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AFEE @ MVEA 2015

AFEE Session Papers @ Missouri Valley Economics Association

22-24, 2015 Kansas City

Sessions organized by Zdravka Todorova, Wright State University


Session 1

Institutions, Distribution and Economic Systems (Association for Evolutionary Economics session)

Chair and Discussant: Panayotis Giannakouros, Center for Computational Mathematics and Modeling, James Madison University
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What does the Glorious Revolution Really Tell us about Economic Institutions?

Aqdas Afzal, University of Missouri - Kansas City
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This paper critically examines how the Glorious Revolution, a seminal event in British economic and political history, has been analyzed by New Institutional Economics (NIE). The paper argues this examination, in general, and that of the Glorious Revolution, in particular, shows considerable amount of theoretical weakness. Instead, the paper utilizes the critical-institutionalist technique to present a comprehensive analysis of the Glorious Revolution. The paper forwards the changing nature of resource distribution and culture in Britain as important variables. At the same time, the paper also highlights the role of the “Whigs” as key agents in bringing about the necessary events of the Glorious Revolution.

Keywords: new institutional economics, the Glorious Revolution, critical-institutionalist technique

JEL Codes: B15, B12, D02


A further Veblenian Articulation of a Monetary Theory of Production

Zdravka Todorova, Wright State University, Economics Department
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The paper offers a further articulation of the monetary theory of production inspired by the writings of Veblen. This includes a formulation of the monetary theory of production as part of the social provisioning and the life process, including focus on non-commodities; an extension of the Veblenian dichotomy to non-market activities; a delineation of social processes that constitute social provisioning, and their commodity and non-commodity aspects; and a discussion of Veblen’s theory of social valuation in connection to monetary theory of production and class. All of those are directed towards connecting monetary theory of production to social theory and broader analysis of the culture of capitalism.

Keywords: monetary theory of production; Thorstein Veblen; social provisioning; class; capitalism.

JEL Codes: B52, B54, P 16, Z13


Marx’s Theory of Property Rights and Workers’ Cooperatives

Hee-Young Shin, Department of Economics, Wright State University
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Karl Marx did not provide any systematic vision for socialist economic system. Even when he discussed this topic in his mature economic manuscripts from time to time, his scattered remarks on the socialist mode of production were largely inconsistent with one another. The goal of this paper is to reexamine Marx’s theory of property rights and his analysis of historical evolution of corporate ownership structure under capitalism as a way to reconstruct his latent vision for an alternative economic system. Both Marxists and non-Marxian scholars have conventionally believed that Marx envisioned the socialist economy as a combination of the state ownership (public ownership) of major social means of production with a non-market central planning system. In this paper, the author argues that Marx had another version of socialist economic system in mind, and that he believed the new economic system would be characterized by the ‘re-establishment of individual ownership’ on the basis of ‘common possession of means of production’ in terms of the property right relations. This particular corporate ownership was embodied in Marx’s time in various forms of workers’ cooperatives and the early development of joint stock companies. The author explores the exact meaning of this particular property ownership structure and ways to generalize this alternative ownership of means of production in order to think of a feasible and viable alternative economic system.

Keywords: property rights, private property, capitalist private property, individual ownership, common possession, social coordination, market, central planning.

JEL code: B14, B51, P21, P30, P51


Session 2

Methodology and Political Economy: Assumptions, Data Analysis, and Problem Solving (Association for Evolutionary Economics session)

Chair: Hee-Young Shin, Department of Economics, Wright State University
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Discussant 1: Hee-Young Shin, Department of Economics, Wright State University

Discussant 2: James Webb, University of Missouri – Kansas City
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A Problem Solving Approach to Data Analysis for Economics

Panayotis Giannakouros, Center for Computational Mathematics and Modeling, James Madison University
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Lihua Chen, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, James Madison University

