nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2022‒04‒25
nine papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Causality and Econometrics By James J. Heckman; Rodrigo Pinto
  2. Is Rawls' Theory of Justice Biased by Methodological Nationalism? By Speranta Dumitru
  3. 30 Jahre Unternehmensethik: Ein ordonomischer Rückblick, Überblick und Ausblick By Pies, Ingo
  4. Gene-Environment Interplay in the Social Sciences By Pereira, Rita; Biroli, Pietro; von hinke, stephanie; Van Kippersluis, Hans; Galama, Titus; Rietveld, Niels; Thom, Kevin
  5. Ideas Have Consequences: The Impact of Law and Economics on American Justice By Elliott Ash; Daniel L. Chen; Suresh Naidu
  6. Computers, Programming and Dynamic General Equilibrium Macroeconomic Modeling By Bongers, Anelí; Molinari, Benedetto; Torres, José L.
  7. Socioeconomic diversity of economics PhDs By Robert Schultz; Anna Stansbury
  8. A new theory of serendipity By Vuong, Quan-Hoang; Le, Tam-Tri; Khuc, Quy Van; Nguyen, Minh-Hoang
  9. Prerationality as Avoiding Predictably Regrettable Consequences By Hammond, Peter J.

  1. By: James J. Heckman; Rodrigo Pinto
    Abstract: This paper examines the econometric causal model for policy analysis developed by the seminal ideas of Ragnar Frisch and Trygve Haavelmo. We compare the econometric causal model with two popular causal frameworks: Neyman-Holland causal model and the do-calculus. The Neyman-Holland causal model is based on the language of potential outcomes and was largely developed by statisticians. The do-calculus, developed by Judea Pearl and co-authors, relies on Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs) and is a popular causal framework in computer science. We make the case that economists who uncritically use these approximating frameworks often discard the substantial benefits of the econometric causal model to the detriment of more informative economic policy analyses. We illustrate the versatility and capabilities of the econometric framework using causal models that are frequently studied by economists.
    JEL: C10 C18
    Date: 2022–02
  2. By: Speranta Dumitru (CERLIS - UMR 8070 - Centre de recherche sur les liens sociaux - Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UPC - Université Paris Cité)
    Abstract: Methodological nationalism assumes that, to understand a phenomenon, nation-states are the relevant units of analysis. This assumption has been recognized as a source of bias in most of the social sciences. Does it bias Rawls' understanding of justice, too? This paper argues that it does for at least two reasons. Firstly, what Rawls thinks justice requires on a global scale falls short of what states and international organisations actually do. Secondly, framing the difference principle in national terms, as Rawls did, is a way to increase the "citizenship rent", or the revenue a person receives just by being citizen of a rich country . The paper argues that methodological nationalism biases Rawls' understanding of justice by affecting both the plausibility and the coherence of his theory.
    Abstract: Le nationalisme méthodologique suppose que pour comprendre un phénomène, les États-nations sont les unités d'analyse pertinentes. Ce présupposé a été reconnu comme une source de biais dans la plupart des sciences sociales. Peut-il aussi biaiser la façon dont Rawls comprend la justice? Cet article répond par l'affirmative. Il y a au moins deux raisons qui prouvent l'existence d'un biais. Premièrement, ce que Rawls pense que la justice exige au niveau mondial est en deçà de ce que les États et les institutions internationales réalisent effectivement. Deuxièmement, formuler le principe de justice en termes nationaux, comme Rawls le fait, est une façon d'augmenter la "rente de la citoyenneté", c'est-à-dire le revenu qu'une personne obtient seulement en étant citoyenne d'un pays riche. Cet article soutient que le nationalisme méthodologique biaise la théorie de Rawls, affectant sa plausibilité et sa cohérence.
    Keywords: Nationalism,Methodological nationalism,Theory of justice,Rawls,Inequality,International justice,Global Inequality,Branko Milanovic,State-centrism,Groupism,Territorialism,Citizenship,Rent,Basic structure,Difference principle,Justice,International Aid,Equal Opportunity
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Pies, Ingo
    Abstract: Dieser Aufsatz resümiert 30 Jahre unternehmensethische Theoriearbeit und stellt hierzu insbesondere das ordonomische Forschungsprogramm vor.
    Keywords: Ordnungsethik,Ordonomik,Governance,Optimierung,Moral als Produktionsfaktor,Order Ethics,Ordonomics,Governance,Optimization,Morality as a Factor of Production
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Pereira, Rita; Biroli, Pietro (University of Bologna); von hinke, stephanie; Van Kippersluis, Hans (Erasmus University Rotterdam); Galama, Titus; Rietveld, Niels; Thom, Kevin
    Abstract: Nature (one's genes) and nurture (one's environment) jointly contribute to the formation and evolution of health and human capital over the life cycle. This complex interplay between genes and environment can be estimated and quantified using genetic information readily available in a growing number of social science data sets. To help the novice reader interested in understanding individual decision making, public policy, and inequality using genetic data, we introduce essential genetic terminology, review the literature in economics and social-science genetics---with a focus on the interplay between genes and environment---and discuss policy implications and future prospects of the use of genetic data in the social sciences and economics.
