nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2021‒07‒19
twelve papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Models as ‘analytical similes’: on Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen's contribution to economic methodology By Quentin Couix
  2. Arthur Cecil Pigou on Speculation: A Marshallian Analysis of Institutions and Economic Welfare By Riko Stevens
  3. Social Ecological Economics By Spash, Clive L.
  4. The Values of Nature By Spash, Clive L.; Smith, Tone
  5. What Remains of the Cambridge Critique? On Professor Schefold's Theses By Petri, Fabio
  6. What’s Worth Knowing? Economists’ Opinions about Economics By Peter Andre; Armin Falk
  7. Extending Capabilities Conception of the Individual in Economics: Relationality and Responsibility By Erasmo, Valentina
  8. Georgescu-Roegen's Flow-Fund Theory of Production in Retrospect By Quentin Couix
  9. Green New Deal Leadership Determinants of the 21st Century: Teaching Economics of the Environment By Julia M. Puaschunder
  10. ¿Hacia una teoría de la administración en América Latina? By Francisco Ballina Ríos
  11. Microeconometrics with Partial Identi?cation By Francesca Molinari
  12. The 104th Anniversary of the Federal Reserve's Oldest Data Collection By Scott R. Konzem; Virginia Lewis; Suzanna Stephens; Gretchen C. Weinbach; Michael Zhang

  1. By: Quentin Couix (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: his paper investigates the methodology of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and his conception of economic models as analytical similes. His approach has received little attention from mathematical economists and economic methodologists. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to characterize his perspective and situate it in the broader spectrum of economic methodologies. It shows that Georgescu-Roegen criticized the lack of significance of certain economic models and attempted to give philosophical foundations to this criticism. He also provided a set of methodological principles that are illustrated by his practice of economic modeling. This perspective placed Georgescu-Roegen in opposition to the axiomatic approach that dominated postwar economics, and in line with economists such as Marshall, Wicksell, and Keynes, on the limited and subordinate role of mathematics in the discipline. Overall, the paper shows that Georgescu-Roegen's methodological contribution is still relevant to contemporary debates on the status of economic models.
    Keywords: Georgescu-Roegen,methodology,mathematical economics,models
    Date: 2021–04–03
  2. By: Riko Stevens (Business School, The University of Western Australia)
    Abstract: This paper examines the theory of speculation in the work of prominent Cambridge School economist Arthur Cecil Pigou (1877-1959). Although his treatment of speculation has been examined insofar as it relates to his theory of the business cycle, Pigou’s microeconomic analysis of speculation has received very little attention from historians of economic thought. This study contributes to the literature by providing an exposition and interpretation of Pigou’s treatment of the subject of speculation with particular reference to organised markets. It sheds light on an aspect of Pigou’s theory of speculation that has been overlooked in the secondary literature— namely, that Pigou’s assessment of the welfare consequences of speculation depends crucially upon the nature of the institutional context within which that activity takes place. Recognising this aspect of Pigou’s analysis of speculation not only provides a more faithful representation of his views on the subject but it also allows us to identify some of the more fruitful insights contained therein. In this connection, it is argued that Pigou’s treatment of the subject of speculation yields considerable insight into how best to interpret Alfred Marshall’s views on the subject—a matter which has constituted an important unresolved question in the secondary literature.
    Keywords: economic welfare, institutions, organised markets, Pigou, speculation, stock exchanges
    JEL: B13 D84 E44 G10 G41 P48
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Spash, Clive L.
    Abstract: Ecological economics has developed as a modern movement with its roots in environmentalism and radical environmental economics. Divisions and conflicts within the field are explored to show why material claiming to fall under the title of ecological economics fails to be representative of progress or the vision which drove socio-economic specialists to interact with ecologists in the first place. The argument is then put forward that ecological economics, as a social science engagingwith the natural sciences, is a heterodox school of modern political economy.
