nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2022‒07‒18
ten papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. The influence of Sen’s applied economics on his non-welfarist approach to justice By Muriel Gilardone
  2. 300 Anniversary of Smith’s Birth By Vernon L. Smith
  3. Economic Thought of Social Reform: A. Toynbee's Theory of Cooperatives By Hayato Takeguchi; Jun Suzuki
  4. Leveraging the Honor Code: Public Goods Contributions under Oath By Jérôme Hergueux; Nicolas Jacquemet; Stéphane Luchini; Jason Shogren
  5. Sado-Masochism in Buchanan's Samaritan's Dilemma. A Constitutional Perspective By Alain Marciano
  6. Introduction By Thierry Demals; Alexandra Hyard
  7. Four Facts about Human Capital By David J. Deming
  8. Malheur éphémère, bonheur durable By Wilner, Lionel; Perona, Mathieu
  9. Putting Clio Back in Cliometrics By Laurent Gauthier
  10. Cliometrics and the Future of Economic History By Claude Diebolt; Michael Haupert

  1. By: Muriel Gilardone (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR1 - Université de Rennes 1 - UNIV-RENNES - Université de Rennes - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: This chapter shows that Sen's (2009) non-welfarist approach to justice is greatly influenced by 1) his work on famines; 2) his empirical work on gender inequalities, specifically within the Indian society, that helped him to refine his approach to hunger; and 3) his involvement in the creation of the human development approach. All these engagements — seemingly completely separate from his theoretical work in welfare economics — have, in fact, fostered the formulation of a novel approach in which agency and public reasoning are the core elements.
    Keywords: Amartya Sen,agency,public action,famines,gender inequalities,human development,perception bias,democracy,public reasoning,non-welfarism
    Date: 2021–03–04
  2. By: Vernon L. Smith (Economic Science Institute, Chapman University)
    Abstract: Thousand-word brief on key quotes from Adam Smith’s two books (TMS, WN) modelling Society and Economy
    Keywords: Experiment, theory, history of economic thought
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Hayato Takeguchi (Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University); Jun Suzuki (Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University)
    Date: 2022–06
  4. 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
  5. By: Alain Marciano (MRE - Montpellier Recherche en Economie - UM - Université de Montpellier, UM - Université de Montpellier)
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the impact of altruism on an interaction between a samaritan and a recipient/parasite in the frame of Buchanan's samaritan's dilemma (1975). We show that, as soon as altruism reaches a certain threshold, the equilibrium of the game corresponds to the situation Buchanan called a samaritan's dilemma. We also show that the Nash equilibrium reached for these levels of altruism is a Pareto-efficient outcome. Thus, the situation Buchanan characterized as a samaritan's dilemma is not a dilemma at all. Both players are satisfied with the situation as it is and need each other, up to the point of giving birth to a sado-masochistic equilibrium. We also show that this result holds if and only if the constitutional rules are given-either the ethical rules followed by the individuals, or the form of the game. This equilibrium could be avoided if the players adopted a constitutional perspective on the situation.
    Keywords: Masochism,Altruism,Samaritan's dilemma,Buchanan,Exploitation,Sadism
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Thierry Demals (CLERSÉ - Centre Lillois d’Études et de Recherches Sociologiques et Économiques - UMR 8019 - Université de Lille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Alexandra Hyard (Université de Lille)
    Date: 2022–06–01
  7. By: David J. Deming
    Abstract: This paper synthesizes what economists have learned about human capital since Becker (1962) into four stylized facts. First, human capital explains at least one-third of the variation in labor earnings within countries and at least half of the variation across countries. Second, human capital investments have high economic returns throughout childhood and young adulthood. Third, we know how to build foundational skills such as literacy and numeracy, and resources are often the main constraint. Fourth, higher-order skills such as problem-solving and teamwork are increasingly valuable, and the technology for producing these skills is not well-understood. We know that investment in education works and that skills matter for earnings, but we do not always know why.
    JEL: I25 I26 J24
    Date: 2022–06
  8. By: Wilner, Lionel; Perona, Mathieu
    Abstract: La plupart de nos travaux s’intéressent aux facteurs observables qui ont un effet sur le bien-être subjectif – le revenu, le diplôme, le fait d’être en couple, etc. La satisfaction à l’égard de notre vie peut cependant aussi dépendre non seulement de notre situation actuelle, mais aussi de notre situation passée, et de comment nous l’avons ressenti. Un récent article de recherche jette un éclairage sur cet effet de mémoire, et met en évidence trois résultats principaux : (i) Les personnes les plus satisfaites de leur vie tendent à le rester ; (ii) Au contraire, les personnes les plus insatisfaites le restent moins longtemps ; (iii) Le fait d’être initialement très satisfait ou insatisfait pèse plus lourd dans l’appréciation de sa vie que les principaux facteurs externes. Ces résultats fondent une politique du bien-être qui agit à la fois sur la prévention des chocs négatifs, sur l’accélération des sorties de l’insatisfaction forte, et sur la promotion des facteurs contribuant à un niveau élevé de bien-être.
    Keywords: Wellbeing, transition, unhappiness trap
    Date: 2022–06
  9. By: Laurent Gauthier (LED - Laboratoire d'Economie Dionysien - UP8 - Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis)
    Abstract: This paper makes the argument for renewed cliometrics that could serve history. History and economics have grown relying on each other over the past century, but a disconnect has appeared, whereby the range between history and economics has been occupied by the latter. As a consequence, historians have tended to shun these fields of inquiry. We begin our analysis with a discussion of the complex set of separate domains that lie between history and economics, and determine certain salient features that define them, in particular the search for nomothetic explanations. We examine the reception of economic method by historians and point out that it has suffered both from this nomothetic angle and from the implicit presumption that economics are only applicable to the economy. Stressing the distinction between understanding and explaining in the philosophy of history, we show that, for historians, explaining should remain in the realm of history. We then propose that economics be considered a methodological auxiliary for understanding, as new cliometrics, not attempting to offer explanations. We discuss some examples of using microeconomics as a critical methodology in the study of ancient Greece.
    Keywords: cliometrics,historiography,cliodynamics,clionomics
    Date: 2022–06–01
  10. By: Claude Diebolt (BETA/CNRS (UMR 7522), University of Strasbourg, 61 avenue de la Forêt Noire, France); Michael Haupert (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)
    Date: 2022

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