The Research Center on the History and Methodology of Economics "Claudio Napoleoni" was developed at the
Department of Ec
onomics and Statistics "Cognetti de Martiis" (Università di Torino, Italy) in 2001. Devoted to academic research
in the history and methods of economics, it disseminates research through working papers,
invites researchers to present original works, and sponsors research-related initiatives.


MEMBERS



CESMEP members (Department of Economics and Statistics "Cognetti de Martiis") and associates (other departments and institutions)


WORKING PAPERS


CESMEP Working Papers (REPEC series): recent publications and archive

SEMINARS


CESMEP seminars (abstracts and available papers)


NEWSLETTER


Send a message with "Subscribe" as subject to receive notifications of seminars and other activities





SPOTLIGHT



CESMEP SEMINARS 2017

Thursday March 9, 1 pm

Sylvie RIVOT (Université de Haute-Alsace & BETA-Université de Strasbourg)

Economic Policy as Expectations Management: Keynes’ and Friedman’s Complementary Approaches

Abstract
We investigate how Keynes and Friedman respectively address the issue of the disequilibria at stake in a monetary economy through a shared concern for the formation of expectations. We show that Keynes was interested in the coordination of long-term expectations regarding non-monetary assets prospective yields while Friedman focused on the adaptation of short-term nominal expectations. Regarding the remedies to these disequilibria, both economists called for devices that aim to stabilise market expectations. As a direct outcome, Keynes designed policies that aim to stabilise the long-term state of expectations while Friedman basically aimed at the acceleration of the competitive adjustment process.

SPOTLIGHT



CESMEP SEMINARS 2017
Thursday February 16, 1 pm

Paolo PAESANI (Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata)

Unconventional monetary policy ante litteram: Richard Kahn and the monetary policy debate during the works of the Radcliffe Committee (with Carlo Cristiano)

Abstract
The appointment of a Committee on the Working of the Monetary System in 1957 (Radcliffe Committee) in the UK gave the occasion to debate innovative ideas in the field of monetary policy. Many prominent economists participated in the Committee’s works, which ended with the publication of the Radcliffe Report in 1959. Making an exception to the rule of not mentioning individual contributions, the Radcliffe Report claims to “follow Professor Kahn […] in insisting upon the structure of interest rates rather than some notion of the ‘supply of money’ as the centrepiece of monetary action” (REF). As we reconstruct in the paper, Kahn based his proposals on a conceptual framework, emphasising the link between inflation, wages and aggregate demand and the importance of combining incomes policy and term-structure control in view of achieving external equilibrium, full employment and price stability. One finding of our research is that Kahn’s recommendations regarding term-structure control – with their relevance to the present day – are best understood in connection with his theory of liquidity preference as presented in Kahn (1972b [1954]). We also find that the Radcliffe Committee, while espousing Kahn’s policy recommendations, surrounded them with so many caveats as to render them de facto inoperative. As we suggest in our reconstruction, this depends partly on institutional considerations and partly on differences of opinion between Kahn and the Radcliffe Committee regarding monetary policy transmission and the causes of inflation.

SPOTLIGHT



REVISED CESMEP
WORKING PAPERS


Paolo Silvestri, "Disputed (Disciplinary) Boundaries. Philosophy, Economics and Value Judgments" (CESMEP WP 1/2017)

Abstract.
This paper aims to address the following two questions: a) what is the logic of the kind of discourse that seeks to found, demarcate or defend the autonomy or the boundaries of a discipline; b) why does this discourse, whether methodological, ontological or epistemological, sometimes turn into normative, dogmatic-excommunicating wrangles among disciplines, schools or scholars? I will argue that an adequate answer may be found if we understand: 1) disciplines as institutions and, therefore, as dogmatic systems, where scholars’ discourse often takes the form of a legitimizing discourse regarding the founding Reference of their own discipline; 2) that scholars speak in the name of that very foundation, with which they closely identify; 3) that the issue of the legitimacy of a discipline cannot easily be separated from the issue of identity and, therefore, of a scholar’s legitimacy; 4) that the excommunication may arise not only when the founding Reference is absolutized, but also as a form of self-defense of a scholar’s identity-legitimacy. To understand these claims I will re-examine three paradigmatic positions: the methodological, ontological and epistemological considerations put forward by (and the debates between) Pareto, Croce and Einaudi – with specific reference to the demarcation between philosophy, economics and value-judgments.

