A New Psychology: "Mimetic" Preferences

One of the new things at this year's INET is a way to look at the psychology of agents, namely Rene Girard's theory of 'mimetic' preferences, or rather that one consumer copies another's preferences in order to keep up socially. (I am grossly simplifying here, as a two hour panel on Girard will substantiate, but this seemed to me to be the gist). Read more

Great Hospitality or Chance to Innovate?

some personal touches to hospitality at the INET conference, although I feel for the people who have been holding that sign all day.

with thanks to an anonymous commenter for pointing this out, although they might just have run out of poster stands.

Kuhn vs Lakatos: it is not the institute of anything goes...

In his opening remarks, Robert Johnson said that this "is not the institute of anything goes" with INET now getting to a point where it needs to stop criticising the mainstream and should instead "create a new vision."

Outside the main hall of the conference there is even a poster setting out the core institutions needed to affect change in economics. That poster, and indeed the 'old' approach of INET is very Lakatos. Accept the core and work to modify the periphery.

Read more

I Have to Act Like an Adult in Hong Kong

The INET conference in Hong Kong is serious business. Students will be wearing suits for the first time since their cousin's wedding only to bump into senior public servants with buffed cuff-links who in turn are mingling with billionaires and Nobel Prize winners. It's seriously adult stuff.

It's just a shame that I will probably be too giddy to notice. In fairness I will try not to gush at people; like I may have done with Axel Leijonhufvud last year, or Richard Koo, or Robert Skidelsky, or... well... that's not really the point. Read more

History of Economics and Images: static and dynamic

  There has been an important movement towards making available on the web a host of open courses. One can easily access courses from major American universities such as Harvard, MIT, Yale and Princeton, among others (see the Open Courseware Consortium for similar initiatives worldwide). Read more

Economic “fields” as historical objects (not yet)

The notion of “field” is so pervasive that economists hardly pay conscious attention to it. The student is early trained into the habit of classifying knowledge, then papers and colleagues according to their field. You share your office with a labor economist, will be part of a committee recruiting some health economist, and are late with your review of this environmental economics paper (well, that's unlikely). Economic fields draw a map with which economists navigate their profession on a daily basis. Read more

The challenge of “value-ladeness” for history writing

 

Although the objectivity-Grail Quest has ended with total success decades ago (so economists say), the question of the possibility and consequences of economists' values smuggling into their daily practice still periodically surfaces, and crises make good times for such debates. Yet, not often do we historians too ask how economists' values should be handled in our writing. Read more

Paul Samuelson and the History of Economics

    Paul Samuelson is well-known to have been a compulsive citer and for having a particular Whig program for the history of economics. Until late in his career he kept writing on "old economists" like Cassel, Böhm-Bawerk, and Ricardo, for example (for instance, see his co-authored article on Ricardo published in HOPE in 2006) . Read more

ASSA Meetings: a Showcase for the History of Economics?

    Economists and historians of economics have related differently over time, and the past of the discipline has then served for varied purposes. The matter compounds when we take into account that it has been and it currently is the case that most historians of economics are in economics departments. Besides sharing the same institutional space, they also share one important event: the annual meeting of the Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA). Read more

Jurassic Economics at ASSA-AEA 2013

  The History of Economics Society (HES) held four sessions at the Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA) 2013 meeting, in San Diego, Jan. 4-6: “Keynes and the International Monetary System” (co-organized by Robert Dimand and Rebeca Gomez Betancourt), “Writing MIT’s History” (organized by E. Roy Weintraub and having our blog fellow Yann Giraud presenting), “Looking for Best Practices in Economic Journalism: Past and Present” (organized by our blog fellow Tiago Mata), and “Real Business Cycle after Three Decades: Past, Present and Future” (a panel discussion co-organized by Warren L. Young and Sumru Altug).

  I will here focus only on the latter. Participants included Nobel Prize Laureates and central figures of the Real Business Cycle (RBC) macroeconomics Read more