nep-pke New Economics Papers
on Post Keynesian Economics
Issue of 2005‒01‒23
four papers chosen by
Karl Petrick
Leeds Metropolitan University

  1. Labor Markets and Institutions: An Overview By Jorge Enrique Restrepo; Andrea Tokman
  2. Evolutionary Theories of Cultural Change: An Empirical Perspective By R. R. Nelson
  3. Social Interactions and Economic Behavior By Giulio Zanella
  4. The Economist on 100 years of Einstein By Thomas Colignatus

  1. By: Jorge Enrique Restrepo; Andrea Tokman
    Abstract: This paper reviews the issues and papers presented at the VII Annual Conference of the Central Bank of Chile on Labor Market and Institutions, that will soon be compiled in a book by the same name. It discusses the origins of labor regulations, which are many times not associated to specific market failures. It measures its effects on labor markets, growth and inequality. Effects that vary by type of regulation, the context in which they are applied and the degree of enforcement. Finally, the paper presents work how regulations should be designed in order to generate the appropriate incentives for both firms and workers. The papers reviewed are potentially very useful in the understanding the type of regulation that should be implemented, when and how.
    Date: 2004–12
  2. By: R. R. Nelson
    Abstract: The last quarter century has seen a renaissance of the proposal that the processes Darwin put forth as driving biological evolution also provide a plausible theoretical framework for analysis of the evolution of human culture. Modern proponents of the idea that human culture evolves through broad Darwinian processes, involving variation and selective retention, of course recognize that the idea is not a new one. There is no doubt, however, that in recent years the idea has become particularly fashionable among scholars. Many advocates of the position use the term "Universal Darwinism", generally believed to have been coined by Richard Dawkins (1983), to denote the theory they are trying to develop. Because it is better known, in what follows I will use that term to denote the broad idea, which I endorse, rather adopting here David Hull’s term "General Selection Processes" (1988) to denote the class of dynamic mechanisms one can see operative in particular form in both biological and cultural change. However, I share with Hull the belief that many of the recent attempts to extend Darwinian theory to human culture have stayed too close to biology, and indeed a narrow perspective on biology. In particular, my concern here is that, while a general theory of evolution driven by variation and selective retention would appear highly relevant to analysis of changes over time in many aspects of human culture, some of the specific features that we now know are involved in the evolution of species, particularly entities like genes, and mechanisms like inclusive fitness, may not carry over easily.
  3. By: Giulio Zanella
    Abstract: This paper is a critical introduction to the new wave of economic literature on the effect of social interactions on individual behavior and aggregate economic outcomes. I refer to this research program, also known as new social economics, as the socioeconomic analysis of behavior, to distinguish it from the more popular economic analysis of social behavior. I discuss the main features of so-called interactions-based models, and I show how they help us to understand substantive economic phenomena. In order to restrict the focus, I choose five possible applications: matching in the labor market, welfare participation, poverty traps and inequality, investor behavior, and consumer behavior. Then I dwell upon two key undecided questions: (i) why economic behavior is affected by social interactions, and (ii) how the social context is shaped by rational individuals. Finally, I briefly discuss the main empirical routes so far used.
    Keywords: new social economics, social interactions, neighborhood effects, social networks, social norms, social multiplier
    JEL: D10 D85 Z13
    Date: 2004–11
  4. By: Thomas Colignatus (Samuel van Houten Genootschap)
    Abstract: An important aspect for economics and its methodology is the relation between its definitions and the reality that those definitions (should) reflect. Creative minds coin definitions that maximize explanatory power. An example that highlights this phenomenon can be found in physics and notably by the article in The Economist January 1 2005 on 100 years of Einstein. Physics with its methodology has had more impact on economics than the other way round. Physics seems to have become an arcane science and one wonders whether economics goes the same road. Both sciences are in danger of losing touch with reality and either blow up the world or destroy the world's economy if they don't spend close attention to their definitions and their transparancy. While it is most likely that the author simply doesn't understand physics, the exposition may still be beneficial for students of economics and its methodology.
    JEL: A00
    Date: 2005–01–20

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