Philosophy of Economics Discussion and Presentation Series (PE-DPS)

Phil Econ Discussion and Presentation Series

March 2021 - May 2022

Discussion and Presentation Series for young scholars to discuss the philosophical implications of their research, or of any topic they’re interested

Webinar Series

Please fill in this form to provide all the details. Once we’ve received your submission, we will share potential date slots for you to select.

Join now!

Apply before: 4/30/22, 00:00

Description

We’re happy to announce that the Philosophy of Economics Working Group continues its bi-weekly Discussion and Presentation Series. We’re calling on all YSI members to partake. The series will have two main objectives:

I. Provide a regular platform for young scholars working in the philosophy of economics to share and workshop their research or interests with the YSI community.
II. Provide a venue for young scholars from other groups, working in either applied or theoretical research, to explore the philosophical implications and dimensions of their work.

In the Philosophy of Economics WG, we invite you to dive deep and unapologetically raise questions that shake the foundations of Economics to the core!

We want to keep the format open and flexible, so that it may also serve as a space for exploring new research questions or reflecting as a group on contemporary economic issues through sustained critical dialogue.

If you’re interested, you can choose:

B. Presentation of a piece of academic work in economics (a book, an article, etc.) or;
C. Discussion of a contemporary economic issue that you find pressing.
(option A is temporarily frozen to give more space to the other two options)

To keep your presentation to the point, we expect the following format in your proposal/abstract and presentation:

  1. Briefly formulate your claim/thesis/observation in 1-2 sentences. To summarize your intention when presenting your work is important in making it clear to others.

  2. Describe and discuss the topic you would like to present in 150-200 words. Detailing your rationale is helpful for us to understand your approach and perspective.

  3. End with 2-3 research questions. These are the questions you would like the audience to discuss with you at the end. At YSI, we have an audience with different backgrounds from all over the world that can bring different perspectives to any given topic.

Webinar sessions have a one-hour duration: 15-20 minutes for the appointed invited presenter, and the remaining time is assigned to the discussion.

Please fill in this form to provide all the details. Once we’ve received your submission, we will share potential date slots for you to select.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Diana, Isaac, Juan & Merve
Webinar Series Organisers 2021-22, YSI Philosophy of Economics WG

UPCOMING EVENTS

Online

4 Nov 2021

Webinar

The 8th PE-DPS David Cano on the normative analysis of growth imperative

This session features our guest David Cano (University of Sienna) The growth imperative that compels economies to expand and persons to improve seems natural and unavoidable, though awareness and discomfort are rising due to the global ecological crisis it is about to unleash. In economics, a broader understanding of the growth imperative as progress, the improvement in human potential and conditions of existence, is the ultimate, undisputed objective. It is considered either an evident feature of (human) nature, or an ethical and political goal. Only the degrowth approach questions this, but it is still widely unknown and unstructured, and it criticizes the status of economic growth as a mean, not the deeper goal itself. Hence, the profession tacitly or explicitly advocates for the growth imperative, the pursuing of the unlimited, despite its fame as the science of scarcity. Since the growth imperative is an economic phenomenon and economics has had an important role in its justification and management, I think that a normative analysis of the growth imperative— why are expansion and improvement desirable—is necessary in economics. Key questions for discussion Is this a valid question for economics, or should it be considered outside the field? Is economics inherently biased towards a defence of the growth imperative, or is it possible to make economic analysis with different normative criteria? How should economics approach this analysis, through the usual technical comparison of the costs and benefits of growth, or through ethical, ontological, or even metaphysical analysis?

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Online

25 Nov 2021

Webinar

The 9th PE-DPS Jan H. Höffler on Data Use in Economics

Greetings! In our last session of the year on November 25th, 4pm CET, we're inviting Jan H. Höffler on Data Use in Economics: What can we do better Data science permeates all scientific realms and, slowly but surely, our surrounding environment. How does this impact economics? This presentation aims to tackle data use and transparency by addressing the "replication crisis" phenomenon while actively presenting a step towards a solution: The ReplicationWiki. "Replication crisis" refers to the phenomenon that research results can often not be independently replicated. Though this takes place in several sciences it is rarely revealed. One reason for this is a lack of data and code transparency. There has been some improvement mostly at top journals, however, journals still tend to block corrections, and there are hardly any retractions in the social sciences, even when it is pointed out that there were problems with data collection/data use and transparency. In economics, already the first issue of Econometrica mentioned that empirical work published in that journal should be replicable. In 1986, most of the articles of an issue of the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, whose editor had archived their data, were found not to be replicable in an article published in the American Economic Review. The Journal of Applied Econometrics already in 1995 introduced an online data archive after a special issue on the topic. Only after a series of scandals, in particular about fake data in psychology, did most leading journals start to run mandatory data archives, and more and more code is shared. But the bulk of empirical work in economics still lacks transparency. Despite that, it keeps getting cited in academia, by practitioners, politicians and, in the media. With the originally INET-funded ReplicationWiki and its accompanying replication working paper series and workshops we have been contributing to change. CLAIM: Economists should study epistemology and I would say that up until now, we have failed miserably. QUESTION: What else can young scholars do to change the status quo of economic research of limited reliability? Short bio:Jan H. Höffler founded the ReplicationWiki during his PhD with an INET grant. On replication he has taught at universities in Germany, Toronto, Nanjing, Geneva, and Maastricht, presented at international conferences and as invited speaker at various departments, (co-)organized workshops and conference sessions and published articles.

