica en vez de alentarla. En tercer lugar, los mejores resultados macroeconómicos se obtuvieron en Gran Bretaña donde el gobierno siguió una política de austeridad fiscal con fuerte expansión monetaria. El objetivo del presente trabajo es sustentar estas conclusiones con un análisis comparativo de las políticas aplicadas y resultados obtenidos en Alemania, Estados Unidos y Gran Bretaña entre 1930 y 1937.
    Keywords: Keynes, Gran Depresión, Austeridad, Déficit, Políticas Anti-cíclicas
    JEL: E3 J3 N1
    Date: 2020–08
  8. By: Vahabi, Mehrdad
    Abstract: This paper studies two approaches to the Neoliberalism with regard to the state. The first one starts by critically assessing “too much state” from the vintage point of civil society (Michel Foucault, 2008). The second approach begins from Welfare State and considers Neoliberalism as a deviation from this “progressive State” (Harvey, 2003, 2005). The former distinguishes two types of Neoliberalism, the German one (Ordoliberalism) and the American one (the Chicago School). Foucault focuses on the German Neoliberalism and underlines its specific characteristics in opposition with Fascism and Soviet Socialism as “organized” capitalism. However, Foucault’s investigation about the Chicago school is insufficiently studied. Pyne (2012) and Olsen (2019) explored Foucault’s approach with regard to the Chicago school in terms of Sovereign Consumer. A reexamination of Foucault and his followers indicate the importance of monetary stabilization as the cornerstone of Neoliberalism. In fact, the architecture of the European Monetary Union is inspired by Ordoliberalism. The Chicago School is also marked by the Monetarist approach with regard to the inflation control. The present paper substantiates the policy change from full employment to the inflation control in the USA. It also documents the evolution of hyperinflations and mega inflations in three waves: 1) after the first and the second World Wars in the European continent; 2) in the Latin America during the eighties and the nineties; 3) in the central and Eastern Europe as well as Central Asia during post-Socialist transition.
    Keywords: Neoliberalism, Hyperinflation, Mega inflation, Monetarism, Structuralsm, Post-keynesian, Full Employment, Sovereign Consummer
    JEL: E2 E5 E51 H7 J6 N1
    Date: 2020–08–10

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