nep-sog New Economics Papers
on Sociology of Economics
Issue of 2009‒11‒07
three papers chosen by
Jonas Holmström
Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration

  1. Spreading Academic Pay over Nine or Twelve Months: Economists Are Supposed to Know Better, but Do They Act Better? By Claar, Victor V; Diestl, Christine M; Poll, Ross D
  2. What is Economics? – Attitudes and views of German economists By Bruno S. Frey; Silke Humbert; Friedrich Schneider
  3. Calculative practices in higher education: a retrospective analysis of curricular accounting about learning By Dixon, Keith

  1. By: Claar, Victor V; Diestl, Christine M; Poll, Ross D
    Abstract: Our paper empirically considers two general hypotheses related to the literature of behavioral economics. First, we test the null hypothesis that individuals behave, on average, in a manner more consistent with the rational expectations hypothesis than with the idea of self-control in the face of hyperbolic discounting in their saving decisions. Second, along a variety of dimensions, we examine whether individuals exhibit Herbert Simon’s notion that the goal formation of individuals will differ depending upon their relative levels of experience and knowledge. Perhaps there are significant differences among groups in their saving decisions that depend upon their apparent levels of intelligence, education, and knowledge. Finally, using a variety of individual-specific control variables, we test for robustness of the results.
    Keywords: Consumer Economics, Empirical Analysis, Life Cycle Models and Saving
    JEL: D11 D12 D91
    Date: 2009–10–20
  2. By: Bruno S. Frey; Silke Humbert; Friedrich Schneider
    Abstract: Which schools of thought are favored by German economists? What makes a good economist and which economists have been most influential? These questions were addressed in a survey, conducted in the summer of 2006 among the members of the ‘Verein für Socialpolitik’, the association of German speaking economists. An econometric analysis is used to identify to what extent ideological preferences or personal factors determine the respondents’ answers. Our results suggest that German economists favor Neoclassics as a school of thought and appreciate the contributions of their Anglo-Saxon colleagues much more than their fellow compatriots’ contributions. Furthermore, a ‘good’ economist should have expertise in a certain field, as well as a broader knowledge of general economics. Some of the results can be compared to Colander (2008). The results indicate that graduate programs noted for their American style greatly influence a student’s opinion as to what attributes a good economist must have.
    Keywords: Economics, economists, school of thought, neoclassics, homo oeconomicus
    Date: 2009–10
  3. By: Dixon, Keith
    Abstract: Accounting has been shown to figure variously in New Higher Education. However, despite their infant precursors having been labelled curricular accounting (Theodossin, 1986), accounting researchers have overlooked a collection of calculative practices that has grown and spread internationally over the past two decades. The collection in question comprises credit points, levels of learning, level descriptors, learning outcomes, and related characteristics of student transcripts and diploma supplements, qualification frameworks and credit transfer systems. This paper extends coverage of the accounting literature to this particular variant of accounting. The subject is addressed both in a technical way and in the broader context of accounting in organisations and society. The former University of New Zealand and its affiliate in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the University of Canterbury, also of that city, are used as a case study. The credit point system in place at the University of Canterbury in 2009 and its antecedents back to 1873 are analysed genealogically. Participant-observation and related means are used to collect data. These data are analysed using ideas of representational schemes, path-dependent changes and negotiated orders among parties who have been associated with the case institutions. The analysis illuminates how and why learning (and teaching) at the University of Canterbury has come to be specified, recorded and controlled using curricular accounting; and why the accounting in use accords conceptually and, to an increasing degree, in practice to that in use across tertiary education in many countries. Among the social, economic and political issues that have spurred on this spread are international standards, quality and equivalence of tertiary education qualifications, study and learning; diversification of participation in tertiary education; changes to the levels and sources of funding tertiary education; and the many and varied ideas, etc. associated with New Higher Education. The spread has multifarious consequences for students, academics, alumni, universities and similar institutions, higher education, governments and others. There is much scope for further research.
    Keywords: Higher education; Credit accumulation and transfer; Social and institutional accounting; Genealogical methods
    JEL: I21 H83 I28
    Date: 2009–11–01

This nep-sog issue is ©2009 by Jonas Holmström. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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