Professor Annie Cot on the Master 2 program “Economics and Social Sciences: Epistemology, Methodologies and Theories” at the University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, Episode 7

For this episode we interviewed professor Annie Cot, director of the Master 2 Économie et Sciences Humaines (épistémologie, méthodes, théories) at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. We talked about the origin and evolution of the Master, as well as the type of work that their students carry out and the academic environment that the faculty and PhD students provide.

References:

Professor Medema on ‘ “Exceptional and Unimportant”? The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Externalities in Economic Analysis’ at the HPPE Seminar, Episode 6

This episode features the Historical and Philosophical Perspectives on Economics (HPPE) seminar at LSE with Professor Steven Medema on “Exceptional and Unimportant”? The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Externalities in Economic Analysis that took place on 8th November 2017.

About the presenter:

Steven Medema is Distinguished Professor of Economics and Director of CU Denver’s University Honors and Leadership Program. His research focuses on the history of twentieth-century economics, and his current project analyzes the origins, diffusion, and controversies over the Coase theorem in economics, law and beyond. He co-edited the 2014 book, Paul Samuelson on the History of Economic Analysis: Selected Essays (CUP) with Anthony Waterman. His 2009 book, The Hesitant Hand: Taming Self-Interest in the History of Economic Ideas (Princeton), was awarded the 2010 Book Prize by the European Society for the History of Economic Thought. Professor Medema served as Editor of the Journal of the History of Economic Thought from 1999-2008 and currently serves as General Editor of Oxford Studies in the History of Economics (OUP). He is a member of the editorial boards of several history of economics journals and served as President of the History of Economics Society for 2009-10.

About the Paper:

Economists typically locate the origins of the theory of externalities in A.C. Pigou’s The Economics of Welfare (1920, 1932), where Pigou suggested that activities which generate uncompensated benefits or costs—e.g., pollution, lighthouses, scientific research—represent instances of market failure requiring government corrective action. According to this history, Pigou’s effort gave rise to an unbroken Pigovian tradition in externality theory that continues to exert a substantial presence in the literature to this day, even with the stiff criticisms of it laid down by Ronald Coase (1960) and others beginning in the 1960s. This paper challenges that view. It demonstrates that, almost immediately after the publication of The Economics of Welfare, economists largely stopped writing about externalities. On the rare occasions when externalities were mentioned, it was in the context of whether a competitive equilibrium could produce an efficient allocation of resources and to note that externalities were an impediment to the attainment of the optimum. When economists once again began to take up the subject of externalities in a serious way, the very real externality phenomena—pollution, etc.—that had concerned Pigou were not in evidence. Instead, the analysis was targeted at identifying how and why externalities violated the necessary conditions for an optimal allocation of resources in a competitive system. In short, externalities were conceived very differently in the welfare theory of the 1950s than they had been in Pigou’s treatise. It was only when economists began to turn their attention to environmental and urban problems that we see a return to a conception of externalities as real, policy-relevant phenomena—that is, to the type of externality analysis that had preoccupied Pigou and that characterizes the economic analysis of externalities today. Even then, however, the approach to externality policy was anything but straightforwardly Pigovian in nature. The history of externality theory is therefore not a history of a continuous tradition but of changing conceptions of externalities, framed by changing ideas about what economic theory is attempting to achieve.

The paper can be downloaded here.

About HPPE:

The HPPE seminar series is organised by PhD students at the Economic History Department at LSE established by Gerardo Serra and Raphaelle Schwarzberg in 2012. The seminar brings together scholars from different disciplines to discuss the evolution of economic thinking and embraces topics from Ancient Greece to contemporary Africa. The seminar inquires how the theory and practice of economics changes with the historical and philosophical context. It aims to provide scholars at any stage of their career with an opportunity to discuss their work with a critical audience. For further information, please contact the current convener, Chung Tang Cheng.

Special thanks to both Professor Medema,Tang and all attendees for making this episode possible!

Please note that the Q&A that was part of the recording had to be cut due to poor sound quality. Rest assured that we are continuously working on making our recording practices better!

Debjani Bhattacharyya on The Science of Planning: Notes from Indian Economic History at the HPPE Seminar, Episode 5

This episode features the Historical and Philosophical Perspectives on Economics (HPPE) seminar at LSE with Debjani Bhattacharyya on The Science of Planning: Notes from Indian Economic History that took place on 15 November 2017.

About the presenter:

Dr. Debjani Bhattacharyya is Assistant Professor of History at Drexel University and Research Fellow of International Institute of Asian Studies at Leiden University. Her research focuses on modern South Asian history, urban environmental history, legal history and history of economic thought. She has one book in progress and published journal articles on the history of colonial India. At the HPPE seminar she presented some of her latest work on the Science of Planning in colonial India at the beginning of the 20th century.

About the paper:

The paper traces the emergence of the theories of economic planning in colonial India in an attempt to historicize planning and its various instantiations from roughly the 1930s. By tracing a long genealogy of planning, the paper interrogates the competing ideas and methods of governance that were subsumed under the rubric of planning. What were the overlapping and diverging arenas of the politics and economics of planning? Did planning mean the same thing to the politicians and the economists? The crisis within the planning commission was a crisis of “planning” as an institution, a set of ideas and practices that sought to organize politics, governance and populations in India. Contrary to understanding planning as that technocratization of state administration, the paper concludes by unraveling the incommensurability between developmental planning and the electoral and patronage politics of governing the world’s largest democracy.

