nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2023‒09‒11
two papers chosen by
Erik Thomson, University of Manitoba

  1. Rationality is not consistency By Caliari, Daniele
  2. The Politics of Academic Research By Ringgenberg, Matthew C.; Shu, Chong; Werner, Ingrid M.

  1. By: Caliari, Daniele
    Abstract: We challenge the standard definition of economic rationality as consistency by making use of a novel distinction between axioms of decision theory: consistency and preference axioms. We argue that this distinction has been overlooked by the literature and, as a result, evidence that consistency is a proxy of decision-making ability is often based on incorrect identification strategies. We conduct an experiment to investigate the factors that drive violations of consistency alone. While we find no evidence that consistency axioms are a proxy of decisionmaking ability, we provide suggestive evidence that some preference axioms are, confirming their potential role as confounding factors. Overall, our experimental evidence raises doubts about the choice of language that equates consistency with rationality in economics.
    Keywords: Decision Theory, Experimental Design, Consistency, Rationality
    JEL: D00 D90 D91
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Ringgenberg, Matthew C. (U of Utah); Shu, Chong (U of Utah); Werner, Ingrid M. (Ohio State U)
    Abstract: We develop a novel measure of political slant in research to examine whether political ideology influences the content and use of academic research. Our measure examines the frequency of citations from think tanks with different political ideologies and allows us to examine both the supply and demand for research. We find that research in Economics and Political Science displays a liberal slant, while Finance and Accounting research exhibits a conservative slant, and these differences cannot be accounted for by variations in research topics. We also find that the ideological slant of researchers is positively correlated with that of their Ph.D. institution and research conducted outside universities appears to cater more to the political party of the current President. Finally, political donations data confirms that the ideological slant we measure based on think tank citations aligns with the political values of researchers. Our findings have important implications for the structure of research funding.
    JEL: G12 G14
    Date: 2023–05

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