nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2023‒01‒16
seventeen papers chosen by
Erik Thomson
University of Manitoba

  1. On the modernity of Carl Menger: criss-cross views. Roundtable conversation By Gilles Campagnolo; Sandye Gloria; Heinz Kurz; Richard Sturn
  2. Carl Menger on time and entrepreneurship By Gilles Campagnolo
  3. Towards a unity of sense: A critical analysis of the concept of relation in methodological individualism and holism in Economics By Giancarlo Ianulardo; Aldo Stella
  4. Was Menger Aristotelian? A Rejoinder and Clarification By Gilles Campagnolo
  5. Ideas Have Consequences: The Impact of Law and Economics on American Justice By Chen, Daniel L.; Ash, Elliott; Naidu, Suresh
  6. The scalpel and the ledger: Finance, medicine and the making of a professional life in Ireland, India and Britain, 1888-1921 By Cassidy, Daniel; Fitzpatrick, Kieran
  7. How the Phillips Curve Shaped Full Employment Policy in the 1970s: The Debates on the Humphrey-Hawkins Act By Aurélien Goutsmedt
  8. Economics & Biology: The whole is something besides the parts – a complementary approach to a bioeconomy By Joshua Henkel
  9. Classic Grounded Theory: A Qualitative Research on Human Behavior By Mohajan, Devajit; Mohajan, Haradhan
  10. ‘Freedom’ on the Road to Ruin: An Australian Apology to America’s Freedom-Loving Hard Right. By L A Duhs
  11. Do Strict Egalitarians Really Exist? By Hyoji Kwon; Yukihiko Funaki
  12. Moving from Accounting for People to Accounting with People: A Critical Analysis of the Literature and Avenues for Research By Corinne Ollier Bessieux; Emmanuelle Negre; Marie-Anne Verdier
  13. We do not know the Population of Every Country in the World for the Past Two Thousand Years By Guinnane, T. W.
  14. Climat et liberté By François Facchini
  15. Les limites épistémiques des choix publics –ou l’approfondissement par Scott Scheall de l’argument d’Hayek By François Facchini
  16. The Utilitarian's Guide to Dreams By Piovarchy, Adam
  17. Moral Universalism: Global Evidence By Alexander W. Cappelen; Benjamin Enke; Bertil Tungodden

  1. By: Gilles Campagnolo (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); Sandye Gloria (GREDEG - Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion - UNS - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (1965 - 2019) - COMUE UCA - COMUE Université Côte d'Azur (2015-2019) - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UCA - Université Côte d'Azur); Heinz Kurz (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz); Richard Sturn (Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz)
    Abstract: From different perspectives regarding the History of Economic Thought, the contributions to this roundtable highlight different aspects and levels of the modernity of the founder of the Austrian School of Economics, and of his importance for the development of social theory and the discipline of scientific economics. This is complemented by discussions of ambiguities and multiple meanings of modernity.
    Keywords: Austrian economics, Carl Menger, modern economics, modernity, enlightenment, complexity economics, subjectivism, value theory
    Date: 2022–08–22
  2. By: Gilles Campagnolo (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)
    Abstract: Carl Menger is remembered less for his analysis of entrepreneurship (which in the following analysis refers to his fundamental notions related to the nature of business practice) than for his views on matters like money, individualism or the nature of institutions (there are exceptions to this subdued interest, such as Kirzner 1978). However, these issues are related and a long-debated notion among Austrians, namely time, relates investment, entrepreneurship, uncertainty and Menger's tentative quasi-anthropology (kept in his notes). This paper conscientiously investigates those issues through Menger's views on the notion of time.
