nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2021‒07‒26
fourteen 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. The Role of Cliometrics in History and Economics. By Claude Diebolt; Michael Haupert
  3. Grounded in Methodology, Certified by Journals: The Rise and Evolution of a Mainstream in Economics By Michel De Vroey; Luca Pensieroso
  4. Aux origines nietzschéennes des ambiguïtés du concept d'entrepreneur : Schumpeter lecteur de Nietzsche By Nathanaël Colin-Jaeger; Etienne Wiedemann
  5. Georgescu-Roegen's Flow-Fund Theory of Production in Retrospect By Quentin Couix
  6. What's Worth Knowing? Economists' Opinions about Economics By Andre, Peter; Falk, Armin
  7. Durkheim in the Neoliberal Organization : Taking Resistance and Solidarity Seriously By David Courpasson; Dima Younès; Michael Ivor Reed
  8. Recent Developments in Inference: Practicalities for Applied Economics By Jeffrey D. Michler; Anna Josephson
  9. Decision Under Normative Uncertainty By Franz Dietrich; Brian Jabarian
  10. Le tournant libéral en France : une liquidation du modèle planiste-keynésien By Matthieu Renault
  11. The Protestant Ethic and Capitalism By Mihai Stoicescu
  12. The fuel of unparalleled recovery: Monetary policy in South Africa between 1925 and 1936 By Swanepoel, Christie; Fliers, Philip
  13. Indigenous nations and the development of the US economy: Land, resources, and dispossession By Carlos, Ann M.; Feir, Donna; Redish, Angela
  14. Fighting Climate Change: The Role of Norms, Preferences, and Moral Values By Armin Falk; Peter Andre; Teodora Boneva; Felix Chopra

  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: Claude Diebolt; Michael Haupert
    Abstract: How did cliometrics in particular, and economic history in general, arrive at this crossroads, where it is at once considered to be a dying discipline and one that is spreading through the economics discipline as a whole? To understand the current status and future prospects of economic history, it is necessary to understand its past.
    Keywords: Cliometrics, economic history, Robert Fogel, Douglass North, economic growth, econometrics, interdisciplinary economic history, new economic history, multidisciplinary, methodology, quantitative.
    JEL: A12 N00 N01
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Michel De Vroey (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES)); Luca Pensieroso (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))
    Abstract: In this paper, we introduce a new understanding of the mainstream notion in economics. Its distinct character is based on a set of methodological standards deemed compulsory in the theoretical or empirical practice of the discipline. We contend that a theoretical mainstream arose around the 1980s, when the prevailing methodological standards in microeconomics and game theory – mathematical language, equilibrium discipline, and ‘explicit micro-foundations’ – came to be adopted in theoretical papers across a wide range of fields and specializations. We further argue that the 1990 period witnessed the surge of a distinct empirical mainstream and the emergence of a joint mainstream, the result of the rise of experimental economics and a renewal of applied economics centered on the notion of causal inference. An examination of the contents of the articles published in top journals in selected years from 1970 to 2018 confirms our contention.
    Keywords: Mainstream, Neoclassical approach, Experimental economics, Causal inference, Methodology
    JEL: A10 B20 B41 C9
    Date: 2021–07–06
  4. By: Nathanaël Colin-Jaeger (TRIANGLE - Triangle : action, discours, pensée politique et économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - IEP Lyon - Sciences Po Lyon - Institut d'études politiques de Lyon - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Etienne Wiedemann
    Abstract: La figure de l'entrepreneur est aujourd'hui utilisée dans une grande variété de discours publics. Ce travail cherche à remonter à l'une des sources théoriques de la constitution de cette figure : la théorie de l'entrepreneur de Schumpeter en 1911. Ce retour montre que Schumpeter, dans son contexte intellectuel et théorique, est amené à importer une anthropologie philosophique en économie, celle de Nietzsche, auteur largement lu dans l'Autriche du début du XXème siècle. En transposant, à l'intérieur de sa théorie économique, certaines caractéristiques majeures du grand homme créatif nietzschéen dans la figure de l'entrepreneur, Schumpeter développe une explication originale de la nature dynamique du marché et de l'évolution économique. Néanmoins il importe aussi de Nietzsche une série d'ambiguïtés, notamment en ce qui concerne l'origine de l'exceptionnalité individuelle de l'entrepreneur, et plus particulièrement de sa puissance créatrice. Une seconde ambiguïté est très largement héritée, qui concerne l'extension du modèle de l'individu entrepreneur : constitue-t-il une théorie de l'action valable pour tous les individus ou uniquement pour un type d'individus particuliers ? Comment concilier exceptionnalité de l'entrepreneur et norme d'un entreprenariat pour tous ? La dernière partie de ce travail s'attache ainsi à explorer ces ambiguïtés, qui apparaissent chez Schumpeter et ses successeurs, notamment Israël Kirzner.