    Date: 2022–03–04
  5. By: Elliott Ash; Daniel L. Chen; Suresh Naidu
    Abstract: This paper provides a quantitative analysis of the effects of the early law-and- economics movement on the U.S. judiciary. We focus on the Manne Economics Institute for Federal Judges, an intensive economics course that trained almost half of federal judges between 1976 and 1999. Using the universe of published opinions in U.S. Circuit Courts and 1 million District Court criminal sentencing decisions, we estimate the within-judge effect of Manne program attendance. Selection into attendance was limited—the program was popular across judges from all backgrounds, was regularly oversubscribed, and admitted judges on a first-come first-served basis—and results are robust to a variety of automatically selected covariates predicting the timing of attendance. We find that after attending economics training, participating judges use more economics language in their opinions, issue more conservative decisions in economics-related cases, rule against regulatory agencies more often, favor more lax enforcement in antitrust cases, and impose more/longer criminal sentences. The law-and- economics movement had policy consequences via its influence on U.S. federal judges.
    JEL: B2 K0
    Date: 2022–02
  6. By: Bongers, Anelí; Molinari, Benedetto; Torres, José L.
    Abstract: Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) models nowadays undertake the bulk of macroeconomic analysis. Their widespread use during the last 40 years reflects their usefulness as a scientific laboratory in which to study the aggregate economy and its responses to different shocks, to carry out counterfactual experiments and to perform policy evaluation. A key characteristic of DSGE models is that their computation is numerical and requires intensive computational power and the handling of numerical methods. In fact, the main advances in macroeconomic modeling since the 1980s have been possible only because of the increasing computational power of computers, which has supported the expansion of DSGE models as more and more accurate reproductions of the actual economy, thus becoming the prevailing modeling strategy and the dominant paradigm in contemporaneous macroeconomics. Along with DSGE models, specific computer languages have been developed to facilitate simulations, estimations and comparisons of the aggregate economies represented by DSGE models. Knowledge of these languages, together with expertise in programming and computers, has become an essential part of the profession for macroeconomists at both the academic and the professional level.
    Keywords: Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models; Computers; Programming languages; Codes; Computational economics; Dynare.
    JEL: C61 C63 C88 E37
    Date: 2022–03–22
  7. By: Robert Schultz (University of Michigan); Anna Stansbury (Peterson Institute for International Economics)
    Abstract: It is well documented that women and racial and ethnic minorities are underrepresented in the economics profession, relative to both the general population and many other academic disciplines. Less is known about the socioeconomic diversity of the profession. In this paper, we use data from the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates to examine the socioeconomic background of US economics PhD recipients as compared with US PhD recipients in other disciplines, proxying for socioeconomic background using PhD recipients’ parents’ educational attainment. We find that economics PhD recipients are substantially more likely to have highly educated parents, and less likely to have parents without a college degree, than PhD recipients in other disciplines. This is true both for US-born and non-US-born PhD recipients, but the gap between economics and other disciplines is starker for those born in the United States. The gap in socioeconomic diversity between economics and other PhD disciplines has increased over the last two decades.
    Keywords: Economics, Economists, Economics Education, Diversity and Inclusion, Socioeconomic Background, Socioeconomic Inequality
    JEL: A11 A20 J44 J71
    Date: 2022–03
  8. By: Vuong, Quan-Hoang; Le, Tam-Tri; Khuc, Quy Van; Nguyen, Minh-Hoang
    Abstract: This document represents some preliminary and unpublished content of a chapter in the edited book titled A New Theory of Serendipity: Nature, Emergence and Mechanism, which will soon be published and distributed by De Gruyter Poland (Sciendo Imprint; part of Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin, Germany). A proper referencing should be like: Quan-Hoang Vuong, Tam-Tri Le, Quy Khuc, Minh-Hoang Nguyen. (2022). A new theory of serendipity. In: QH Vuong. (Ed.) A New Theory of Serendipity: Nature, Emergence and Mechanism (pp. 91-108). Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter.
    Date: 2022–03–01
  9. By: Hammond, Peter J. (Dept. of Economics, University of Warwick)
    Abstract: Following previous work on consequentialist decision theory, we consider an unrestricted domain of finite decision trees, including continuation subtrees, with : (i) decision nodes where the decision maker must make a move ; (ii) chance nodes at which a “roulette lottery” with exogenously specified strictly positive probabilities is resolved ; (iii) event nodes at which a “horse lottery” is resolved. A complete family of binary conditional base preference relations over Anscombe–Aumann lottery consequences is defined to be “prerational” just in case there exists a behaviour rule that is defined throughout the tree domain which is explicable as avoiding, under all predictable circumstances, consequences that are regrettable given what is feasible. Prerationality is shown to hold if and only if all conditional base preference relations are complete and transitive, while also satisfying both the independence axiom of expected utility theory and a strict form of Anscombe and Aumann’s extension of Savage’s sure thing principle. Assuming that the base relations satisfy non-triviality and a generalized form of state independence that holds even when consequence domains are state dependent, prerationality combined with continuity on Marschak triangles is equivalent to representation by a refined subjective expected utility function that excludes zero probabilities.
    Keywords: Prerational base relations ; rational planning ; decision trees ; regrettable consequences ; Anscombe–Aumann lotteries ; preference ordering ; independence axiom ; sure-thing principle ; subjective probability ; subjective expected utility ; Bayesian rationality ; state independence JEL codes: D81
    Date: 2022

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