    Keywords: Böhm-Bawerk (Eugen von), entrepreneurship, innovation, Menger (Carl), time
    Date: 2022–09
  3. By: Giancarlo Ianulardo (University of Exeter Business School - University of Exeter); Aldo Stella (UNIPG - Università degli Studi di Perugia = University of 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 characterises 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: 2022–12–15
  4. By: Gilles Campagnolo (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)
    Abstract: How did Carl Menger read Aristotle? This debate is 'old hat' within Mengerian scholarship. Delving through the archives, new elements have been added by Emil Kauder and, more recently, by myself. Some issues raised by Ricardo Crespo are clarified in the following response. In an essay published in 2003, Crespo defended the idea that Menger is not an 'orthodox Aristotelian'. I retorted in a paper coauthored with Aurélien Lordon in 2011. Crespo resumed the exchange, summarized and modified his argument (Crespo 2022). This rejoinder aims at setting the record straight.
    Keywords: Aristotle Aristotelianism Austrian school of economics Menger (Carl) Methodenstreit (dispute over methods) methodology of economics, Aristotle, Aristotelianism, Austrian school of economics, Menger (Carl), Methodenstreit (dispute over methods), methodology of economics
    Date: 2022–11
  5. By: Chen, Daniel L.; Ash, Elliott; Naidu, Suresh
    Abstract: This paper provides a quantitative analysis of the eects of the early law and economics movement on the U.S. judiciary. Using the universe of published opinions in U.S. Circuit Courts and 1 million District Court criminal sentencing decisions linked to judge identity, we estimate the eect of attendance in the con- troversial Manne economics training program, an intensive course attended by almost half of federal judges between 1976 and 1999. After attending economics training, participating judges use more economics language, render more conser- vative verdicts in economics cases, rule against regulatory/taxation agencies more often, and impose longer criminal sentences. These results are robust to adjusting for a wide variety of covariates that predict the timing of attendance. Non-Manne judges randomly exposed to Manne peers on previous cases increase their use of economics language in subsequent opinions, suggesting economics ideas diused throughout the judiciary.
    JEL: D7 K0 Z1
    Date: 2022–12–13
  6. By: Cassidy, Daniel; Fitzpatrick, Kieran
    Abstract: By the time of his death in September 1921, Peter Johnstone Freyer was an extremely wealthy man. After an education at Queen's College Galway, his medical career had been defined by colonial service in India, and the establishment of a successful surgery and consultancy on London's Harley Street. In public, these hallmarks of his career led to him being described by his contemporaries as amongst medicine's most prominent figures, and as a 'great surgeon' by newspapers the length of and breadth of the United Kingdom on the occasion of his death. However, his private papers show that his medical practice was only responsible for a small part of his material success; two-thirds of his wealth was derived from his skill, exercised in private, as an investor in financial markets. By establishing his history as an investor, and comparing it to his public profile in medicine, this paper traces the social and cultural histories of professional identity in late-Victorian and Edwardian London. Over the course of its arc, it demonstrates how medicine's public significance in this period was part of a broader, middle-class, professional culture concerned with the accrual of 'virtual' wealth, the construction of advantageous social networks, and the tapping of capital in multiple forms. In sum, Freyer's career reflects the symbolic meaning of publicly wielding a scalpel, whilst privately managing a portfolio of financial ledgers.
    Keywords: Financial markets, investment, risk
    JEL: G41 N2 N3
    Date: 2022
  7. By: Aurélien Goutsmedt (ISPOLE - Institut de Sciences Politiques Louvain Europe - Institut de Sciences Politiques Louvain Europe)
    Abstract: Abstract This article relates the history of economists' influence in shaping the content of the Humphrey-Hawkins Act (1978) and its immediate consequences. The act committed the federal government to reducing unemployment to 4 percent and inflation to 3 percent as soon as 1983. Initially, the Humphrey-Hawkins bill was conceived as a project to favor the economic integration of African Americans and economic planning and targeted only the unemployment rate. Republican senators successfully pushed for adding a numerical inflation target during the debates in Congress. The act eventually put on equal footing inflation and unemployment. This article argues that the economists in the Carter administration, and notably the Council of Economic Advisers, were instrumental, even if unintentionally, in favoring the integration of an inflation target and such an interpretation of the bill. In the negotiations that opposed them to the supporters of the bill, as well as in the analysis of the bill they produced, they insisted on the existence of a trade-off between inflation and unemployment and referred frequently to the famous Phillips curve. They endeavored to anchor their expertise on academic publications, which strengthened the role of the Phillips curve in shaping the debates. Business organizations and senators used references to the trade-off to undermine the bill and favor the integration of an inflation target.