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PAST EVENTS

Online

13 May 2021

Webinar

The 1st PE-DPS: Intro & Juan Melo on Statistical Explanation

During this first session of the Series, we will first present the series and provide guidelines for submissions. Then, Juan will kick off the series by presenting some of his research. Come join! "Statistical Explanation in Political Economy"by Juan Melo (U. Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne)Abstract: In this short presentation, I will address a subsection of my dissertation that deals with the concept of statistical explanation in analytical political economy. I will start by touching briefly on the complex history of probabilistic thinking in economic analysis. Then I proceed to discuss two aspects of statistical explanation in economic analysis. The first relates to the problem of rational inference based on probabilities (the micro perspective), and the second has to do with statistical theories in the context of econometric or phenomenological research (the macro perspective). Finally, I relate this to work in contemporary and classical political economy.

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Online

27 May 2021

Webinar

The 2nd PE-DPS: Diana Soeiro on Indicators

In this 2nd session of the series, Diana Soeiro (ISCTE-Lisbon University Institute) will present some of her work and will invite us for a critical discussion on indicators. Come join us in this challenge! Title:** "A Reflection on Evaluation Indicators: Exploring the limits between economic performance and institutional flexibility"** AbstractEvaluation indicators are a much-discussed topic nowadays, particularly in the aftermath of the United Nations 2030 Agenda (issued in 2015) that proposes several indicators associated with each of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I've been working on developing indicators to assess progress in the context of intersectoral policies. Therefore, I would like to discuss the interaction between evaluation indicators and public policies, a powerful test of institutional flexibility and its ability to adapt. 1) How can Key Performance Indicators (KIP) effectively incorporate economic and non-economic indicators?2) Are governance systems ready to handle hundreds of indicators? Intersectoral policies can be particularly challenging to determine accountability. Which mechanisms should be put in place to manage them institutionally?3) Up to which extent are indicators useful – in a governance/ public policy context? Is there a time when they stop being helpful and become an obstacle?The goal of this discussion is to reflect on how "big ideas" in Economics (stemming from a broad and universal policy like the 2030 Agenda) can successfully find their way through institutions, leading to effective implementation.

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Online

10 Jun 2021

Webinar

The 3rd PE-DPS: Sattwick Dey Biswas on Utilitarianism and Quantification

“In this 3rd session of the series, Sattwick Dey Biswas (Institute of Public Policy, National Law School of India University) will present some of his work and will invite us for a critical discussion on utilitarianism and quantification. Come join us in this challenge! Title:** "Reflections on utilitarianism and quantification" ** Abstract” There are inherent issues with aggregating empirical information. Working with Bentham’s principle of aggregation, Alexander and Peñalver (2012) claimed two things must be in place to be called utilitarian theory. First, the utility must be quantifiable as cardinal value, and second, the utility must have an interpersonal comparison. The cardinal value principle states whether Esmeralda prefers a chocolate ice cream over a vanilla or vice versa. Bentham stresses that the information should indicate which flavour a person likes the most and, at the same time, how much more he or she (others) prefers it to the alternatives. For interpersonal comparison, we need to ensure that ‘a unit of pleasure experienced by one must be the same as an equivalent unit of pleasure experienced by another.’ If Esmeralda likes all the flavours of ice cream equally and with the same intensity, then Bentham’s utility must be able to indicate how Erika’s desire for ice cream differs from Esmeralda’s. At a higher level, the method should be able to compare the pleasure Esmeralda derives from ice cream in Oslo with the pleasure Erika derives from travelling to Uganda during Christmas. Such trivial questions are at the heart of every discussion making, including but not restricted to valuation. The existing theories want to generate large data, reasonably so, and aggregate them, nevertheless, struggle during production of numbers itself. Reference:Sen, A., and B.A. Williams, eds. 1982. Utilitarianism and Beyond. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Alexander, G.S., and E.M. Peñalver. 2012. An Introduction to Property Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Online

