nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2021‒03‒08
seven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. A New Mechanism to Alleviate the Crises of Confidence in Science - With an Application to the Public Goods Game By Luigi Butera; Philip J. Grossman; Daniel Houser; John A. List; Marie Claire Villeval
  2. Idleness and the Very Sparing Hand of God: The invisible tie between Hume’s "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion" and Smith’s "Wealth of Nations" By Santori, Paolo; Assistant, JHET
  3. The Power of Public Choice in Law and Economics By Benno Torgler
  4. Selective Memory of a Psychological Agent By Jeanne Hagenbach; Frédéric Koessler
  5. Wissen, Nichtwissen und falsches Wissen bei Hayek: Vom Wissensverlust der ökonomisierten Gesellschaft By Ötsch, Walter
  6. Historia del Cede. 50 años de investigación en economía 1958-2008 By Fabio Sanchez; Margarita Fajardo; María José Ospina; Jorge Bonilla
  7. Who is the Most Sought-After Economist? Ranking Economists Using Google Trends By Tom Coupé

  1. By: Luigi Butera; Philip J. Grossman; Daniel Houser; John A. List; Marie Claire Villeval
    Abstract: Creation of empirical knowledge in economics has taken a dramatic turn in the past few decades. One feature of the new research landscape is the nature and extent to which scholars generate data. Today, in nearly every field the experimental approach plays an increasingly crucial role in testing theories and informing organizational deci- sions. Whereas there is much to appreciate about this revolution, recently a credibility crisis has taken hold across the social sciences, arguing that an important component of Fischer (1935)’s tripod has not been fully embraced: replication. Indeed, while the importance of replications is not debatable scientifically, current incentives are not sufficient to encourage replications from the individual researcher’s perspective. We propose a novel mechanism that promotes replications by leveraging mutually benefi- cial gains between scholars and editors. We develop a model capturing the trade-offs involved in seeking independent replications before submission of a paper to journals. We showcase our method via an investigation of the effects of Knightian uncertainty on cooperation rates in public goods games, a pervasive and yet largely unexplored feature in the literature.
    Keywords: Replication, science, public goods, uncertainty, experiment.
    JEL: C91
    Date: 2020–12
  2. By: Santori, Paolo; Assistant, JHET
    Abstract: In the eighteenth-century Scottish and British cultural context, idleness was a central issue for religion, literature, art, and philosophy. This paper analyzes the reflections of David Hume and Adam Smith on idleness and commercial society. Hume advanced his most provocative view on the subject in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779), where idleness is represented as the endowment made by the “very sparing hand” of the “author of nature” to humanity. My argument is that Smith’s view on idleness advanced in the Wealth of Nations (1776) is connected to Hume’s Dialogues, as Smith’s invisible hand defeats idleness through a combination of self-interest, the propensity to exchange, and the division of labor. The broader aim of this study is to add to the philosophical relationship between the Scottish philosophers.
    Date: 2021–02–12
  3. By: Benno Torgler
    Abstract: In this paper I discuss how Law and Economics can benefit from incorporating some insights from Public Choice into their analyses. Within this argument, I examine the evolution of experimental methods by looking at laboratory, field, and natural experiments; and conducting a very simple scientometrics analysis on the relative frequency of experimental studies in journals such as Public Choice, Journal of Law and Economics , and Journal of Law, Economics and Organization in comparison to top economics journals such as American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Political Economy, Econometrica, or Review of Economic Studies . I also refer to the connectivity of Behavioral Law and Economics and Behavioral Public Choice. The paper then finishes with a discussion of a selected number of topics covering areas such as corruption, tax compliance, shitstorms/firestorms, constitutional choices, globalization and international organizations; all of which present scientific challenges when applying pure Law and Economics approaches without also implementing a Public Choice analysis.