    Date: 2022–08–01
  8. By: Joshua Henkel
    Abstract: This paper examines relations between economics and biology regarding the historical background of these disciplines. Though economics is a social science its emergence has strong links to the natural sciences, especially to physics. This methodological basis seems to be mostly forgotten in mainstream economics. Since this methodology is based on the same principles of universal natural laws, it should make the branches of economics and biology compatible. Merging biology and economics could have a strong impact on finding solutions to our modern world sustainability problems and avoiding the dangers of the entropic abyss. This is only possible if mainstream economics is more open to assimilate information from outside its own field. Unequivocally, the most straightforward impact of a collaboration of these disciplines would be a biobased economy, that would tackle many problems our resource intensive and unsustainable economic system is facing at the moment.
    Keywords: Sustainability, Culture, Collapse, Bio-economy
    JEL: A12 B52 Q01 Q57
    Date: 2022–12
  9. By: Mohajan, Devajit; Mohajan, Haradhan
    Abstract: Grounded theory is an inductive methodological approach in social sciences and other related subjects. It generates theory about social processes, which are grounded in reality. Classic grounded theory is a unique inductive research approach with language, rules of rigor, procedures, and a final achievement, which is different from other research methods. The purpose of classic grounded theory is to theorize and facilitate an understanding of an effective knowledge, which is happening on the lives of people of the society. It represents grounded theory in a pure form, which emerges from the original work of Barney Galland Glaser (1930-2022) and Anselm Leonard Strauss (1916-1996) that is developed in 1967. It is the development of a theory from data with open ideas that comes from the data. This study tries to discuss a qualitative research design following a classic grounded theory approach through ontological, epistemological, and methodological assumptions of grounded theory. This study explores classic grounded theory approach including strengths and challenges of development in the social science.
    Keywords: Classic grounded theory, Glaser, qualitative research, social science
    JEL: A13 A14 D6 D71 O35
    Date: 2022–10–07
  10. By: L A Duhs (University of Queensland [Brisbane])
    Abstract: Contemporary America faces deep-seated problems - not least because so many Americans have lost respect for their own electoral system and democratic institutions. America suffers too from unrelenting right wing hyperbole in respect of significant social issues, including their conviction that only they understand, and value, freedom. Because of Australia's restrictive responses to the covid-19 pandemic, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis – a potential Presidential candidate - denigrates Australia as ‘not a free country; not a free country at all'. Australians may dismiss Governor DeSantis's comments as laughable, but a chorus of hard right comments in support of his view invites a comparison of the different ways in which ‘freedom' is understood in Republican America and in Australia. One consequence of DeSantis's conception of ‘freedom' is the extraordinary American death rate from the Covid-19 pandemic, which in the case of Florida – which DeSantis celebrates as the ‘free-est State' – stood at about 48 times the Australian rate when he scorned Australia as indistinguishable from communist China. Despite massive American spending on defence budgets, a domestic battle has been waged, and lost, in respect of the more prosaic defence of America's traditional economic philosophy, and its defining institutions; and American conservatives are now divided even within their own ranks as to what it is that they wish to conserve, other than partisan advantage. The roots of America's present malaise are to be found in the evolving (mis)understandings of a set of keywords including ‘freedom', ‘democracy', ‘tyranny', ‘individualism', and ‘society'. The radical right has impoverished the understanding of these keywords, and Australia's pandemic response was in fact designed to give itself freedom from the ‘freedom' that the Republican right now eulogises. In the name of an implicit and contentious teleological vision, the Republican understanding of ‘freedom' has now descended to the point where America's hard right perversely sees itself as actually now needing to save Australia from democracy, while simultaneously undermining its own democratic institutions. The need for a reinvigorated teaching of economic philosophy is plain to see.