Keywords: Philosophy, Economics, Value-judgements, Realism, Nominalism, Economist’s discourse, Dogmatics, Disciplinary boundaries
JEL classes: A12, B31, B41, B59


Mario Cedrini and Magda Fontana, "Mainstreaming. Reflections on the Origins and Fate of Maistream Pluralism" (CESMEP WP 2/2017)

Abstract.
http://www.est.unito.it/do/home.pl/Download?doc=/allegati/wp2017dip/wp_6_2017.pdf
There is considerable discussion on so-called ‘mainstream pluralism’, that is, on the co-presence of a variety of research programmes in today’s mainstream economics that: 1. significantly deviate from the neoclassical core; 2. are pursued by different, often separate communities of researchers; 3. have their origins outside economics. The literature tends to regard mainstream pluralism as a transitory state towards a new, post-neoclassical, mainstream. This paper advances a new interpretation: it suggests that the changing and fragmented state of mainstream economics is likely to persist over time under the impact of specialization (as a self-reinforcing mechanism) and the creation of new specialties and approaches, also through collaboration with researchers from other disciplines.

Keywords: Pluralism; Mainstream economics; Specialization; Burden of knowledge; Economics in relation to other disciplines
JEL classes: B41, A12, B59




SPOTLIGHT



NEW CESMEP
WORKING PAPER


Paolo Silvestri, "Disputed (Disciplinary) Boundaries. Philosophy, Economics and Value Judgments" (CESMEP WP 4/2015)

Abstract.
The paper aims to address the following two questions: what kind of discourse is that which attempt to found or defend the autonomy or the boundaries of a discipline? Why do such discourses tend to turn into normative, dogmatic-excommunicating discourses between disciplines, schools or scholars? I will argue that an adequate answer may be found if we conceive disciplines as dogmatics, where such discourses often take the form of a discourse on the foundation of a discipline, a foundation in the name of which the scholar speaks and with which he/she entertains an identity relationship. To this purpose I will re-examine the methodological discourses of (and debates between) Pareto, Croce and Einaudi on the demarcation issue between philosophy, economics and value-judgments as highly instructive to understand such issues.

Keywords: Philosophy, Economics, Value-judgements, Realism, Nominalism, Economist’s discourse, Dogmatics, Disciplinary boundaries
JEL classes: A12, B31, B41, B59



SPOTLIGHT



NEW CESMEP
WORKING PAPER


Paolo Silvestri, "Anthropology of Freedom and Tax Justice: Between Exchange and Gift. Thoughts for an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda" (CESMEP WP 3/2015)

Abstract.
With this paper I try to sketch a research agenda on the basis of which humanities and social sciences might interact with each other, searching for a human common ground in tax issues. To this purpose I shall proceed as follows: (§2) I will sketch two working hypotheses showing how and why tax system raises anthropological issues at the intersection of Philosophy of law, Politics and Economics; to restrict the field of enquiry, I will then analyse, firstly (§2.1), the most common theories of taxation – benefit-cost principle and ability-to-pay principle – usually meant as attempts to answer the demand for tax justice; and, secondly (§2.2), the issue of freedom in taxation as a problem of legal-political and economic obligation. I will then show how the research might gain some insight from both (§3.1) the literature on homo reciprocans, and (§3.2) the literature on gift-giving, which might allow us to better articulate the demands for justice and freedom, as well as to glimpse the human foundations of a new fiscal democracy.

Keywords: Freedom; Justice; Tax; Ability-to-pay principle; Benefit-received principle; Gift; Exchange; Voluntary exchange; Trust; Reciprocity; Fiscal democracy.
 JEL classes: A12; A13; D63; D64; H20; Z13




SPOTLIGHT



NEW CESMEP
WORKING PAPER


Roberto Marchionatti & Lisa Sella, "Is Neo-Walrasian Macroeconomics a Dead End?" (CESMEP WP 2/2015)

Abstract.
After the ‘new Great Crisis’ exploded in 2008 it is widely recognized that mainstream macroeconomics - the last result of Lucas’s anti-Keynesian revolution of the 1980s which tried to give macroeconomics sound neo-Walrasian microeconomic bases - has failed to anticipate and then appraise the crisis. Has this crisis revealed a failure of this macroeconomics as a scientific theory? Mainstream macroeconomists defend their models on the basis of their alleged superiority in terms of clarity and coherence. The thesis of this paper is that this claim about superiority is false. The paper argues that the reasons for the failure of mainstream macroeconomics – in particular its poor predictive performance and interpretative weakness - reside in the implications of the neo-Walrasian legacy and the problems connected with the implementation of that programme.

