Journal of Economic Issues

Volume 33, September 1999


Volume 33, September 1999

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Buchanan, Neil H.

A Userís Guide to Proposals to Replace the U.S. Tax System and Strangle Fiscal Policy

Proposals to replace the entire U.S. federal tax system have become common. This essay reviews the details of the better-known plans that have been offered in the last few years, and that are likely to marketed anew in the current election cycle. Likely effects of legal and constitutional changes that would limit the ability of future lawmakers to change the tax code are analyzed. A critique of the arguments that justify the need to reduce taxes or shift the burden is offered. J. Econ. Issues, September, 1999, 33 (3), pp. 505-524, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Epstein, Philip

Wesley Mitchellís Grand Design and Its Critics: The Theory and Measurement of Business Cycles

Most economists assume that Arthur Burns and Wesley Mitchell found evidence that business cycles are homogeneous phenomena whose dynamics can be represented by a univariate reference measure. This paper argues that Burns and Mitchell actually concluded that each historical episode was unique. They proposed the reference cycle as a representation of average behavior, about which the degrees of historical variation could be assessed. The ultimate objective of Mitchellís program was to derive a comprehensive institutional theory of economic behavior directly from empirical observations. Analysis of 50 years of postwar data supports his conclusion that each business cycle is unique. J. Econ. Issues, September, 1999, 33(3), pp. 525-554, London School of Economics, London, England.

Crotty, James

Was Keynes a Corporatist? Keynesís Radical Views on Industrial Policy and Macro Policy in the 1920s

The traditional belief that Keynes accepted the received theory of individual markets is shown to be mistaken. The paper demonstrates that in the 1920s Keynes decisively rejected atomistic competition as an efficient market form. He argued that the government should assist the ongoing movement toward cartels, holding companies, trade associations, pools and others forms of monopoly power, then regulate all affected industries. In the 1920s at least, Keynes was unabashedly corporatist, supporting a powerful microeconomic as well as macroeconomic role for the state. J. Econ. Issues, September, 1999, 33(3), pp. 555-578, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Marcelli, Enrico A., Pastor, Jr., Manuel and Joassart, Pascale M.

Estimating the Effects of Informal Economic Activity: Evidence from Los Angeles County

Economists have traditionally associated informal economic activity (IEA) with developing countries, as informal economic activity is seen as a temporary alternative to unemployment and poverty. This paper supplements case studies done in the U.S. by non-economists by estimating IEA using Census and other data. A proxy for IEA based on a unique sample of foreign-born Mexicans collected in Los Angeles County is used to generate a cross section econometric estimate of wage determination in markets of high, intermediate and low degrees of informality. There is little evidence that IEA is as liberating or rewarding as some have argued. J. Econ. Issues, September 1999, 33(3), pp. 579-608, University of California, Los Angeles, University of California , Santa Cruz, and University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Henry, John F.

John Locke, Property Rights, and Economic Theory

It is demonstrated that neoclassical theory cannot be based on the theoretical work of John Locke. Rather, Lockeís work has been vulgarized by neoclassicists to make it conform to orthodox theoretical strictures: the social and institutional environment within which Locke wrote and which gave Lockeís work its intellectual vigor and distinction has been eliminated from consideration. In vulgarizing Lockeís general theory theorists have contravened Lockeís important positions on the right of property, subsistence, and social control over the use of property. J. Econ. Issues, September, 1999, 33(3), pp. 609-624, California State University, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

Hackey, Robert

Groping for Autonomy: The Federal Government and American Hospitals, 1950-1990

Chronicles the slow but steady emergence of countervailing power in the hospital industry since mid-century. The transformation of American health care policymaking reflects the federal governmentís growing fiscal obligations as the single largest purchaser of health care. The evolution of health care policy illustrates a larger point about the effectiveness of countervailing power. Although the federal governmentís relationship with the hospital industry resembled the "close fusion" between the state and the technostructure described by Galbraith at mid-century, over the past two decades the interests of federal policymakers and industry representatives diverged. J. Econ. Issues, September, 1999, 33(3), pp. 625-646, Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A.

Barnett, Barry J. and Gibson, Brandon O.

Economic Challenges of Transgenic Crops: The Case of Bt Cotton

The commercialization of transgenic crop varieties is expanding rapidly in the U.S. Many transgenic crops promise external environmental benefits as well as economic benefits to farmers. Yet ethical, environmental, and food safety concerns have been raised. Using the case of Bt cotton, this article discusses additional economic challenges that must be addressed before the promised long-run benefits of transgenic crops can be realized. J. Econ. Issues, September, 1999, 33(3), pp. 647-660, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, Mississippi, U.S.A. and Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.

Gray, Jerry and Chapman, Richard

Conflicting Signals: The Labor Market for College-Educated Workers

Wage data seem to indicate a relative shortage of college-educated workers, even though the proportion of college graduates working in jobs that have not traditionally required a college degree. It is argued that the puzzle as well as growing problems associated with earnings inequality and educational underutilization solved by focus on the demand side of the labor market. Rising college-wage premiums coupled with rising proportions of educational underutilization are expected outcomes of rising college-graduation rates in a Job-Competition Model. J. Econ. Issues, September, 1999, 33(3), pp. 661-676, Willamette University, Salem, Oregon, U.S.A. and Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.

dos Anjos, Jr., Moacir

Money, Trust, and Culture: Elements for an Institutional Approach to Money

As is well known money, in spite of its importance in modern life, is often treated by economists as a mere add-on to contractual relations that are ultimately defined in real terms. In this article an alternative tradition of analysis is used to demonstrate why money is essential for the operation of important institutions and to examine conditions necessary to maintain money as a social operator. The need for a culture-oriented analysis of the social role of money is explored. J. Econ. Issues, September, 1999, 33(3), pp. 677-688, Fundacao Joaquim Nabuco, Recife, Brazil.

Gilman, Nils

Thorstein Veblenís Neglected Feminism

Close reading of The Theory of the Leisure Class and other work of Thorstein Veblen shows his theories to have emerged directly from a fundamental critique of womenís subjugation to social and economic norms. As his contemporaries recognized, Veblen was an early advocate of womenís emancipation. Considering Veblenís theories in conjunction with his own reputation for notorious sexual practices, this paper concludes not only that Veblen was not a killjoy, as some recent advocates of consumerism have suggested, but also that his proclivities constituted a forward-looking form of sexual liberation. J. Econ. Issues, September, 1999, 33(3), pp. 689-712, University of California, Berkeley, California, U.S.A.

Vaughn, Gerald F.

Veblenís Possible Influence on the New Deal Land-Utilization Program as Evidenced by His Student Claud Franklin Clayton

Direct evidence of Veblenís influences upon New Deal policies is found in the career of Claud Franklin Clayton, a student of Veblen. Clayton was one of the leading figures in the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the formative years of research in land economics up to World War II. He contributed to planning and overseeing the U.S. Resettlement Administrationís submarginal land-utilization program of the 1930s. A project in Maryland, launched in 1935, is used as an example of Veblen-influenced multiple-use land management. J. Econ. Issues, September, 1999, 33(3), pp. 713-727, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, U.S.A.

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Last Updated on November 16, 1999