    Date: 2021–02
  4. By: Jeanne Hagenbach (Institut d'Urbanisme de Paris (IUP)); Frédéric Koessler (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)
    Abstract: We consider a single psychological agent whose utility depends on his action, the state of the world, and the belief that he holds about that state. The agent is initially informed about the state and decides whether to memorize it, otherwise he has no recall. We model the memorization process by a multi-self game in which the privately informed first self voluntarily discloses information to the second self, who has identical preferences and acts upon the disclosed information. We identify broad categories of psychological utility functions for which there exists an equilibrium in which every state is voluntarily memorized. In contrast, if there are exogenous failures in the memorization process, then the agent memorizes states selectively. In this case, we characterize the partially informative equilibria for common classes of psychological utilities. If the material cost of forgetting is low, then the agent only memorizes good enough news. Otherwise, only extreme news are voluntarily memorized.
    Keywords: Multi-self game,disclosure games,imperfect recall,selective memory,motivated beliefs,psychological games,anticipatory utility
    Date: 2021–02
  5. By: Ötsch, Walter
    Abstract: Hayek benötigt für sein Marktmodell (in dem "der Wettbewerb" als Entdeckungsverfahren konzipiert wird) einen zweifachen Politikauftrag: (1) aktiv "die Ordnung" herzustellen (die sich selbst nicht herstellen kann) - und (2) (wenn sie hergestellt ist) sich machtlos zu stellen und nicht "in sie" zu "intervenieren". Dieser Widerspruch im Handlungsauftrag folgt aus der Intention von Hayek, die Gesellschaft nicht nur theoretisch zu erfassen, sondern auch gezielt zu verändern. Im Hintergrund steht seine Sicht des Menschen als "konstitutionell ignorant" (das gilt für ihn auch für PolitikerInnen) im Gegensatz und in Kontrast zu einem behaupteten überbordenden Wissen "des Marktes" bzw. seiner "Ordnung". Hayeks Bilder vom Menschen, vom "Markt" und von der Politik haben sich - so die These - in der aktuellen ökonomisierten Gesellschaft in hohem Maße durchgesetzt. Ihre Folgen waren nicht nur eine Abwertung der Politik, sondern auch der Wissenschaft selbst - eine Tendenz, die auch an manchen Think Tanks erkennbar ist, die sich auf Hayek berufen, und aus politischen Gründen dazu übergangen sind, falsches Wissen mit scheinbar wissenschaftlichen Mitteln zu produzieren.
    Keywords: Friedrich Hayek,Markt,Ordnung,Politikkonzept,Wissen,Nichtwissen,Epistemologie,Ignoranz,Fake News,Epistemologie
    JEL: A11 B13 B25 E65 H11 P10 Z13
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Fabio Sanchez; Margarita Fajardo; María José Ospina; Jorge Bonilla
    Abstract: Este libro presenta y analiza las actividades de investigación del CEDE a lo largo de medio siglo (1958-2008). Se ofrece una mirada panorámica mediante algunos elementos de la cienciometría, de la producción de investigación del CEDE y del personal dedicado a esta tarea. Para ello, se utilizaron indicadores de producción en lo que tiene que ver con cantidad, temáticas abordadas y medios de difusión de la investigación. Igualmente, se proporcionan indicadores de cantidad y nivel de formación del capital humano vinculado al centro. Se espera que este libro enriquezca el debate sobre los logros del centro y sobre la visión y las tendencias de la investigación económica en Colombia hecha desde la universidad y que también abra nuevos pensamientos hacia la reflexión sobre la futura investigación en el mundo de hoy.
    Date: 2020–04–01
  7. By: Tom Coupé (University of Canterbury)
    Abstract: This paper uses Google Trends to rank economists and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using Google Trends compared with other ranking methods, like those based on citations or downloads. I find that search intensity rankings based on Google Trends data are only modestly correlated with more traditional measures of scholarly impact; hence, search intensity statistics can provide additional information, allowing one to show a more comprehensive picture of academics’ impact. In addition, search intensity rankings can help to illustrate the variety in economists’ careers that can lead to fame and allows a comparison of the current impact of both contemporaneous and past economists. Complete rankings can be found at
    Keywords: Economists, rankings, Google Trends, performance measurement
    JEL: A11 B30
    Date: 2021–02–01

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