nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2021‒05‒24
eight papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Social Externalities and Economic Analysis By Fleurbaey, Marc; Kanbur, Ravi; Viney, Brody
  2. Attribute Substitution, Counterfactual Thinking, and Heterodox Economics By John B. Davis
  3. Concentration of power at the editorial boards of economics journals By Lorenzo Ductor; Bauke Visser
  4. When a coauthor joins an editorial board By Lorenzo Ductor; Bauke Visser
  5. Money, Banking, and Old-School Historical Economics By Monnet, Eric; Velde, François R.
  6. Al maestro con cariño: An Assessment of Roberto Frenkel´s Contributions to Economics. By Rapetti, Martin
  7. Economía. Ética y Corrupción By Alberto José Figueras
  8. Efficiency and Productivity Analysis from a System Perspective:Historical Overview. By Antonio Peyrache; Maria C. A. Silva

  1. By: Fleurbaey, Marc; Kanbur, Ravi; Viney, Brody
    Abstract: This paper considers and assesses the concept of social externalities through human interdependence, in relation to the economic analysis of externalities in the tradition of Pigou and Arrow, including the analysis of the commons. It argues that there are limits to economic analysis. Our proposal is to enlarge the perspective and start thinking about a broader framework in which any pattern of influence of an agent or a group of agents over a third party, which is not mediated by any economic, social, or psychological mechanism guaranteeing the alignment of the marginal net private benefit with marginal net social benefit, can be attached the "externality" label and be scrutinized for the likely negative consequences that result from the divergence. These consequences may be significant given the many interactions between the social and economic realms, and the scope for spillovers and feedback loops to emerge. The paper also establishes a tentative and probably incomplete list of possible internalizing mechanisms for externalities under this broader framework, which includes: pricing and monetary incentives; altruism and solidarity; moral norms; reciprocity and mutual monitoring; centralized cooperative decision-making; and merger. There are clear reasons why the pricing mechanism is not appropriate in some cases. A more difficult question to answer is what factors determine which of the mechanisms is the appropriate one to rely on in a given sphere of relations and activities. The object of the paper is to encourage research and contributions from all the relevant disciplines of social sciences on the pervasive human interdependence that the notion of social externalities tries to capture.
    Keywords: Commons; Ethical Principles; Externalities; Human Interdependence; Internalizing Mechanisms; Social Externalities
    JEL: A12 A13 B31 D02 D62 D63 H23
    Date: 2020–08
  2. By: John B. Davis (Department of Economics Marquette University)
    Abstract: This paper examines how attribute substitution (AS), central to the psychology of choice and behavioral economic reasoning, can be understood when combined with counterfactual thinking (CFT), often called �what if� or �if only� thinking, and how their combination creates important opportunities for the seeing heterodox economics as a single research program alternative to mainstream economics. The first section of the paper discusses AS, CFT, and what a AS-CFT behavioral framework involves, and then emphasizes how this framework departs from fundamental assumptions mainstream rational choice theory employs. The second section reviews the foundations of behavioral thinking regarding AS, describes what it involves when it includes attention to CFT, distinguishes between more automatic and more reflective types of behavioral adjustment. It notes that heterodox economics has generally emphasized ecological rationality and bounded rationality in its use of AS. The third section then discusses how six prominent heterodox approaches can each be understood to draw on this combination of AS and CFT, and how this represents common ground for a shared critique of the mainstream economic approach. What distinguishes them is how they differ regarding the weight and emphasis placed on more automatic versus more reflective types of behavioral adjustment. The fourth section argues that within this shared framework these different heterodox approaches practice a division of labor in how they address different aspects of economic life understood in behavioral and counterfactual terms.
    Keywords: counterfactual thinking, attribute substitution, counterfactual thinking, adjustment behavior, automatic versus reflective, heterodox economics
    JEL: A12 A13 B41 D90
    Date: 2021–05
  3. By: Lorenzo Ductor (University of Granada); Bauke Visser (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: Evolutionary arguments and incentive theory point to the importance of variety and rotation of editorial board members to stimulate innovative research. Using a unique dataset covering more than 100 economics journals over the period 1990-2011, we document trends in the incidence of multiple positions, editorial duration and institutional background for more than 6,100 board members. We put these figures into perspective using the literature on boards of directors and measures of market concentration. The picture that emerges is of a discipline with a high concentration of institutional and individual power, especially at the more prestigious journals. Evidence suggests this indeed matters: there is a strong negative association between editorial duration and journal impact.