    Keywords: Nietzsche,Schumpeter,Kirzner,Entrepreneur,Néolibéralisme
    Date: 2021–12–01
  5. 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
  6. By: Andre, Peter (University of Bonn); Falk, Armin (briq, 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: David Courpasson (emlyon business school); Dima Younès; Michael Ivor Reed
    Abstract: Durkheim's contributions to organization studies have so far been decidedly marginal, and largely concentrated on culture. In this paper, we draw upon his theory of anomie and solidarity to show how a Durkheimian view of contemporary organizations and work has special relevance today for debates about how workers, particularly middle managers, can reshuffle a capacity to resist neoliberal efforts to profoundly disrupt their working conditions, in particular their autonomy to define what is a job well done. We show how Durkheim's insights can account for the unexpected rekindling of forms of social solidarity in highly competitive and individualistic organizational settings, through dissident efforts that convey a renewal of a certain work ethos severed by neoliberal managerial policies and practices. Recent studies on resistance confirm Durkheim's view that forms of collective activity, resembling supposedly ‘old' mechanisms of former days, continue to exist and develop in contemporary societies and organizations, in response to pressure to put people in situations of inter-individual competition that disrupts social relationships.
    Keywords: anomie,solidarity,resistance,middle managers,Durkheim,enclaves
    Date: 2021–01–01
  8. By: Jeffrey D. Michler; Anna Josephson
    Abstract: We provide a review of recent developments in the calculation of standard errors and test statistics for statistical inference. While much of the focus of the last two decades in economics has been on generating unbiased coefficients, recent years has seen a variety of advancements in correcting for non-standard standard errors. We synthesize these recent advances in addressing challenges to conventional inference, like heteroskedasticity, clustering, serial correlation, and testing multiple hypotheses. We also discuss recent advancements in numerical methods, such as the bootstrap, wild bootstrap, and randomization inference. We make three specific recommendations. First, applied economists need to clearly articulate the challenges to statistical inference that are present in data as well as the source of those challenges. Second, modern computing power and statistical software means that applied economists have no excuse for not correctly calculating their standard errors and test statistics. Third, because complicated sampling strategies and research designs make it difficult to work out the correct formula for standard errors and test statistics, we believe that in the applied economics profession it should become standard practice to rely on asymptotic refinements to the distribution of an estimator or test statistic via bootstrapping. Throughout, we reference built-in and user-written Stata commands that allow one to quickly calculate accurate standard errors and relevant test statistics.
    Date: 2021–07
  9. By: Franz Dietrich (Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne, Paris School of Economics); Brian Jabarian (Université Paris 1 Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: While ordinary decision theory focuses on empirical uncertainty, real decision-makers also normative uncertainty: uncertainty about value itself. Normative uncertainty is comparable to (Harsanyian or Rawlsian) uncertainty in the 'original position', where one's values are unknown. A comprehensive decisiion theory must address twofold uncertainty - normative and empirical. We present a simple model of twofold uncertainty, and show that the most popular decision principle - maximising expected value ('Expectationalism') - has rival formulations, namely Ex-Ante Expectationalism, Ex-Post Expectationalism, and hybrid theories. These rival theories recommend different decisions, reasoning modes, and attitudes to risk. But they converge under an interesting (necessary and sufficient) condition
    Keywords: normative versus empirical uncertainty; expected value theory; expectationalism; ex-ante versus ex-post approach
    JEL: D81
    Date: 2020–09
  10. By: Matthieu Renault (Université de Côte d'Azur; CNRS, GREDEG)
    Abstract: A l'appui du témoignage d'Edmond Malinvaud, cet article avance une triple thèse à propos du tournant libéral en France. Premièrement, ce tournant a marqué un retour au libéralisme traditionnel plutôt que l'avènement d'un "néolibéralisme". Deuxièmement, les ingénieurs-économistes n'y ont joué qu'un rôle limité, en accompagnant plutôt qu'en impulsant le tournant libéral. Troisièmement, le tournant libéral en France peut être appréhendé comme une période de transition au cours de laquelle fut mise en oeuvre la liquidation du modèle de régulation planiste-keynésien. A cet égard, trois transformations - toutes initiées par Raymond Barre mais entérinées par le gouvernement socialiste - furent décisives : la fin du contrôle des prix et des salaires, la fin du monopole public de l'expertise économique et la fin des politiques de stabilisations keynésiennes.