Keywords: Neo-Walrasian Macroeconomics, Lucas, DSGE models, theory-driven econometrics
JEL classes:
B22, B23, B31, B41, D50, E10



SPOTLIGHT



NEW CESMEP
WORKING PAPER


Mario Cedrini and Magda Fontana, "Mainstreaming. Reflections on the Origins and Fate of Maistream Pluralism" (CESMEP WP 1/2015)

Abstract.
There is considerable discussion on the so-called “mainstream pluralism”, which stems from the growth and coexistence of new research programs in economics that significantly deviate from the neoclassical core. Other disciplines have actively contributed to the birth of such programs, that are carried on by different, often separated communities of researchers. Although “mainstream pluralism” is not the pluralism heterodox economists and students groups have sought for in the recent decades, its persistence over time might provide a possible precondition for the advent of pluralism in economics. While the literature tends to regard mainstream pluralism as a transitory state towards a new, post-neoclassical, mainstream, this paper contributes to the debate by bringing in a different perspective, focusing on economics’ fragmentation and the necessity of specialization. We adopt a “late Kuhnian” framework (derived from Kuhn’s late works on specialization), considering not scientific revolutions but specialization as key engine of progress in science, and interpret mainstream pluralism as the result of economics’ recent growth in size and diversity. To account for the necessity of specialization in economics, we employ Ronald Heiner’s work on the competence-difficulty gap, as well as the evidence offered in some recent studies about the impact of the “burden” of previously accumulated knowledge on innovative behaviour. After a bird’s eye view on the recent history of economics in relation to other disciplines (and an analysis of Herbert Gintis’s “unity of behavioral sciences” proposal as possible new mainstream), we discuss the possibility that today’s “mainstream pluralism” might persist over time.

Keywords: Pluralism; Mainstream economics; Specialization; Burden of knowledge; Economics in relation to other disciplines
JEL classes: B41, A12, B59




SPOTLIGHT



CESMEP SEMINARS 2014
Thursday November 20, 1 pm

Stefano FIORI (Department of Economics and Statistics "Cognetti de Martiis", University of Turin)

Formal and Informal Norms: Their Relationships in Society and in the Economic Sphere

Abstract.
The thesis put forward in this paper is that, in social life in general and in the economic sphere in particular, relations between formal norms and informal social norms can be interpreted in terms of either reciprocal complementarity or conflict. The concept of complementarity illustrates how the two kinds of norm cooperate and reinforce each other, and describes under what circumstances formal norms can or cannot replace informal rules. Conversely, the notion of conflict between kinds of norms distinguishes two forms of antagonism: prohibition (which occurs when one type of norm prohibits enforcement of the other), and mutual exclusiveness (which occurs when one type of norm crowds-out the other, without this entailing prohibition).


SPOTLIGHT



NEW CESMEP
WORKING PAPER


Lino Sau, "Do the International Monetary and Financial Systems Need More than Short-Term Cosmetic Reforms?" (CESMEP WP 3/2014)

Abstract.
The storm that has rocked our world has opened an interesting debate among economists and policy makers concerning with the need of a new international monetary and financial architecture. The monetary and financial regime that has been in force since the collapse of Bretton Woods (B-W), encourages indeed the persistence of unsustainable dynamics which spawn increasingly serious crises and it is unable of imparting an acceptable macro-economic discipline device to the world's economy. It became apparent that the global role of a key currency along with the deregulation of financial markets (neo-liberal paradigm) have acted as underlying conditions for the US financial crisis up to present situation and the following contagion to Europe. In this paper I point out the inadequacy of the institutional arrangements underlying the international monetary and financial regimes and I outline the relevance to the current debate of Keynes original plan, suggested rightly 70 years ago, that never born.

Keywords: International Currency, International Financial Architecture, Global Imbalances, Keynes Plan.
JEL classes: E12, E42, E58, E02, F02, F33




SPOTLIGHT



CESMEP SEMINARS 2014
Thursday September 4, 12 pm


Tamotsu NISHIZAWA (Department of Economics, Teikyo University, Tokyo)

The Economics of Social Reform across Borders: Fukuda's Welfare Economic Studies in International Perspective

Abstract.

The paper examines how, in the course of modernization, Japan learned from Germany and Britain about ideas and institutions concerning social reform, and attempted to implement and develop them at home. It focuses on Fukuda Tokuzo, a pioneering liberal economist and social reformer, who studied under the German historical economist Lujo Brentano, and who was also inspired by the British scholars Alfred Marshall, A.C. Pigou, and J.A. Hobson. By examining how Fukuda's ideas and works were developed and assimilated in Japan, this paper shows how Japanese economist navigated the two key strands of economic thinking that witnessed a process of globalization during this period: neoclassical welfare economics, on the one hand, and an ethical-historical style of economics, on the other. It shows how the latter was stronger in a latecomer country to modernization such as Japan.