    Date: 2022
  11. By: Hyoji Kwon (Graduate School of Ecoomics, Waseda University); Yukihiko Funaki (School of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University)
    Abstract: The purpose of our study is to verify the argument of Cappelen et al. (2007) that insists on the pluralism of fairness ideals. Their experiments are based on the dictator game with production, and they suggest that three fairness ideals exist: strict egalitarianism, libertarianism, and liberal egalitarianism. However, because of the characteristics of the dictator game, the egoistic behavior of taking all of the endowments is a reasonable decision and cannot be ignored. In this paper, we show by estimation of modified models that strict egalitarians do not exist but that egoists do. We assume that people who follow different fairness ideals also place different weights on fairness, and we separate the weight parameter by the three fairness ideals. Especially in the case of strict egalitarianism, the estimated value of the weight parameter indicates that strict egalitarians behave like egoists who take all of the total product. This result implies that people rarely follow the strict egalitarian ideal under this kind of dictator game with a production phase and, instead, a high proportion of egoists take the total product without considering any fairness ideals.
    Keywords: Fairness; Distributional Preferences; Dictator game
    JEL: C91 D63 D91
    Date: 2022–11
  12. By: Corinne Ollier Bessieux; Emmanuelle Negre (IRGO - Institut de Recherche en Gestion des Organisations - UB - Université de Bordeaux - Institut d'Administration des Entreprises (IAE) - Bordeaux); Marie-Anne Verdier
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical review of the ‘accounting for people' literature and to suggest avenues for research that encourage this literature to take a radical emancipatory turn by using dialogic accounting. Our review covers the past five decades and concentrates on a corpus of 109 articles published in 22 accounting journals. Although the social agenda was initially central to the rise in the accounting for people literature, it was quickly supplanted by economic and financial objectives. The more recent focus on Human Capital (HC), driven by the emergence of a new spirit of capitalism, appears to have breathed new life into the accounting for people literature. However, the HC concept also (i) simplifies humans' subjective qualities by overquantification through a reification process that extends the sphere of commodification to humans and (ii) reinforces labor control processes. We highlight the need for future literature to move from the ‘accounting for people' approach to an ‘accounting with people' approach to really give a voice to humans, and outline the potential of dialogic HC accounts for achieving that aim.
    Keywords: Human Capital, Literature Review, Dialogic Accounting, Critical Accounting, Accounting For People
    Date: 2022–04–01
  13. By: Guinnane, T. W.
    Abstract: Economists have reported results based on populations for every country in the world for the past two thousand years. The source, McEvedy and Jones’ Atlas of World Population History, includes many estimates that are little more than guesses and that do not reflect research since 1978. McEvedy and Jones often infer population sizes from their view of a particular economy, making their estimates poor proxies for economic growth. Their rounding means their measurement error is not “classical.†Some economists augment that error by disaggregating regions in unfounded ways. Econometric results that rest on McEvedy and Jones are unreliable.
    Date: 2022–12–15
  14. By: François Facchini (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Parce que les libéraux, à juste titre, redoutent les politiques étatiques liberticides, ils sont dubitatifs sur l'ensemble des discours catastrophistes qui entourent le constat d'une partie des sciences du climat et de l'écologie, c'est-à-dire, la science de l'équilibre et de la préservation des milieux. Face à l'urgence climatique ou à la sixième extinction ; face à la catastrophe qui vient ils peuvent adopter deux attitudes.1) Le libéral peut arguer que les fondements de ce catastrophisme ne tiennent pas. Les hommes n'y sont pour rien dans l'évolution du climat, voire, la situation écologique a plutôt tendance à s'améliorer. 2) Il peut aussi prendre au sérieux ces menaces et estimer que si l'on se soucie vraiment du bien-être de l'espèce humaine dans un environnement nécessairement changeant, il faut se détourner des politiques coercitives mises en œuvre par les gouvernements (et les organismes internationaux) et faire confiance à l'initiative privée et au progrès scientifique.Tous les libéraux sont enclins naturellement à adhérer à la seconde ligne d'attaque (ou de défense de nos libertés). Mais, fait intéressant, bon nombre de libéraux ont également mis en avant la première ligne de défense : « il n'y a pas de problème ! » Cet article soutient que le pouvoir de la liberté peut être utilisé pour faire face au changement climatique. Il explique, dans une première partie, pourquoi il n'est pas pertinent de répondre au catastrophisme de l'écologie politique et du néo-socialisme par la négation des problèmes environnementaux et du changement climatique en particulier (1). Il développe dans une seconde section les raisons qui conduisent à penser que les solutions privées existent et sont probablement plus efficaces que les solutions globales fondées sur la recherche hypothétique d'un accord international (2).
