nep-pke New Economics Papers
on Post Keynesian Economics
Issue of 2009‒12‒05
five papers chosen by
Karl Petrick
University of the West Indies

  1. Understanding the Southern African Anomaly: Poverty, endemic Disease, and HIV By Larry Sawers; Eileen Stillwaggon
  2. Increasing Inequality, Status Insecurity, Ideology, and the Financial Crisis of 2008 By Jon D. Wisman; James F. Smith
  3. Export-led growth, real exchange rates and the fallacy of composition By Robert A. Blecker; Arslan Razmi
  4. Creative Destruction, Economic Insecurity, Stress and Epidemic Obesity By Jon D. Wisman; Kevin Capehart
  5. The Determinants of State-Level Antitrust Enforcement By Benjamin H. Liebman; Kara M. Reynolds

  1. By: Larry Sawers; Eileen Stillwaggon
    Abstract: Background: Adult HIV prevalence in southern Africa is many times greater than prevalence in other low- and middle-income countries. Previous studies argue that the intensity of the HIV epidemic in southern Africa results from regional characteristics, such as apartheid labour regulations and mineral wealth, which contributed to circular migration patterns and highly skewed income distribution, both thought to promote risky sexual behaviour. This study emphasizes the importance of common infectious and parasitic diseases that increase the likelihood of HIV transmission by making HIVinfected persons more contagious and by making uninfected persons more vulnerable.
    Keywords: HIV/AIDS, migration, southern Africa, tropical disease, poverty
    Date: 2009–07
  2. By: Jon D. Wisman; James F. Smith
    Abstract: Over the three decades leading up to the crisis of 2008, inequality dramatically increased in the United States and Great Britain. What stands out, but is seldom noted, is that this occurred within democracies where the relative losers -- the overwhelming majority -- could in principle have used the political system to block or reverse rising inequality. Why did they not do so? A glance at history reveals that peoples have only very infrequently contested inequality because they were led to believe that their inferior status in terms of income, wealth, and privilege was just, that it was not really so bad, or that it was necessary for their future wellbeing. Ideological systems legitimated a status quo of inequality, or in more modern times even increasing inequality. This article surveys the manner in which inequality has been historically legitimated, first predominantly by religion, then predominately by economic thought. Attention is then focused on the manner in which contemporary economic science and its popular interpretations in the media have served to legitimate inequality in the U.S. since the mid-1970s. The paper concludes with a reflection on the unique conditions that enable the legitimation of inequality to be delegitimated.
    Keywords: Ideology, class power, utility of poverty, trickle down, vertical social mobility
    Date: 2009–11
  3. By: Robert A. Blecker; Arslan Razmi
    Keywords: exports, exchange rates
    Date: 2009–03
  4. By: Jon D. Wisman; Kevin Capehart
    Abstract: The percentage of Americans who are obese has doubled since 1980. Most attempts to explain this "obesity epidemic" have been found inadequate, including the "Big Two" (the increased availability of inexpensive food and the decline of physical exertion). This article explores the possibility that the obesity epidemic is substantially due to growing insecurity, stress, and a sense of powerlessness in modern society where high-sugar and high-fat foods are increasingly omnipresent. Those suffering these conditions may suffer less control over other domains of their lives. Insecurity and stress have been found to increase the desire for high-fat and high sugar foods. After exploring the evidence of a link between stress and obesity, the increasing pace of capitalism's creative destruction and its generation of greater insecurity and stress are addressed. The article ends with reflections on how epidemic obesity is symptomatic of a social mistake –- the seeking of maximum efficiency and economic growth even in societies where the fundamental problem of material security has been solved.
    Keywords: Social gradient obesity, endogenous preferences, cortisol, inequality, thrifty genes, rational choice model
    Date: 2009–08
  5. By: Benjamin H. Liebman; Kara M. Reynolds
    Abstract: We perform the first empirical study to focus on the relationship between trade protection and investment in Research and Development. Our results support predictions from the theoretical literature that temporary tariffs stimulate research and development, although we find no evidence that this effect diminishes as the termination of protection approaches as predicted by some theoretical models. We also find little evidence that quotas reduce research and development as predicted by multiple theoretical works. Finally, our results indicate that temporary tariffs result in decreased capital investment, perhaps because firms use periods of temporary protection to shutdown unprofitable facilities. This reveals an important distinction in firm behavior with regard to investment in tangible versus intangible capital during periods of trade protection.
    Keywords: Research and Development, Strategic Protection
    JEL: F13
    Date: 2009–09

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