    Keywords: editorial boards, journals, concentration, power, busyness, impact
    JEL: A11 A14 O31
    Date: 2021–05–17
  4. By: Lorenzo Ductor (University of Granada); Bauke Visser (Erasmus University Rotterdam)
    Abstract: Using novel and large-scale data at the individual level, we find that an author publishes more articles when a coauthor joins an editorial board, both in the "coauthor's'" journal and in other journals. This effect is larger, the less experienced the author is, and disappears quickly once the coauthor leaves the journal's board. Of the hypotheses that we consider to explain these patterns, the signalling hypothesis is a strong contender. It argues that the temporary increase in status of the coauthor improves the plight of the author as it improves the inference that editorial boards make about the author's underlying quality. Only the favoritism hypothesis can explain that, especially at journals with low board turnover, articles published during a coauthor's stint on the editorial board receive less citations than articles published during other years.
    Keywords: editorial boards, networks, collaboration, coauthor
    JEL: A11 A14 D71 I26 J44 O30
    Date: 2021–05–17
  5. By: Monnet, Eric; Velde, François R.
    Abstract: We review developments in the history of money, banking, and financial intermediation over the last twenty years. We focus on studies of financial development, including the role of regulation and the history of central banking. We also review the literature of banking and financial crises. This area has been largely unaffected by the so-called new econometric methods that seek to prove causality in reduced form settings. We discuss why historical macroeconomics is less amenable to such methods, discuss the underlying concepts of causality, and emphasize that models remain the backbone of our historical narratives.
    Keywords: Banking; Causality; Financial Intermediation; historical macroeconomics; money
    JEL: N01 N10 N20
    Date: 2020–10
  6. By: Rapetti, Martin
    Abstract: This is a brief note assessing Roberto Frenkel´s contributions to Economics.
    Keywords: Roberto Frenkel, macroeconomic theory, Latin America
    JEL: B3 B31
    Date: 2021–05–06
  7. By: Alberto José Figueras (UNC.Instituto de Economía y Finanzas de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas, UNC)
    Abstract: Este trabajo brinda un conjunto de reflexiones sobre el vínculo entre las disciplinas sociales de la Ética y de la Economía. El modesto objetivo de estas líneas es brindar un conjunto de reflexiones que dejen translucir algunas “hipótesis de trabajo”, que a su vez jueguen como disparadores del pensamiento. En la primera sección, se presenta una muy breve historia de la Ética como disciplina. Por supuesto que esta breve historia implica una selección personal en la nómina de autores y en las escuetas frases que los presentan, no siendo de ninguna manera una presentación exhaustiva. A continuación, las siguientes tres secciones pasan una revista evolutiva a la conexión entre Economía y Ética, desde su temprana proximidad hasta su divorcio actual. Desde luego, que tal revisión se concreta desde una lectura personal del proceso. A continuación, en la sección quinta, se hace mención de una “singular” forma de tocar el problema moral en la Economía: el debate sobre la corrupción y sus efectos sobre la eficiencia. A su vez, en el último acápite se cierra con unas breves palabras finales.
    Keywords: Economía Ética Corrupción
    JEL: A13 K40 Z13
    Date: 2020–02
  8. By: Antonio Peyrache (School of Economics and Centre for Efficiency and Productivity Analysis (CEPA) at The University of Queensland, Australia); Maria C. A. Silva (CEGE - Católica Porto Business School,)
    Abstract: A government faces the problem of allocating efficiently resources (factors of production or expenditure) to individual hospitals. In doing so, the government decides the quantity of resources that go to each single hospital and then leaves the decision on how to best use these resources to the hospital manager. The hospital manager will face the problem of allocating efficiently the resources she is given among the different departments of the hospital (i.e. cardiology, radiology, etc.) and she leaves the decision on how to best use these resources to the department head. Within each department, the head of the department decides how to allocate the resources she is given in order to service patients. What we just described is a multi-level parallel production network. To our surprise, such a system has been described mathematically (and in words) for the first time by Kantorovich (1939)and subsequently independently proposed by Koopmans (1951) and Johansen (1972). The problems of allocation of resources within the system and the measures of efficiency used by these early authors are astonishingly similar to the very recent literature on Network Data Envelopment Analysis (NDEA). NDEA witnessed exponential growth in the last decade. This prompted us to go deeper into the study of this _eld of research. In this chapter we review these early contributions in order to grasp a better understanding of the system approach to productivity and efficiency analysis. This topic has been quite neglected in the three decades going from the end of the '70 to the beginning of this century. The by-product of such a neglect is that in the last 10 to 20 years a lot of effort went into re-discovering the basic production structure described by Kantorovich, Koopmans and Johansen. The aim of this chapter is to make justice of the early contributions of these authors in view of the recent developments of system thinking in efficiency and productivity analysis. In the conclusion of the chapter, after having explored historically the development of this field of research, we will propose a number of topics that we think are important for the future development of this field of study.
    Date: 2021–05

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