    Keywords: ecological economics, methodology, ideology, politics, history
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Spash, Clive L.; Smith, Tone
    Abstract: The values of Nature are today ever more contested in attempts to reduce them to a narroweconomics calculus and financial metrics. The crisis of modernity is evident is that the concept ofNature itself has been subject to post-modern deconstruction as archaic Romanticism whilesimultaneously being made into a modernist capital form by economists, bankers and financiers. Inthis paper we start by defining the meaning of Nature before moving to its values, the two beinginseparable. Nature is seen as combining three aspect: (i) being ‘other’ than human, (ii) abiophysical structure and (iii) a quality which humans commonly and intuitively reference butstruggle to specify. When turning to the values of Nature we describe the three major meta-ethicalsystems of Western philosophy—utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics. The contestationespecially between utilitarian and rights-based approaches is explored. The role of intrinsic value inthese systems is outlined. Modern mainstream economic valuation is then placed in context of theforgoing discussion and critically reviewed as a misguided but hegemonic approach to valuingNature. The terrain of debate is laid out, briefly covering recent developments of rights to Natureand Nature’s contribution to people. That Nature cannot be dismissed as a concept (somethingattempted by some post-modernists and strong constructionists), but remains importantly contestedin terms of its values, is central to understanding the on-going social-ecological conflicts created by.
    Keywords: environmental values, Nature, ethics, utilitarianism, rights, virtue, incommensurability,intrinsic value, economic valuation, moral considerability; standing, plural values
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Petri, Fabio (University of Siena)
    Abstract: Professor Bertram Schefold’s recent papers on capital theory and the Cambridge critique argue that the very low likelihood of reswitching and reverse capital deepening that appears to emerge from empirical input-output tables is confirmed by theoretical results; these results, he concludes, largely rehabilitate traditional neoclassical views on capital and show that the Sraffian critics’ insistence on reverse capital deepening as a fundamental criticism of neoclassical theory is misplaced. The present paper raises doubts about these arguments. In particular Professor Schefold does not give adequate consideration to the ‘supply-side’ problems with the measurability and the given endowment of the traditional notion of capital as a single factor. On the empirical evidence based on input-output tables, I agree with Professor Kurz that it suffers from very serious weaknesses. The more recent argument for an extremely low likelihood of double switching, advanced in Schefold (2016) and (2017), appears criticisable too.
    Keywords: capital theory; Cambridge critique; random matrices; aggregate production function
    JEL: B13 B51 E25
    Date: 2021–07
  6. By: Peter Andre (University of Bonn); Armin Falk (briq and the University of Bonn)
    Abstract: We document economists, opinions about what is worth knowing and ask (i) which research objectives economic research should embrace and (ii) which topics it should study. Almost 10,000 economic researchers from all fields and ranks of the profession participated in our global survey. Detailed bibliometric data show that our sample represents the population of economic researchers who publish in English. We report three main findings. First, economists' opinions are vastly heterogeneous. Second, most researchers are dissatisfied with the status quo, in terms of both research topics and objectives. Third, on average, respondents think that economic research should become more policy-relevant, multidisciplinary, risky and disruptive, and pursue more diverse topics. We also find that dissatisfaction with the status quo is more prevalent among female scholars and associated with lower job satisfaction and higher stress levels. Taken together, the results suggest that economics as a field does not appreciate and work on what economists collectively prefer.
    Keywords: economic research, research objectives, research topics, satisfaction, policy-relevance, multidisciplinarity, diversity
    JEL: A11 A14
    Date: 2021–07
  7. By: Erasmo, Valentina
    Abstract: This paper tries to extend the Capabilities Conception of the Individual developed by Davis (2003, 2009), understanding capabilities as relationships. Firstly, I will introduce the main concepts which are useful towards this extension, namely those of agency and capabilities. For this purpose, I will avail of Ricoeur (2004) analysis of Sen’s earlier works. Thanks to his analysis, I will show how agency refers to a rational and responsible exercise of capabilities. After this introduction, I will develop the concept of capabilities as relationships, availing of the distinction between intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships (Giovanola 2005, 2009): in this framework, self-scrutiny and relationality respectively become the leading capabilities of these two relationships. Since this extension of capabilities conception of individuals, two concepts arise with a certain strength, namely those of responsibility and relationality. In contrast, this extension of capabilities conception of individual in economics also in terms of interpersonal relationship emphasizes how this social conception of individual is characterized by relationality. This point is relevant because enables further extensions of Sen’s works, for example, in civil economics.
