nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2022‒06‒20
nine papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Eugen (Evgeny Evgenievich) Slutsky (1880-1948) By Jean-Sébastien Lenfant
  2. Kenneth Boulding: A Friends' Economist By Robert H. Scott
  3. Herbert Simon’s experience at the Cowles Commission (1947–1954) By Alexandre Chirat; Michaël Assous; Olivier Brette; Judith Favereau
  4. Christian conception of Natural Law and the moral theory of the State. By Osuagwu, Eze Simpson
  5. David Ricardo By Juan Carlos de Pablo
  6. A time for action on climate change and a time for change in economics By Stern, Nicholas
  7. A Typology of Theoretical Approaches to Innovation By Kochetkov, Dmitry
  8. Leveraging the Honor Code: Public Goods Contributions under Oath By Jérôme Hergueux; Nicolas Jacquemet; Stéphane Luchini; Jason Shogren
  9. The backlash of globalization By Italo Colantone; Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano; Piero Stanig

  1. By: Jean-Sébastien Lenfant (PRISM Sorbonne - Pôle de recherche interdisciplinaire en sciences du management - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)
    Abstract: Eugen Slutsky is well-known to any graduate student in economics for two landmark articles and two operational concepts bearing his name, one in the field of consumer and utility theory ("the Slutsky equation"), the other in the field of the theory of cycles, introducing autonomous and exogenous causes in the analysis of macroeconomic fluctuations ("the Slutsky-Yule effect"). Because of the historical and political circumstances he had to confront in Ukraine, and then in Russia and in the U.S.S.R. in the first half of 20th century, Slutsky was prevented from devoting himself fully to mathematical economics, and he only published a handful more of articles dealing with economics. Over the last twenty years, researchers in Europe, Ukraine and Russia have been involved in making his contributions to mathematics and economics better known. By now, we get a clearer picture of Slutsky's views on economics and we know his network of connections with Western scholars who contributed to draw attention to his work. This essay highlights Slutsky's lasting importance in economics, focusing on the fate of his major and lesser known works.
    Keywords: Slutsky equation,Economic cycles,Praxeology theory,Utility Theory
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Robert H. Scott (Monmouth University)
    Abstract: This paper examines Kenneth Boulding's (1910-1993) religious beliefs and argues he was one of the most prolific religious economists in the 20 th century. He was an enigmatic economist whose career spanned over six decades. He helped to establish the field of general systems and furthered peace studies and conflict and defense. His early work earned him the John Bates Clark medal in 1949. But behind Boulding's theoretical economics was a deep religious ideology. Strongly affected by World War I while growing up in Liverpool, England, Boulding became a lifelong pacifist. Raised Methodist, Boulding discovered Quakerism in high school. While Boulding published widely in the field of economics, he also published almost 100 articles in Quaker journals. Boulding's body of work in economics and Quakerism led to interesting crosspollination. His work on peace and conflict and defense were a direct result of his pacifism. Boulding's work shows deep concern for human betterment and prosperity that is seeped in his religious principles.
    Keywords: human betterment,Kenneth Boulding,pacifism,Quakers,Religious Society of Friends
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Alexandre Chirat; Michaël Assous; Olivier Brette; Judith Favereau
    Abstract: Surprisingly Simon’s activities at the Cowles commission remain largely unexplored; while Simon and the Cowles shared a twofold wish to operationalize economics and to formalize human decision making. This is also during his time at the Cowles commission that Simon produces his emblematic paper formalizing bounded rationality. Furthermore, Simon claims that his participation at the Cowles was decisive in his awarding of the Nobel Prize. The aim of the paper is to produce such scrutiny. As such the claim of the paper is that Simon’s relationship with the Cowles commission and its members was a bittersweet one. Indeed, such a collaboration started enthusiastically from both sides and ended surrounded by indifferences. We offer three explanations to this bittersweet relationship. First, both the Cowles and Simon shared a wish to formalize decision making problems; although, they had different conceptions about mathematical tools and the articulation between theory and empirics. Second, the irreconcilability of their conception of optimality threatened their common interest in operational research. Third, and more globally, Simon’s and the Cowles’s research agendas were not stabilized during this period explaining the enthusiastic phase as well as the cold one, once these two research agendas stabilized, but in different directions. The paper distinguishes four periods from 1947 to 1954 during Simon’s time at the Cowles. Each section of the paper deals in turn with one of these four periods.
    Keywords: Simon – Cowles Commission – Rationality – Optimization – Models
    JEL: B21 B40 C61 D01 D81
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Osuagwu, Eze Simpson
    Abstract: This paper argues that the Christian conception of Natural law is indispensable for the understanding of a coherent moral theory of the State. The paper discusses the Christian conception of Natural Law with a view to understanding a philosophical link with the moral theory of the State. The paper reveals that from the classical era of Plato and Aristotle through the medieval times of Thomas Aquinas, Natural law has been conceived to be divine. However, following the protestant reforms of Martin Luther and Richard Hooker through the early modern natural law theorists inclined to the social contract, the concept of natural law has been interpreted to mean a theory that runs contrary to the existence of written laws and as such needs to be modified to be accepted as a code of conduct for society. The paper concludes that the perceived influence of Natural Law on positive or coded law is rooted in conscience, which as Thomas Aquinas pointed out is based on reason or synderesis.
