nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2022‒10‒31
seven papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. The Politics of Funding: the Rockefeller Foundation and French Economics, 1945–1955 By Serge Benest
  2. The Role of Cliometrics in History and Economics By Claude Diebolt; Michael Haupert
  3. Today’s economics: One, No One and One Hundred Thousand. By Ambrosino, Angela; Cedrini, Mario; B. Davis, John
  4. Material conditions and ideas in global history By Motadel, David; Drayton, Richard
  5. The Analysis of Inequality in the Bretton Woods Institutions By Ferreira,Francisco H. G.
  6. Why do experts give simple advice? By Benjamin Davies
  7. To Be or Not to Be: The Entrepreneur in Neo-Schumpeterian Growth Theory By Henrekson, Magnus; Johansson, Dan; Karlsson, Johan

  1. By: Serge Benest (CSO - Centre de sociologie des organisations (Sciences Po, CNRS) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Universitat de Barcelona, Department of Economic History, Institutions, Politics and World Economy)
    Abstract: Following World War II, the director of the social sciences division at the Rockefeller Foundation, the industrial economist Joseph H. Willits, thought it important to extend its activities to Europe, especially France. His agenda was to strengthen institutional economics and to create modern research centers with a view to stabilizing the political situation. In the postwar decade, almost all economic research centers in France were funded by the Foundation, which helped provide greater autonomy to French economists within academia but failed to reshape French economic training and research.
    Date: 2022–06–27
  2. By: Claude Diebolt (BETA - Bureau d'Économie Théorique et Appliquée - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - UNISTRA - Université de Strasbourg - UL - Université de Lorraine - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); 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
    Date: 2022
  3. By: Ambrosino, Angela; Cedrini, Mario; B. Davis, John (University of Turin)
    Abstract: The paper employs the sense and structure of a famous novel by the Italian writer Luigi Pirandello, One, No One and One Hundred Thousand (Uno, nessuno e centomila), of 1926, to reflect upon the recent past, current status, and possible future appearance of economics. From an open/closed system perspective, the paper explores economics in relation to other social science disciplines in the epoch of economics imperialism (“One”), and then the potential identity crisis (similar to the one experienced by the novel’s protagonist) occurring to economics during a prolonged phase of reverse imperialisms by other social sciences (“No one”). Finally, the article provides elements to imagine a possible future of pluralism (“One Hundred Thousand”) for the discipline.
    Date: 2022–09
  4. By: Motadel, David; Drayton, Richard
    Abstract: Since the rise of a “scientific” historiography in the nineteenth century, the role of ideas in history versus that of material forces has been a key philosophical problem. Thomas Piketty's Capital and Ideology (2019), read as a work of global history, offers a provocative rehearsal of this question. On the one hand, the book is an attempt to provide a narrative historical frame for the hard data of the World Inequality Database. On the other, paradoxically, it offers a defiant conclusion that ideology is, or at least could be, the key driver in social and institutional change towards universal progress. St Simon, Comte and Spencer have found their twenty‐first century heir. How can we historicize Piketty's impetus, both understanding its provenance and making sense of its limitations? One key issue is its roots in the traditions of National Accounts, which leads to an approach to the global which is stresses comparison over connection, and to an uncritical reproduction of the portrait of an egalitarian non‐capitalist Twentieth century painted by Kuznets during the Cold War. Another is its presentism, with the historical argument driven by an attempt to understand the c.1980–2020 conjuncture and its alternatives, and a connected overdependence on the support of a few historians. A third, a consequence in part of the inequalities between the quality of data we have for different parts of the world, and of Piketty's provenance and imagined audience, is a Eurocentric, even Gallocentric approach. A fourth is a very French republican refusal to address how class is complicated by identities of race and nation so that neither egalitarian policies nor ideologies provide remedies for the populist politics of right. None of these criticisms are in contradiction with our view that Capital and Ideology is a work of social theory of world historical importance.
    Keywords: economic history; global history; inequality; intellectual history; social history
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Ferreira,Francisco H. G.
    Abstract: This paper assesses the evolution of thinking, analysis, and discourse about inequality in theWorld Bank and the International Monetary Fund since their inception in 1944, on the basis of bibliometric analysis, areading of the literature, and personal experience. Whereas the Fund was largely unconcerned with economic inequalityuntil the 2000s but has shown a rapidly growing interest since then, the Bank’s approach has been characterized byebbs and flows, with five phases being apparent. The degree of interest in inequality in the two institutions appears tobe largely determined by the prevailing intellectual profile of the topic in academic research, particularly ineconomics, and by ideological shifts in major shareholder countries, propagated downward internally by seniormanagement. Data availability, albeit partly endogenous, also plays a role. Looking ahead, World Bank andInternational Monetary Fund researchers continue to have an important role to play, despite a much more crowded field ininequality research. The paper suggests that this role involves holding firm to an emphasis on inequality “at thebottom” and highlighting four themes that may deserve special attention.
    Date: 2022–08–22
  6. By: Benjamin Davies
    Abstract: An expert tells an advisee whether to take an action that may be good or bad. He may provide a condition under which to take the action. This condition predicts whether the action is good if and only if the expert is competent. Providing the condition exposes the expert to reputational risk by allowing the advisee to learn about his competence. He trades off the accuracy benefit and reputational risk induced by providing the condition. He prefers not to provide it -- i.e., to give "simple advice" -- when his payoff is sufficiently concave in the posterior belief about his competence.
    Date: 2022–09
  7. By: Henrekson, Magnus (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)); Johansson, Dan (Örebro University School of Business); Karlsson, Johan (Centre for Family Entrepreneurship and Ownership (CeFEO))
    Abstract: Based on a review of 700+ peer-reviewed articles since 1990, identified using text mining methodology and supervised machine learning, we analyze how neo-Schumpeterian growth theorists relate to the entrepreneur-centered view of Schumpeter (1934) and the entrepreneurless framework of Schumpeter (1942). The literature leans heavily towards Schumpeter (1942); innovation returns are modeled as following an ex ante known probability distribution. By assuming that innovation outcomes are (probabilistically) deterministic, the entrepreneur becomes redundant. Abstracting from genuine uncertainty implies that central issues regarding the economic function of the entrepreneur are overlooked, such as the roles of proprietary resources, skills, and profits.
    Keywords: Creative destruction; Economic growth; Entrepreneur; Innovation; Judgment; Knightian uncertainty
    JEL: B40 O10 O30
    Date: 2022–10–01

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