ENPOSS Conference


Keynote Speakers:

  • Margaret Gilbert (University of California, Irvine)
  • Uskali Mäki (University of Helsinki)


The European Network for the Philosophy of the Social Sciences (ENPOSS) invites contributions to its 3rd Conference to be held in Madrid in September of 2014, and organised by UNED. Contributions from all areas within the philosophy of the social sciences are encouraged. Moreover, contributions from both philosophers and social scientists are welcome. Only one contribution per person will be considered.

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Nobel Prize in Economics

Here is a list of readings and podcasts concerning Eugene F. Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert J. Shiller:

HET Summer School in Ankara

The Summer School on History of Economic Thought, Economic Philosophy and Economic History was established in 1998 with the following aims:

  • To provide a thematic and specialized formation to PhD students in these fields of study;
  • To guarantee the diffusion and scientific assessment of their work;
  • To provide new approaches and enhance knowledge in contemporary economic analysis;
  • To introduce PhD students to trans-disciplinary perspectives in the social sciences.

In line with this general approach, the Summer School is organized as follows:

  • Workshops where PhD students present their work as written contributions to the debate, discussing them with senior scholars;
  • Seminars presented by invited professors and researchers on the topic “Growth and Development: History, Theory and Policy”;
  • Tutorials aiming at helping PhD students with preparation of their work with a view to its further diffusion and publication.

About 30 PhD students and young scholars make up the usual attendance at the Summer School, joined by about 15 senior scholars. The working language is English.

A certificate of participation in the Summer School will be issued to the PhD students and young scholars who apply for it and have satisfactorily attended the seminars, workshops, and tutorials. This certificate will provide the PhD students with the ECTS, credits that will be recognized by their institutions.

from 1 September to 8 September 2013.

Deadline for application: 30 April 2013

More information here!

Maghribi traders debate

I just realized that the debate concerning the Maghribi traders continues (see the previous post on this: Was Avner Greif right?). Avner Greif summarizes the debate here: Debate Regarding the Magrhibi Traders. He mentions the following two articles from the May 2012 issue of The Economic History Review — both are freely available from EHR’s web page (follow the links below):

  1. Contract enforcement, institutions, and social capital: the Maghribi traders reappraised (pages 421–444)- JEREMY EDWARDS and SHEILAGH OGILVIE

    • PDF(197K)
    • Abstract: Social scientists draw important lessons for modern development from the medieval Maghribi traders who, it has been argued, lacked effective legal mechanisms for contract enforcement and instead relied on informal sanctions based on collective ostracism within an exclusive coalition. We show that this claim is untenable. Not a single empirical example adduced as evidence of the putative coalition shows that a coalition actually existed. The Maghribi traders made use of the formal legal system in order to enforce agency agreements in long-distance trade. A subset of the traders did form a web of trusted business associates that contributed to informal contract enforcement, but this was very different from the hypothesized coalition, in neither being exclusive nor having a clearly defined membership. The Maghribi traders combined reputation-based sanctions with legal mechanisms, in ways that resemble the practices of medieval European merchants. We find no evidence that the Maghribi traders had more ‘collectivist’ cultural beliefs than their European counterparts.


  2. The Maghribi traders: a reappraisal? (pages 445–469)- AVNER GREIF

    • PDF(203K)
    • Abstract: Previous studies concluded that a private-order institution based on a multilateral reputation mechanism was particularly important in governing agency relations among the Maghribi traders who operated in the Muslim Mediterranean. The legal system and a bilateral reputation mechanism were particularly important among the Genoese traders. Initial cultural, social, and political factors led to this institutional distinction, while the incorporation of culture in the resulting institutions influenced subsequent institutional developments. In particular, the particularities of the late medieval European institutions contributed to the rise of the modern—impersonal—markets in Europe. The analysis also substantiates the contention that private-order institutions can support sophisticated exchange and market-promoting policies should take this into account, particularly in countries lacking an effective court system. An article by Edwards and Ogilvie challenges this analysis. It alleges that the Maghribis, like European traders, relied on court enforcement and a bilateral reputation mechanism in which a narrow social circle responded to opportunism. This article shows that Edwards and Ogilvie’s analysis and conclusions are wrong. It refutes each of their empirical claims and presents additional pieces of evidence supporting the institutional distinction conjecture. The discussion is structured around the methodological challenge associated with comparative and historical institutional analysis.

JEM Special Issue: Economics Made Fun

Journal of Economic Methodology
Special Issue: Economics Made Fun
Vol. 19, Issue 3, 2012
Editors: Jack Vromen & N. Emrah Aydinonat

The paradox of popularity in economics
Diane Coyle
pages 187-192

A less-is-more approach to introductory economics
Robert H. Frank
pages 193-198

Finding the right levers: the serious side of ‘economics made fun’
Jack Vromen
pages 199-217

On the philosophy of the new kiosk economics of everything
Uskali Mäki
pages 219-230

Economics is a serious and difficult subject
Roger E. Backhouse
pages 231-241

The two images of economics: why the fun disappears when difficult questions are at stake?
N. Emrah Aydinonat
pages 243-258

Inland empire: economics imperialism as an imperative of Chicago neoliberalism
Edward Nik-Khah & Robert Van Horn
pages 259-282

The unbearable lightness of the economics-made-fun genre
Peter Spiegler
pages 283-301

The evolving notion of relevance: an historical perspective to the ‘economics made fun’ movement
Jean-Baptiste Fleury
pages 303-316

Economic page turners
Björn Frank
pages 317-327

Is destruction intrinsically pleasurable?

According to this paper, YES! (Of course, you knew this already.)

Kessler, Esther & David Skuse (2012) Destructor Game, http://www.doctreballeco.uji.es/wpficheros/kessler_etal_2012.pdf
Abstract: Destructive behavior has mostly been investigated by games in which all players have the option to simultaneously destroy (burn) their partners’ money. In the destructor game, players are randomly paired and assigned the roles of destructor versus passive player. The destructor player chooses to destroy or not to destroy a share of his passive partner’s earnings. The passive partner cannot retaliate. In addition, a random event (nature) destroys a percentage of some passive subject’s earnings. From the destructor player’s view, destruction is benefit-less, costless, hidden and unilateral. Unilateral destruction diminishes with respect to bilateral destruction studies, but it does not vanish: 15% of the subjects choose to destroy. This result suggests that, at least for some, destruction is intrinsically pleasurable. Keywords: anti-social behaviour, nastiness, money-burning JEL: C72

The Experimental Economics of Religion

The Experimental Economics of Religion
Date: 2011-07
By: Robert Hoffmann
URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/cedex/documents/papers/2011-07.pdf
This article surveys the experimental economics approach to the study of religion. The field has a place in the context of the scientific study of religion generally and the social psychology of religion in particular, but employs distinct economic methods which promise new and different insights. In particular, certain features of the experimental approach as used by economists such as incentive compatibility are particularly appropriate for studying the effect of religion on individual behaviour. The paper discusses results obtained so far in terms of two roles of religion in shaping individual behaviour, i.e. as a social group identifier and as a set of values.
Keywords: religion, religiosity, experiments