24 Jun 2021

Webinar

The 4th PE-DPS: Lukas Fuchs on Shaping the Market

In this 4th session of the series, Lukas Fuchs (University College London) will present some of his work and will invite us for a critical discussion on 'shaping the market.' Come join us in this challenge! Title: "Shaping the Market: Enablement, Responsibility and Climate Change" Abstract:Contemporary societies create and shape markets. The range of products accessible to consumers in most parts of the world has constantly expanded: electric power, cars, phones or vitamin pills have been added just in the last century. Markets are not given by the gods, nor are they natural entities we can merely content with. Their nature is partly subject to political will. Thus, which markets are shaped and created is a question of politics and of value (Mazzucato 2016). We need to consider which markets would be detrimental and which conducive to society. In other words, we require a normative framework to assess new markets that could be brought about as a result of innovation and economic policy. The proposal of this paper is that we should understand the value of some such new markets as deriving from the relationship these markets have to individuals. In the context of climatic changes, markets should be understood as institutions that enable individuals to fulfil their moral duties, especially relating to climate change. They incentivize, channel and create norms that make it more attractive, easier or even possible for them to engage in this climate-friendly behaviour. In this way, the creation of a new market may be an instance of what Caney (2014) calls second-order responsibility. By considering new markets that did not exist before, we open up the space from markets that are too bad to exist, to those too good not to exist.

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Online

8 Jul 2021

Webinar

The 5th PE-DPS: Behrang Kianzad on Law and Economics in times of Crisis

In this 5th session of the series, Behrang Kianzad (University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Laq) will present some of his work and will invite us for a critical discussion on law and economics in times of crisis. Come join us in this challenge! Title:** "Are We all Kantian? Law and Economics in times of Crisis" ** Abstract” My research concerns the matter of excessive pricing as an anti-competitive practice, where I challenge the "mainstream" and "conventional wisdom" of Chicagoan-Borkian-Posnerian Economic Analysis of Law, which posits "efficiency" and "wealth maximisation" as the sole goal to be pursued by Antitrust Law. I demonstrate that both legal history, legislative intent as well as economic wisdom invariably points to fairness being the central goal to be pursued by Antitrust law, especially in case of essential goods such as pharmaceuticals, during pandemic times but also beyond. Already Adam Smith noted that "justice is what holds the edificie together", and Adam Smith was not a utilitarian, as opposed to Bentham, and thus we need to recapture and return to the soul of Antitrust law, more importantly so in regards to "unfair pricing", as fairness in pricing matters as seen from neuro-economic as well as behavioural economic research, and thus fairness cannot be ignored by deference to "efficiency", as a matter of law and economics.

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Online

23 Sep 2021

Webinar

The 6th PE-DPS: Birsen Filip on neo-liberalism and the decline of freedom

THIS SESSION FEATURES OUR GUEST BIRSEN FILIP who will present her recently authored book The Rise of Neo-liberalism and the Decline of Freedom (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) Date: September 23rd, 2021, at 4pm CETThe session, features a presentation of 20 min delivered by Birsen Filip followed by a Q&A. Excerpt from the book’s Introduction: “This book claims that the neo-liberal concept of freedom is detrimental for civilization, and the future of the earth. This is due in part to the fact that theorists of neo-liberal economics formulated a minimal form of comcept of freedom, because they worshiped freedom for its instrumental value, and primarily used it to promote the global implementation of free-market economics over centrally-planned economies. They have used this conception of freedom to defend the spontaneous order against artifcial order, negative freedom against positive freedom, and a limited state role against a paternalistic state. Advocates of neo-liberalism do not particularly care about the spread of genuine freedom or the conditions needed to achieve it. In actuality, the conception of freedom formulated and defended by neo-liberals represents a regression in the development and practice of freedom, because it only supports freedom for the few, treats freedom as a private matter, and downplays the importance of the state in the achieving the of conditions of freedom.” MAIN QUESTIONS UP FOR DISCUSSION, KINDLY PROPOSED BY THE AUTHOR: What role should the state play in achieving the conditions of freedom? Is it possible to integrate new habits, ways of thinking, and lifestyles into people so that their decisions and actions are guided by ethical considerations instead of economic motives after four decades of being indoctrination by the principles, reasoning and values of neo-liberalism? Many mainstream economists facilitated the spread of neo-liberalism by defending methodological monism, advanced mathematical modelling, the universality of their principles and models, and the notion that economics is a value free science. If we believe in methodological pluralism and historical ethical economics, would it be logical to accept a paradigm shift where global governance represents the new paradigm? Moreover, would global governance destroy what is left of our diverse lifestyles, cultures, values, freedoms, and identities? ABOUT THE AUTHOR Birsen Filip holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and master’s degrees in economics and philosophy. She has published numerous articles and chapters on a range of topics, including political philosophy, geo-politics, and the history of economic thought, with a focus on the Austrian School of Economics and the German Historical School of Economics.