SPOTLIGHT



NEW CESMEP
WORKING PAPER


Lino Sau, "Debt Deflation Worries: A Restatement" (CESMEP WP 2/2014)

Abstract.
There here has recently been a marked increase in concern of debt deflation worries particularly in the euro zone. This is the second time in the past recent years that widespread interest about this relevant economic phenomenon has come to the fore, the first being during and in the aftermath of the Asian crisis and Japan great stagnation, and the second being after the current financial turmoil stemmed from the US and propagating later in Europe. After an overview of the relevant insights by the debt-deflation school in this paper I try to update these analysisand findings to understand the causes and consequences of nowadays debt deflation process.

Keywords: financial fragility, banking crisis, sovereign crisis, debt deflation.
JEL classes: E32, E42, E62




SPOTLIGHT



CESMEP SEMINARS 2014
Thursday 8 May, 1 pm


Mario CEDRINI & Roberto MARCHIONATTI (Department of Economics and Statistics "Cognetti de Martiis")

On the Relevance of the Gift to Economics

Abstract.
There is growing awareness of the need for interdisciplinary research on complex issues, but also of the obstacles that historical boundaries between social disciplines pose to such dialogue. It is increasingly recognized that the somewhat constitutive autonomy, the progressive autonomization, and finally the “imperialism” of economics have severely reduced the possibility of interdisciplinary discussion. This paper is to be considered as an introduction to a research programme on the foundations of a non-imperialist economics. It investigates gift exchange as a missed opportunity for economics. It aims at showing that, by refusing to tackle the complexity of the gift, economics has not only lost an opportunity to develop a method suitable for the analysis of complex problems, but has voluntarily chosen not to follow a path which would have prevented it from colonizing other disciplines. Reintroducing the concept of gift into the economic discourse may thus represent a required precondition to produce an innovating discourse on economics.


SPOTLIGHT



CESMEP SEMINARS 2014
Tuesday 6 May, 3 pm


Stefano FENOALTEA (Collegio Carlo Alberto & Department of Economics and Statistics "Cognetti de Martiis")

Reinterpreting Italian Economic History: From Unification to the Great War

Abstract.
In post-Unification Italy the cyclical movements of the economy largely reflected those in the production of durable goods. The engineering industry has been seen as one that transformed metal into machines: its metal consumption suggests that investment in machinery followed the Kuznets-cycle long swing, as construction did, that domestic production ever dominated the domestic market, and that changes in protection didn’t matter. New, disaggregated time-series estimates force a radical revision of these long-held views. Far more metal was turned into (ever-protected) hardware than into machines:  the long cycle in aggregate “engineering” was not so much parallel to, as simply part of, the cycle in construction. Investment in machinery grew altogether more steadily than investment in infrastructure, with more numerous but far more modest cycles (and a heretofore unrecognized peak in 1907).  All the extant interpretations of Italy’s industrial progress in the period at hand turn on the non-existent long swing in industrial investment, and they all collapse together. The domestic production of machinery, initially very small, reacted strongly to increases in net protection:  the conventional view of the impact of the tariff is also to be jettisoned.


SPOTLIGHT



NEW CESMEP
WORKING PAPER


Angela Ambrosino, "Il coordinamento nella mediazione civile e commerciale: l'emergenza di norme hayekiane e il percorso 'protetto' verso l'ordine sociale" (CESMEP WP 1/2014)

Abstract
The mediation procedure, as outlined by D.lg 28/2010 and subsequent amendments, introduced in our legal system a new tool for coordinating the decisions of economic agents. The new civil mediation is proposed, therefore, as an instrument characterized by a different procedure and objectives from those of ordinary judgment. The evaluation of its efficiency requires the introduction of new theoretical tools that allow to evaluate the different aspects of social interaction in mediation. The traditional cost-benefit analysis proposed by the economic analysis of law, or simple considerations on Pareto-efficiency proposed by standard economics seem not sufficient analytical tools in this perspective. This article shares Mitchell’s cognitive approach to the theory of law, and it is aimed at analyzing the new model of mediation introduced into Italian legislation through the lens offered by F.A. Hayek’s theory of law (1973, 1976, 1979), with particular reference to the distinction he made ​​between law and legislation and its consequence on the analysis of the role of the judge in common law as the discoverer of law. Moreover, Hayek’s legal theory will be analyzed jointly to his concept of social order. In the light of the contribution of this author, in fact, the choice of our legislator seems to be close to the idea of developing regulatory structures that simply delineate the action of subjects without imposing specific behaviors or ex ante solutions to given situations.