    Keywords: Tournant libéral, Néolibéralisme, Keynésianisme, Edmond Malinvaud, Expertise
    Date: 2021–07
  11. By: Mihai Stoicescu (Aurel Vlaicu University, Arad, Romania)
    Abstract: The Reformation arose from society's reaction to the luxury, immorality and indifference of the clergy of the Catholic Church and returning to the original purity of New Testament Christianity. The Protestant culture supports the principle of equality and individualism. These were the basis for the development of capitalism. Various studies conclude that there is a strong link between Protestantism’s behavioral patterns, concepts of secular ethics and religious doctrines of Protestantism.
    Keywords: ethic, morality, values, protestantism, capitalism, Max Weber
    Date: 2021–03
  12. By: Swanepoel, Christie; Fliers, Philip
    Abstract: The newly established South African Reserve Bank (SARB) was tasked to protect the currency by navigating the interwar gold standard, and, from March 1933, maintaining parity with the Pound Sterling. We find that South Africa's exit from gold secured an unparalleled and rapid recovery from the Great Depression. South Africa's exit was accompanied by an inextricable link of the SARB's policy rate to the interest rate set by the Bank of England (BoE). This sacrifice of independent monetary policy allowed the SARB to fix the country's exchange rate without impeding the flow of gold to London. The SARB fuelled the economy by reducing its policy rates and accumulating gold. Had South Africa not devalued, the country would have suffered a severe depression and persistent deflation. An alternative to the devaluation, was for the SARB to pursue a cheap money strategy. By setting interest rates historically low, we find that South Africa could have achieved higher levels of economic growth, at the cost of higher inflation. Ultimately, South Africa's unparalleled recovery can be ascribed to the devaluation, however the change in the SARB monetary policy and the bank's control over the gold markets were of paramount importance.
    Keywords: monetary policy management,interwar gold standard,South Africa
    JEL: N14 N20 E42 E52 E58 F33
    Date: 2021
  13. By: Carlos, Ann M.; Feir, Donna; Redish, Angela
    Abstract: Abundant land and strong property rights are conventionally viewed as key factors underpinning US economic development success. This view relies on the "Pristine Myth" of an empty undeveloped land. But the abundant land of North America was already made productive and was the recognized territory of sovereign Indigenous Nations. We demonstrate that the development of strong property rights for European/American settlers was mirrored by the attenuation and increasing disregard of Indigenous property rights and that the dearth of discussion of the dispossession of Indigenous nations results in a misunderstanding of some of the core themes of US economic history.
    Keywords: indigenous peoples,development of the American economy,Institutions
    JEL: N40 N41 N50 N51
    Date: 2021
  14. By: Armin Falk; Peter Andre; Teodora Boneva; Felix Chopra
    Abstract: We document individual willingness to fight climate change and its behavioral determinants in a large representative sample of US adults. Willingness to fight climate change – as measured through an incentivized donation decision – is highly heterogeneous across the population. Individual beliefs about social norms, economic preferences such as patience and altruism, as well as universal moral values positively predict climate preferences. Moreover, we document systematic misperceptions of prevalent social norms. Respondents vastly underestimate the prevalence of climate- friendly behaviors and norms among their fellow citizens. Providing respondents with correct information causally raises individual willingness to fight climate change as well as individual support for climate policies. The effects are strongest for individuals who are skeptical about the existence and threat of global warming.
    JEL: D64 D83 D91 Q51 Z13
    Date: 2021

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