    Keywords: agency; capabilities; responsibility; relationality; relationship (intrapersonal, interpersonal)
    JEL: B41 B59 Z13
    Date: 2021–06–27
  8. By: Quentin Couix (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Date: 2020–10
  9. By: Julia M. Puaschunder (The New School, New York, USA)
    Abstract: Globalization leveraged pressure on contemporary society. Today's most pressing social dilemmas regarding climate change demand for inclusive solutions that marry the idea of sustainable growth with environmental economics. Understanding the bounds of environmental limits to avoid ethical downfalls beyond the control of singular nation states infringing on intergenerational equity – the fairness to provide an at least as favorable standard of living to future generations as enjoyed today – has become a blatant demand. In a history of turning to natural law as a human-imbued moral compass for solving societal downfalls on a global scale in times of crises; the paper covers the ethical justification for environmental economics. Climate change demands for intergenerational equity in the 21st century and climate justice attention around the globe, while the gains and losses of a warming globe are distributed unequally. Only ethical foundations and imperatives will help to provide the groundwork on climate justice within a society, around the world and over time. Ethics of the environment derived from a human natural drive towards intergenerational fairness back climate justice based governance and private sector solutions.
    Keywords: Climate Bonds, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Climatorial Imperative, Economics of the Environment, Ethics, Environmental Justice, Environmental Governance, Heidegger, Kant, Public Policy, Rawls, Sustainability, Teaching
    Date: 2021–03
  10. By: Francisco Ballina Ríos
    Abstract: Resumen El objetivo de este artículo es indagar qué tanto ha evolucionado la disciplina administrativa como técnica o como episteme, en el contexto latinoamericano. Se plantea que la teoría latinoamericana de la administración enfrenta una doble problemática: la epistemológica, por su falta de consistencia y coherencia interna, y la sociológica, debido a que su aparato conceptual está constituido de enfoques técnicos, ligados a procesos de producción a nivel mundial de corte pragmático-racionalistas; esta teoría administrativa, se fundamenta en el liberalismo económico, en modelos gerenciales provenientes en forma dominante de Europa y Estados Unidos, así como Japón. Asimismo, se busca describir sintéticamente hacia dónde se dirigen las agendas alternativas de investigación en administración para superar este escollo, mediante una conceptualización del papel que en nuestras sociedades juegan las empresas y las organizaciones. Abstract The objective of this article is to investigate how much the discipline of business has evolved as technique or as episteme, in the Latin American context. It is proposed that the Latin American administration theory is facing a double challenge: an epistemological one, due to its lack of consistency and internal coherence; and a sociological one, given the fact that its conceptual apparatus consists of technical approaches connected to production processes on a global scale with a pragmatic-rationalist emphasis. This administrative theory is based on economic liberalism, on management models that predominantly come from Europe and USA, as well as Japan. Likewise, the aim is to make a synoptical description of where the alternative agendas for research on business are headed in order to overcome this hurdle, through a conceptualization of the role that businesses and organizations play in our societies.
    Keywords: América Latina; teoría administrativa; investigación; empresas y organizaciones.
    JEL: A12 F69 N16
    Date: 2021–01–15
  11. By: Francesca Molinari (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Cornell University)
    Abstract: This chapter reviews the microeconometrics literature on partial identi?cation, focusing on the developments of the last thirty years. The topics presented illustrate that the available data combined with credible maintained assumptions may yield much information about a parameter of interest, even if they do not reveal it exactly. Special attention is devoted to discussing the challenges associated with, and some of the solutions put forward to, (1) obtain a tractable characterization of the values for the parameters of interest which are observationally equivalent, given the available data and maintained assumptions; (2) estimate this set of values; (3) conduct test of hypotheses and make con?dence statements. The chapter reviews advances in partial identi?cation analysis both as applied to learning (functionals of) probability distributions that are well-de?ned in the absence of models, as well as to learning parameters that are well-de?ned only in the context of particular models. A simple organizing principle is highlighted: the source of the identi?cation problem can often be traced to a collection of random variables that are consistent with the available data and maintained assumptions. This collection may be part of the observed data or be a model implication. In either case, it can be formalized as a random set. Random set theory is then used as a mathematical framework to unify a number of special results and produce a general methodology to carry out partial identi?cation analysis.
    Date: 2020–05–04
  12. By: Scott R. Konzem; Virginia Lewis; Suzanna Stephens; Gretchen C. Weinbach; Michael Zhang
    Abstract: The Federal Reserve's oldest data collection, designed to gather weekly information about commercial banks' balance sheets, will turn 104 years old this year. Initiated in December 1917 in response to World War I, this voluntary collection currently underlies the Board's H.8 statistical release, Assets and Liabilities of Commercial Banks in the United States. This Note describes the origins of this collection, some highlights regarding its evolution, and how the data are used today.
    Date: 2021–06–21

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