About HPPE:

The HPPE seminar series is organised by PhD students at the Economic History Department at LSE established by Gerardo Serra and Raphaelle Schwarzberg in 2012. The seminar brings together scholars from different disciplines to discuss the evolution of economic thinking and embraces topics from Ancient Greece to contemporary Africa. The seminar inquires how the theory and practice of economics changes with the historical and philosophical context. It aims to provide scholars at any stage of their career with an opportunity to discuss their work with a critical audience. For further information, please contact the current convener, Chung Tang Cheng.

Special thanks to both Debjani and Tang for making this episode possible!

The following people were heard during the Q&A session: Eleanor Newbigin, Mary Morgan, Hugo Evans, Maria Bach, Jim Thomas and Paul Hudson.

Please note that parts of the recording had to be cut due to poor sound quality and background noise. Rest assured that we are continuously working on making our recording practises better!

Bruce Caldwell: HOPE Center, Economists’ Papers Archive, and Hayek Biography, Episode 4

For this episode we interviewed Bruce Caldwell, director of the Center for the History of Political Economy (HOPE Center) at Duke University and general editor of the Collected Works of F. A. Hayek. In the first part of the interview we talk about the history of the Center, its activities, and the Economists’ Papers Archive, a collection of papers of notable economists held at Duke’s Rubenstein Library. In the second part we talk about Bruce’s work as the general editor of Hayek’s collected works and about his biography of Hayek he is co-authoring with Hansjörg Klausinger.

For those interested in the fellowship programme at the HOPE Center, see here.

References mentioned in the episode:

  • Caldwell, Bruce. 1982. Beyond Positivism: Economic Methodology in the Twentieth Century. Routledge. Link
  • Caldwell, Bruce. 2005. Hayek’s Challenge: An Intellectual Biography of F. A. Hayek. University of Chicago Press. Link
  • SHOE list – mailing list of the History of Economics Society

Prof. Erik Reinert: “80 Economic Bestsellers before 1850: A Fresh Look at the History of Economic Thought”, Episode 3

This episode is a recording of a webinar organised by The YSI INET History of Economic Thought, Economic Development, Economic History and Latin America Working Groups – special thanks to Daniel Munevar whose voice you hear at the beginning.

In this webinar, Professor Erik Reinert presents his paper on the “80 Economic Bestsellers before 1850: A Fresh Look at the History of Economic Thought“.

ABSTRACT: The paper studies the economics books which – judged by the number of editions – were the most influential between 1500 and 1849, and compares these to what is represented in accounts of the history of economic thought today. The most interesting outcome of this work is that if we assume some degree of correlation between the influence of a text and the number of editions published, the publication history we present here suggests that some authors who were once influential are now being neglected. Furthermore, the presentation tracks core ideas of development economics and industrial policies to texts of the XVII and XVIII centuries.

Link to a blog post about the paper: https://developingeconomics.org/2017/06/01/80-economic-bestsellers-before-1850-a-fresh-look-at-the-history-of-economic-thought/

Link to paper: https://developingeconomics.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/reinert-et-al-80-economic-bestsellers-before-1850-3.pdf

Slides:

 

 

 

 

Discussing Methods: The History of Economic Thought as the History of Practices with Thomas Stapleford, Episode 2

In this episode, we briefly talk about methods in the History of Economic Thought, before discussing with Thomas Stapleford his paper Historical Epistemology and the History of Economics: Views Through the Lens of Practice. In this paper, Stapleford argues for approaching the history of economic thought as a history of practices. This paper was also on of the topic of a one-day workshop for young scholars organised this May by Maria and Reinhard before the annual conference of the European Society for the History of Economic Thought.

  • Information about the workshop can be found here.

A list of the literature mentioned and discussed in the episode:

  • Bakhtin, M. 1986. Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Trans. Vern W. McGee. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
  • Bakhtin, M. 1992. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • Dalston, L. and Galison, P., 2007. Objectivity. MIT Press. Link
  • Foucault, M. 1982. The archaeology of knowledge. (A. M. Sheridan Smith, Trans.). New York: Pantheon Books.
  • Foucault, M. 1988. Politics, philosophy, culture: interviews and other writings, 1977-1984. (L. D. Kritzman, Ed.). New York: Routledge.
  • Holquist, M. 1990. Dialogism: Bakhtin and his World. London; New York: Routledge.
  • Stapleford, T.A., 2017. Historical Epistemology and the History of Economics: Views Through the Lens of Practice. In Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology: Including a Symposium on the Historical Epistemology of Economics (pp. 113-145). Emerald Publishing Limited. Link
  • Warwick, A. 1992. Cambridge mathematics and Cavendish physics: Cunningham, Campbell and Einstein’s relativity, 1905-1911. Part I: The uses of theory. Part II: Comparing traditions in Cambridge physics. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science A, 23, 625–656.
  • Wylie, A., 1992. The interplay of evidential constraints and political interests: recent archaeological research on gender. American antiquity, 57(1), pp.15-35.

Introducing Ceteris non Paribus: The History of Economic Thought Podcast, Episode 1

In this short introductory episode, we shortly outline the objectives of this podcast and explain the name Ceteris non Paribus. We are a group of young scholars starting a podcast in the history of economic thought and you’ll hear the voices from the following young scholars in this episode:

Addtionally, you’ll briefly hear Gonçalo L. Fonseca, the creator of The History of Economic Thought Website.

This episode was hosted and produced by Maria and Reinhard.