    Keywords: Natural Law; Moral Theory; Public Policy; Christian Kingship; Religious Reformation
    JEL: Z1 Z12 Z18
    Date: 2021–01
  5. By: Juan Carlos de Pablo
    Abstract: Fue el único, de los padres fundadores del análisis económico, que no fue alumno ni profesor universitario; no obstante lo cual, fue el más riguroso de todos. Se casó por amor, superando las resistencias de su familia; lo cual no le causó ningún perjuicio económico, porque la riqueza de la familia Ricardo -judíos, migrados de Holanda- consistía en capital humano. Existieron los ricardianos y los anti ricardianos, pero su amistad con Thomas Robert Malthus es un ejemplo de que las diferencias de opinión no deben afectar las relaciones personales. Planteó ideas valiosas que, mal aplicadas, pueden ser muy peligrosas. Este trabajo medita sobre la vida y la obra de David Ricardo, con el pretexto de que el 18 de abril de 2022 se cumplieron 250 años de su nacimiento.
    Date: 2022–04
  6. By: Stern, Nicholas
    Abstract: The case for action on climate change with urgency and at scale rests on the immense magnitude of climate risk, the very rapid emissions reductions which are necessary, and that there is a real opportunity to create a new and attractive form of growth and development. The analysis must be based on a dynamic approach to the economics of public policy, set in a complex, imperfect and uncertain world. The economics of climate change, and further, economics more broadly, must change to respond to the challenge of how to foster rapid transformation. It is time for economics and economists to step up.
    Keywords: climate change; economic analysis; public policy; investment; innovation; ES/R009708/1; OUP deal
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2022–05–09
  7. By: Kochetkov, Dmitry
    Abstract: Innovation is often perceived as an object of study in economics and management. However, the social and behavioural aspects of innovation acceptance are as important as the economics of the new product development. Based on the interdisciplinary perspective, the authors formulated their own definition of innovation for the purposes of this study. The authors consider innovation as a change in the way social action is conducted, entailing a wide range of social, economic, behavioural, and institutional changes. The variety of approaches gives rise to the need for a typology. J. Sundbo (1998) divided innovation into three groups depending on the aspect of the phenomenon: the theory of entrepreneurship; technological and social aspects; and the strategic aspect. Adopting the Sundbo conceptual framework, the authors supplemented and developed it based on the literature that appeared after 1998. The authors also added new directions at the second level of decomposition and the relationship between different aspects of innovation. In particular, attention was paid to such phenomena as open innovation, agile innovation, “helix” models, etc. Thus, the authors have developed a novel typology of innovations, which expands the theoretical knowledge in this field.
    Date: 2022–05–09
  8. By: Jérôme Hergueux (BETA - Bureau d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - AgroParisTech - UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg - UL - Université de Lorraine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement); Nicolas Jacquemet (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS-PSL - 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, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Stéphane Luchini (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Jason Shogren (UW - University of Wyoming)
    Abstract: Public good games are at the core of many environmental challenges. In such social dilemmas, a large share of people endorse the norm of reciprocity. A growing literature complements this finding with the observation that many players exhibit a self-serving bias in reciprocation: "weak reciprocators" increase their contributions as a function of the effort level of the other players, but less than proportionally. In this paper, we build upon a growing literature on truth-telling to argue that weak reciprocity might be best conceived not as a preference, but rather as a symptom of an internal trade-off at the player level between (i) the truthful revelation of their private reciprocal preference, and (ii) the economic incentives they face (which foster free-riding). In truth-telling experiments, many players misrepresent private information when this is to their material benefit, but to a significantly lesser extent than what would be expected based on the profit-maximizing strategy. We apply this behavioral insight to strategic situations, and test whether the preference revelation properties of the classic voluntary contribution game can be improved by offering players the possibility to sign a classic truth-telling oath. Our results suggest that the honesty oath helps increase cooperation (by 33% in our experiment). Subjects under oath contribute in a way which is more consistent with (i) the contribution they expect from the other players and (ii) their normative views about the right contribution level. As a result, the distribution of social types elicited under oath differs from the one observed in the baseline: some free-riders, and many weak reciprocators, now behave as pure reciprocators.
    Keywords: Cooperation,Reciprocity,Social preferences,Public goods,Truth-telling oath
    Date: 2022–03
  9. By: Italo Colantone; Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano; Piero Stanig
    Abstract: We review the literature on the globalization backlash, seen as the political shift of voters and parties in a protectionist and isolationist direction, with substantive implications on governments' leaning and enacted policies. Using newly assembled data for 23 advanced democracies, we document a protectionist and isolationist shift in electorates, legislatures, and executives from the mid-1990s onwards. This is associated with a noticeable protectionist shift in trade policy - although with some notable nuances - especially since the financial crisis of 2008. We discuss the economics of the backlash. From a theoretical perspective, we highlight how the backlash may arise within standard trade models when taking into ac-count the 'social footprint' of globalization. Then, we review the empirical literature on the drivers of the backlash. Two main messages emerge from our analysis: (1) globalization is a significant driver of the backlash, by means of the distributional consequences entailed by rising trade exposure; yet (2) the backlash is only partly determined by trade. Technological change, crisis-driven fiscal austerity, immigration, and cultural concerns are found to play an important role in creating politically consequential cleavages. Looking ahead, we discuss possible future developments, with specific focus on the issue of social mobility.
    Keywords: Globalisation, protectionist and isolationist direction
    Date: 2021–09–13

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