    Keywords: liberté, climatique, politiques de prévention, politques d'adaptation, droit de propriété, innovation verte
    Date: 2022–08
  15. By: François Facchini (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Compte rendu de lecture. Le sujet du livre et des travaux de Scott Scheall consiste à étudier la manière dont les gouvernants et leurs experts gèrent leur ignorance et acquièrent leur connaissance pour élaborer leurs choix de politiques publiques. L'originalité de Scott Scheall repose dans une formulation particulière de ce problème. Ce que les gouvernants décident dépend de leur connaissance et de leur capacité d'apprentissage (Scheall 2019, p.39). Ni les gouvernants ni les experts qui les conseillent ne sont des dieux. Ils ne sont ni omniscients ni omnipotents. Si je dois faire un choix entre faire X et faire Y et que je ne sais pas faire Y ou que je suis plus à l'aise avec X, je vais choisir X alors qu'Y est peut-être plus adapté à la situation. Un homme politique est confronté au même biais cognitif. Il ne sait pas faire ou n'a pas la connaissance suffisante pour atteindre un objectif social donné. Il se convint alors et convint les autres que le seul problème à résoudre est celui qu'il s'estime capable de résoudre et non le problème social réel ou pertinent. Les compétences limitées de l'État expliquent que face à des problèmes très différents les hommes du gouvernement agissent toujours de la même manière. Ils réglementent (interdiction). Ils taxent ou ils aident (subvention). L'État ne peut pas envisager d'autres solutions puisqu'il ne sait faire que cela. Comme dans le cas précédent, il fait X parce qu'il ne sait pas faire Y. L'ignorance des décideurs publics fausse la manière dont ils vont chercher à répondre aux problèmes sociaux, car ils ne cherchent pas être efficaces. Ils cherchent à être efficace dans le cadre de ce qu'ils savent faire. C'est pourquoi, confrontés à un problème, les gouvernements réagissent toujours plus ou moins de la même manière. Ils font ce qu'ils savent faire car ils ne disposent pas de la connaissance nécessaire pour faire autrement.
    Date: 2022–04
  16. By: Piovarchy, Adam
    Abstract: Unpleasant dreams occur much more frequently than many people realise. If one is a hedonistic utilitarian—or, at least, one thinks that dreams have positive or negative moral value in virtue of their experiential quality—then one has considerable reason to try to make such dreams more positive. Given it is possible to improve the quality of our dreams, we ought to be promoting and implementing currently available interventions which improve our dream experiences, and conducting research to find new, more effective interventions.
    Date: 2022–12–05
  17. By: Alexander W. Cappelen; Benjamin Enke; Bertil Tungodden
    Abstract: This paper presents novel stylized facts about the global variation in universalism, leveraging nationally representative surveys across 60 countries (N=64,000). We find large variation in universalism within and across countries, which almost entirely reflects heterogeneity in people’s moral views regarding how to treat different types of relationships. Universalism is strongly predictive of political views, civic engagement, and the radius of trust, and varies with the economic, political and religious organization of societies. We provide tentative evidence that experience with democracy makes people more universalist. Overall, our results suggests that moral universalism shapes and is shaped by politico-economic outcomes across the globe.
    Keywords: moral universalism, political economy, culture
    Date: 2022

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