nep-hpe New Economics Papers
on History and Philosophy of Economics
Issue of 2023‒10‒16
nine papers chosen by
Erik Thomson, University of Manitoba

  1. Review of “Adam Smith Reconsidered: History, Liberty, and the Foundations of Modern Politics” by Paul Sagar By Mills, Robin J W
  2. Ideologies and Utopia: A Ricoeurian Reading of Thomas Piketty By Benoît Walraevens
  4. The Rise, Fall, and Legacy of the Structure-Conduct-Performance Paradigm By Panhans, Matthew T.
  5. Modeling intervention: The Political element in Barbara Bergmann's micro-to-macro simulation projects By Chassonnery-Zaïgouche, Cléo; Goutsmedt, Aurélien
  6. Structural Transformation and Value Change: The British Abolitionist Movement By Valentín Figueroa; Vasiliki Fouka
  7. Utility and Happiness By Miles S. Kimball; Robert J. Willis
  8. Do you see it this way? Visualising as a tool of sense-making By Boumans, Marcel; Morgan, Mary S.
  9. From Happiness Data to Economic Conclusions By Daniel J. Benjamin; Kristen Cooper; Ori Heffetz; Miles S. Kimball

  1. By: Mills, Robin J W
    Abstract: Review of “Adam Smith Reconsidered: History, Liberty, and the Foundations of Modern Politics” by Paul Sagar.
    Date: 2023–09–15
  2. By: Benoît Walraevens (CREM - Centre de recherche en économie et management - UNICAEN - Université de Caen Normandie - NU - Normandie Université - UR - Université de Rennes - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: In his most recent books, Piketty offers a global history of ine-quality in its economic, social, political, and intellectual dimensions, ar-guing that history is moved by the struggle of ideologies. To take part in this battle of ideas, he conceives a new ideal model of society, ‘participa-tive socialism', as an egalitarian alternative to the dominant neoproprie-tarian ideology and to the dangerous resurgence of nationalism and pop-ulism. This paper provides a new interpretation of Piketty's view of his-tory and of his participatory socialism in light of Paul Ricoeur's study of the dialectics of ideology and utopia. First, I present Ricoeur's singular analysis of ideology and utopia, which he sees as two inseparable facets of social imagination. Then I show how Ricoeur's concepts can be fruit-fully applied to Piketty's conception of history and to his conception of a new form of socialism for the 21st century, drawing lessons from history and forming a ‘good' or ‘realist' utopia. Finally, I demonstrate that this interpretation of Piketty's socialism can help to better understand some of the criticisms he has received. © 2023, Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics. All Rights Reserved.
    Keywords: ideology, participatory so-cialism, Piketty, realism, Ricoeur, utopia
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Boumans, Marcel
    Abstract: This article is the text I read out as my presidential address at the 49th annual meeting of the History of Economics Society, June 2022, in Minneapolis. Additional clarifying comments are displayed as footnotes.
    Date: 2023–09–15
  4. By: Panhans, Matthew T.
    Abstract: In 1982, Joe Bain was designated a Distinguished Fellow of the AEA, with an accompanying statement referring to him as “the undisputed father of modern Industrial Organization Economics.” The Structure-Conduct-Performance paradigm that Bain developed and deployed had been the core framework of industrial organization for two decades, and had a significant impact on competition policy from the 1950s through the 1970s. And yet by the time of Bain’s designation as a Distinguished Fellow, industrial organization was shifting away from SCP and instead relying on a foundation of game theory. This essay considers what made the SCP framework so influential in the United States, what shortcomings economists identified in the framework during the shift to the “new IO” in the late 1970s, and what lasting contributions the SCP research program made.
    Date: 2023–09–15
  5. By: Chassonnery-Zaïgouche, Cléo (University of Lausanne); Goutsmedt, Aurélien (UC Louvain - F.R.S-FNRS)
    Abstract: Over a period of twelve years, Barbara Bergmann developed several models of the labor market using microsimulation, eventually integrated in a "Transactions Model" of the entire US economy, built with Robert Bennett and published in 1986. The paper reconstructs the history of this modelling enterprise in the context of the debates on the microfoundations of macroeconomics and the role of macroeconomic expertise from the 1970s stagflation to the late 1980s. It shows how a political element-her focus on distributional effects of policies-was central to her criticism of macroeconomic modelling and how both her epistemic and political positions were increasingly marginalized in the 1980s.
    Date: 2023–09–14
  6. By: Valentín Figueroa; Vasiliki Fouka
    Abstract: What drives change in a society’s values? From Marx to modernization theory, scholars have identified a connection between structural transformation and social change. To understand how changes in a society’s dominant mode of production affect its dominant values, we examine the case of the movement for the abolition of slavery in the late 18th and early 19th century Britain, one of history’s most well-known campaigns for social change, which coincided temporally with the Industrial Revolution. We argue that structural transformation alters the distribution of power in society and enables groups with distinct values and weak economic interest in the status quo to mobilize for change. Using data on anti-slavery petitions, membership in abolitionist groups, MP voting behavior in Parliament and economic activity, we show that support for abolition was strongly connected to manufacturing at the aggregate and individual level. We rely on biographical data and the analysis of parliamentary speeches to show that industrialists were relatively less reliant on income from slavery and were characterized by a universalist worldview that distinguished them from established elites. Together, our findings suggest that both values and economic interest play a role in driving social change.
    JEL: A13 N63 O14 P16 Z10
    Date: 2023–09
  7. By: Miles S. Kimball; Robert J. Willis
    Abstract: Psychologists have developed effective survey methods of measuring how happy people feel at a given time. The relationship between how happy a person feels and utility is an unresolved question. Existing work in Economics either ignores happiness data or assumes that felt happiness is more or less the same thing as flow utility. The approach we propose in this paper steers a middle course between the two polar views that “happiness is irrelevant to Economics” and the view that “happiness is a sufficient statistic for utility.” We argue that felt happiness is not the same thing as flow utility, but that it does have a systematic relationship to utility. In particular, we propose that happiness is the sum of two components: (1) elation–or short-run happiness–which depends on recent news about lifetime utility and (2) baseline mood–or long-run happiness–which is a subutility function much like health, entertainment, or nutrition. In principle, all of the usual techniques of price theory apply to baseline mood, but the application of those techniques is complicated by the fact that many people may not know the true household production function for baseline mood. If this theory is on target, there are two reasons data on felt happiness is important for Economics. First, short-run happiness in response to news can give important information about preferences. Second, long-run happiness is important for economic welfare in the same way as other higher-order goods such as health, entertainment, or nutrition.
    JEL: D60 D90 D91
    Date: 2023–09
  8. By: Boumans, Marcel; Morgan, Mary S.
    JEL: N0
    Date: 2023–10–01
  9. By: Daniel J. Benjamin; Kristen Cooper; Ori Heffetz; Miles S. Kimball
    Abstract: Happiness data—survey respondents’ self-reported well-being (SWB)—have become increasingly common in economics research, with recent calls to use them in policymaking. Researchers have used SWB data in novel ways, for example to learn about welfare or preferences when choice data are unavailable or difficult to interpret. Focusing on leading examples of this pioneering research, the first part of this review uses a simple theoretical framework to reverse-engineer some of the crucial assumptions that underlie existing applications. The second part discusses evidence bearing on these assumptions and provides practical advice to the agencies and institutions that generate SWB data, the researchers who use them, and the policymakers who may use the resulting research. While we advocate creative uses of SWB data in economics, we caution that their use in policy will likely require both additional data collection and further research to better understand the data.
    JEL: D60 D63 D9 I31
    Date: 2023–09

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