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Online

7 Oct 2021

Webinar

The 7th PE-DPS: Lior Nissim Grinman on risk and wellbeing

This session features our guest Lior Nissim Grinman (Hebrew University of Jerusalem). The standard economic theory of decision-making postulates that people have a natural attitude towards risk with respect to utility. However, several philosophers have recently suggested that there is more than one normatively permissible way to think about attitudes towards risk. Furthermore, such pluralistic approaches to risk seem to be explanatory of several choice patterns that are commonly ruled out as irrational in orthodox decision theory. Even more recently, some of these philosophers have taken a further step by arguing that risk seems to have an inherent value in itself in decision-making. If convincing, this can have important implications for policymaking. Decision theory in its normative form is commonly used in public decision-making as a model to choose the policy that would maximize people’s well-being. Thus, adopting the pluralistic-inherent view of risk raises the question of what does risk expresses in terms of well-being. This presentation will argue that, first, accepting such a view towards risk should make us skeptical of purely subjective notions of well-being; and secondly, that it can be well captured using a perfectionist account of well-being. The key claim of the presentation will be that attitudes towards risk should be thought of as a certain virtue – specifically, prudence and venturesomeness; and that these virtues are well captured within perfectionist account of wellbeing. Key questions for discussion Are all types of attitudes towards risk can be thought of as a virtue? Especially being risk-inclined? Is having a "risk" attitude towards a goal essential for our capacities as humans? I.e. do we consider how prudent or venturesome we want to be in every decision we make? Is a perfectionist account of well-being is well (or even best) suited to capture risk as a virtue or something that contributes to one’s well-being?

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Working groups
  • Philosophy of Economics
Project Organizers
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Merve Burnazoglu

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Juan Melo

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Isaac Stanley

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Diana Soeiro

For questions, the Project Organizers.

YSI Webinar

The 9th PE-DPS Jan H. Höffler on Data Use in Economics

November 25 2021, 15:00

Greetings!

In our last session of the year on November 25th, 4pm CET, we're inviting

Jan H. Höffler on Data Use in Economics: What can we do better

Data science permeates all scientific realms and, slowly but surely, our surrounding environment. How does this impact economics? This presentation aims to tackle data use and transparency by addressing the "replication crisis" phenomenon while actively presenting a step towards a solution: The ReplicationWiki. "Replication crisis" refers to the phenomenon that research results can often not be independently replicated. Though this takes place in several sciences it is rarely revealed. One reason for this is a lack of data and code transparency. There has been some improvement mostly at top journals, however, journals still tend to block corrections, and there are hardly any retractions in the social sciences, even when it is pointed out that there were problems with data collection/data use and transparency. In economics, already the first issue of Econometrica mentioned that empirical work published in that journal should be replicable.

In 1986, most of the articles of an issue of the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, whose editor had archived their data, were found not to be replicable in an article published in the American Economic Review. The Journal of Applied Econometrics already in 1995 introduced an online data archive after a special issue on the topic. Only after a series of scandals, in particular about fake data in psychology, did most leading journals start to run mandatory data archives, and more and more code is shared. But the bulk of empirical work in economics still lacks transparency. Despite that, it keeps getting cited in academia, by practitioners, politicians and, in the media. With the originally INET-funded ReplicationWiki and its accompanying replication working paper series and workshops we have been contributing to change.

CLAIM: Economists should study epistemology and I would say that up until now, we have failed miserably.

QUESTION: What else can young scholars do to change the status quo of economic research of limited reliability?

Short bio:
Jan H. Höffler founded the ReplicationWiki during his PhD with an INET grant. On replication he has taught at universities in Germany, Toronto, Nanjing, Geneva, and Maastricht, presented at international conferences and as invited speaker at various departments, (co-)organized workshops and conference sessions and published articles.

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Time & Date

Start: November 25 2021, 15:00*

Duration: 60 minutes

*Time is displayed in your local time zone (Africa/Abidjan).

Presenters
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Jan H. Höffler

Ferney-Voltaire, France

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Topic: The 9th PE-DPS Jan H. Höffler on Data Use in Economics

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