nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2022‒10‒24
five papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. Economic research at central banks: Are central banks interested in the history of economic thought? By Ivo Maes
  2. Do Negative Replications Affect Citations? By Tom Coupé; W. Robert Reed
  3. Methodological Individualism and Holism in Economics and Economics Education: Friends or Foes? By Giancarlo Ianulardo; Aldo Stella
  4. Pari Passu Lost and Found: The Origins of Sovereign Bankruptcy 1798-1873 By Marc Flandreau
  5. Theorizing the economy of traces: from audit society to surveillance capitalism By Power, Michael

  1. By: Ivo Maes (: Robert Triffin Chair, University of Louvain and ICHEC Brussels Management School)
    Abstract: With central banks becoming monetary authorities, research departments have become a core element of a modern central bank. Crucial elements of a central bank research department are contributing to monetary policymaking and sustaining a dialogue with the academic community. The importance of historical research (and central banks do not really make a difference between economic history and the history of economic thought) varies a lot. The historical curiosity of influential central bankers and the commemoration of anniversaries are important factors hereby. Historical research can allow central banks to take more distance and can help to avoid a “this time is different” view.
    Keywords: : central banking, economic research, economic history, history of thought.
    JEL: E42 E58 G28 N10
    Date: 2022–09
  2. By: Tom Coupé (University of Canterbury); W. Robert Reed (University of Canterbury)
    Abstract: This study examines the effect of negative replications on the citation rates of replicated studies. We study a set of 204 replicated studies in economics and compare their citation performance with an initial sample of 112,000 potential controls taken from Scopus. From this initial pool, we match each replicated study with multiple controls based on having comparable citation histories. Our main finding is that there is no evidence that studies that receive negative replications suffer a penalty in the form of fewer citations. We also find that replicated studies receive somewhat more citations than their matched control studies, though here the causal interpretation is more suspect.
    Keywords: Replications, Citations, Matching, Meta-science, Self-correcting science
    JEL: A11 A14 B41 C18
    Date: 2022–09–01
  3. By: Giancarlo Ianulardo (University of Exeter Business School - University of Exeter); Aldo Stella (UNIPG - Università degli Studi di Perugia)
    Abstract: In social sciences and, in particular, in economics the debate on the most adequate model of explanation of social phenomena has been centred around two models: Methodological Individualism and Holism. While Methodological Individualism claims to be the most rigorous attempt to explain social phenomena by reducing them to their ultimate components, Holism stresses the primacy of the social relation, outside of which individuals cannot be understood as analytical units. In the analysis, we will refer to the way the debate has influenced economics education too through the debate on microfoundations and the role of individual preferences. In synthesis, we aim to show that the two explanatory models, rather than being opposed need to be integrated, because they need each other. But for this to be done, we need to reflect on the role that the concept of "relation" plays in our understanding of the social structure and of the dynamics that characterise it. Indeed, the holistic-systemic model, though privileging the relation, must acknowledge that the relation needs some ultimate elements (the individuals), which in turn are prioritised by methodological individualism. But these entities, the individuals, in order to be what they are, i.e., each a determinate identity, need each to be referred to other individuals, which are essential to determine the single determinate identity. This means that each individual needs the relation. To prevent a circular explanation, we claim that a correct methodology should understand both the individual and society in the light of the unity of sense that emerges at the end of the process, rather than focusing on its starting point.
    Keywords: Methodological Individualism,holism,systemism,relation,unity
    Date: 2022–09–07
  4. By: Marc Flandreau (University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: Verdicts returned by modern courts of justice in the context of sovereign debt lawsuits have upheld a ratable (proportional) interpretation of so-called "pari passu" clauses in debt contracts which, literally, promise creditors they will be dealt with equitably. Such verdicts have given individual creditors the right to interfere with payments to others, in situation where the sovereign had failed to make proportional payments. Contract originalists argue that this interpretation of pari passu clauses has no historical foundation. Historically, they claim, pari passu clauses never granted individual creditors a unilateral right to block payments to other bondholders assenting to a government debt restructuring proposal. This article shows this claim is incorrect. Drawing on novel archival research, it argues that pari passu clauses find one potent historical origin in the operation of a now forgotten sovereign bankruptcy tribunal, the London stock exchange. Under the law of the stock exchange, departure from ratable payments did create a unilateral right for individual creditors to interfere with sovereign debt discharges. In fact, ratable distributions provided the touchstone for the stock exchange sanctioned sovereign debt discharge system. What is more, sophisticated contract drafters availed themselves of the logic. The result was a weaponization of pari passu clauses, and their inscription into sovereign debt covenants in the 19th century. The article concludes that the modern debate on the role of clauses in sovereign debt contracts cannot be held without thorough reconsideration of the history of sovereign bankruptcy.
    Keywords: Sovereign debt, pari passu clauses, London stock exchange laws, history of sovereign bankruptcy.
    JEL: N20 N23 N24 N43 N44
    Date: 2022–06–03
  5. By: Power, Michael
    Abstract: This essay is a conversation between Shoshana Zuboff’s theory of surveillance capitalism, Mikkel Flyverbom’s conceptualization of the hyper-visibility afforded by digital architectures, and my own ‘analog’ theory of accounting dynamics in the ‘audit society’. Drawing upon trends in accounting practice and research I develop a number of inflection points which define theoretical tensions between the concepts of audit society and surveillance capitalism. These tensions suggest that theoretical innovation is required in the face of: the accelerating constitution of organizations by platforms and their processes – ‘platformization’; the constitution of human agents as data-driven subjects of these data architectures – ‘cyborgization’; and the reconstruction of the social sciences by a pervasive data positivism in which accounting becomes ‘accountics’. The exploration of these three inflection points reveals the deep operational logic of surveillance capitalism as an ‘economy of traces’ and traceability. Zuboff’s challenge of a political dystopia governed by technology giants and Flyverbom’s image of a society ‘overlit’ by digital architectures necessitate a re-specification of the audit society dynamics that I have previously theorized. The re-specification that I propose in this essay is a form of a critical ‘traceology’ which takes as its focus the ongoing production of all manner of traces and how they make up organizations, people and forms of knowledge.
    Keywords: accountics; accounting; algorithm; audit society; cyborg; data architecures; digitalization; platforms; surveillance capitalism; security; traces; traceology; Sage deal
    JEL: M40
    Date: 2022–07

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