Data analysis for formal methods is constrained due to the lengthy dominance of the econometric view within economics. Best practice in statistics suggests a shift in emphasis from making statements about the sampling distribution of numerical data summaries to seeking data summaries that communicate well.  The process philosophy perspective informing the original institutionalists and also evident in the tradition of Keynes is amenable to drawing from current developments in the field of statistics toward this goal. Compared to the econometric approach, it emphasizes data analysis over statistical inference, problem solving over theory testing, and algorithmic over analytic mathematics. In the choice of tools made possible by current technology it favors general purpose tools that are adaptable. It favors the instrumental efficacy of computational thinking, visualization, exploration, and discovery over the ceremonial aspects of the mathematical rhetoric of economics. It also encourages the attention to ethics and assumptions stressed by statisticians. Our aim is to provide an overview of the philosophical foundation and intellectual history of an alternative to the econometric view and to give some examples of how it might be applied to the data needs of formal methods for social economics.

Keywords: Process Philosophy, Computational Thinking, Pragmatism, Methodology, Data Analysis

JEL: B40, C18


The UN’s Approach to Mexican Women’s Human Rights Violations during the War on Drugs: Hijacking Socio-Economic Rights in the Neoliberal Era

Karol Gil Vasquez, Nichols College
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For more than three decades, Mexico’s economic policies have warmly embraced neoliberalism as their guiding principle. The Mexico of the post-NAFTA era—coupled by the War on Drugs and the absence of the rule of law—is now experiencing a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions. The systematic violations of human rights—political and socio-economic rights—have been converted into a generalized crisis of public insecurity, disproportionally experienced by the most vulnerable sectors of society, specifically, young poor men and women. Mexico’s pandemic violence against women has called for the intervention of non-governmental agencies and international civil organizations, including the United Nations (UN). Based on a post-colonial feminist and institutional approach, this paper analyzes the UN Special Rapporteurs and its major publications on Mexico’s violence against women. The purpose of this study is to analyze the UN approach to contemporary gender violence. Does the UN analysis establish a connection between neoliberal economic policies—NAFTA—and the intensification and brutality of crimes against Mexican women in the last decade? The main goal of this paper is to determine if the UN’s perspectives and recommendations on the issue are based on women’s current status within the economic structure. Or, if violence against women is presented as an isolated phenomenon to Mexico’s economic institutions.

Keywords: Political Economy, Globalization, Violence, Gender Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, War on Drugs

JEL classifications: B54, F63, J12, J16, P16


Interdisciplinary Rational Agents: Incorporating Biological Evidence into Economic Assumptions

Jerome D. Cox, University of Missouri Kansas City
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This paper clarifies the often times criticized economic assumptions made about homo economicus by using an interdisciplinary review of scholarly evidence. How should economists model and build theories, when the typical assumptions made about human behavior, nature, and evolution are at odds with known scientific findings?  Anthropological, evolutionary biology, and sociological fields are drawn upon in order to describe the current state of understanding and debate about how humans have evolved into the social structures we currently observe in the diverse social environment.  More accurate assumptions can build more accurate models, and theories based on realistic foundations serve as better explanatory vehicles in understanding research topics.  Hence, comparing and contrasting the typically accepted starting points with a heterodox alternative is quite useful.

Keywords: economic assumptions, evolutionary biology, heterodox economics, human nature

JEL Codes: D01, D03


Envisioning a Sustainable World: Exploring the Methods of Ecological Economics

Richard Wagner, Rockhurst University
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To achieve ecological sustainability, the use of a visionary methodology must be undertaken. As a methodological commitment, those who discuss vision as a viable approach believe that we must have an idea of where we would like to be before we start the process of getting there. Although seemingly basic, visions framed in the discussion of ecological sustainability become increasingly substantial as details and differing scenarios are discussed and eventually realized. Ecological Economists are familiar with such an approach and discuss it widely within their discipline. To increase awareness and the importance of the envisioning process as utilized by Ecological Economics, this paper summarizes and details its components.

Keywords: Sustainability, methodology, ecological economics, envisioning, heterodox economics

JEL Classifications: B4, B5, Q57