Keywords: F. von Hayek, civil mediation, cognitive economics, law
JEL classes: B15, B21, B31, B40, D11





SPOTLIGHT



CESMEP SEMINARS 2014
Thursday 20 March, 1 pm


Robert LEONARD (Department of Economics, Université du Québec à Montréal)

Economics Meets Buddhism: E. F. Schumacher and the Genesis of Small is Beautiful

Abstract.
Although he began as a conventional economist – Rhodes Scholar, economic advisor in wartime Britain and postwar Germany, economics chief at the National Coal Board – E. F. “Fritz” Schumacher went on, at the age of 62, to become one the leading intellectual lights of the counterculture of the 1970’s. With the publication of his 1973 book, Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered, he became a source of inspiration to those concerned with environmental preservation, social justice, economic development, “green politics”, and the promotion of spiritual wellbeing in modern society.  By the time of his unexpected death in 1977, the son of a German mandarin had become nothing less than a charismatic guru, much sought-after on American campuses and in progressive circles. The most cited chapter in Small is Beautiful is “Buddhist Economics”, the roots of which lay in a 3-month sojourn Schumacher spent in Rangoon in 1955, as advisor to the Burmese government. Coming during a period of intense personal reflection and spiritual quest, Schumacher’s contact with a Buddhist society fuelled his criticisms of not only Western economic, social and technological development, but also the economics discipline he saw as promoter of same.  This “spiritual”, or “mystical”, dimension, once manifest in his work, would never leave it – informing not only his 1973 bestseller but also his posthumously published, and little-cited, A Guide for the Perplexed (1977) – the work of Christian apologetics Schumacher regarded as his crowning achievement.
Drawing on research in Schumacher’s archives in Massachusetts and London, this paper provides an introduction to this man’s life and work, with special attention to his engagement with Buddhist thinking. It marks the beginning of a larger investigation of a man who went from being a dull economist to becoming one of the more original and influential thinkers of the late 20th century.


SPOTLIGHT



CESMEP SEMINARS 2014
Wednesday 26 March, 3 pm


Carlo ZAPPIA (Dipartimento di Economia Politica e Statistica, Università di Siena)

De Finetti on Uncertainty and Imprecise Probabilities

Abstract.
The well-known Knightian distinction between quantifiable risk and unquantifiable uncertainty is at odds with the dominant subjectivist conception of probability associated with de Finetti, Ramsey and Savage. Risk and uncertainty are rendered indistinguishable on the subjectivist approach insofar as an individual’s subjective estimate of the probability of any event can be elicited from the odds at which she would be prepared to bet for or against that event. The risk/uncertainty distinction has however never quite gone away and is currently under renewed theoretical scrutiny. The purpose of this article is to show that de Finetti’s understanding of the distinction is more nuanced than is usually admitted. Relying on usually overlooked excerpts of de Finetti’s works commenting on Keynes, Knight and interval valued probabilities, we argue that de Finetti suggested a relevant theoretical case for uncertainty to hold even when individuals are endowed with subjective probabilities. Indeed, de Finetti admitted that the distinction between risk and uncertainty is relevant when different individuals sensibly disagree about the probability of the occurrence of an event. We conclude that the received interpretation of de Finetti’s understanding of subjective probability needs to be qualified on this front.


SPOTLIGHT



L'ECONOMIA DI LUIGI EINAUDI:
LA LEZIONE DI UN MAESTRO



Il video, in versione integrale, della lecture di Roberto Marchionatti sull'economia di Luigi Einaudi, tenuta il 15 novembre 2013 presso il Collegio Carlo Alberto.

SPOTLIGHT



IL DECLINO ECONOMICO ITALIANO E LA LOTTA ALLA RENDITA:
LA LEZIONE DI CLAUDIO NAPOLEONI



Il convegno è ora disponibile in formato video, in versione integrale, sul sito dell'Università di Torino (cliccare sull'immagine per riprodurre il contenuto).




SPOTLIGHT



IL DECLINO ECONOMICO ITALIANO E LA LOTTA ALLA RENDITA:
LA LEZIONE DI CLAUDIO NAPOLEONI



Venerdì 31 gennaio 2014, ore 10,30 -18,00, Aula magna Campus Luigi Einaudi (Lungo Dora Siena, 100 - Torino).



Programma del convegno (cliccare sull'immagine per scaricare il pdf):

SPOTLIGHT



NEW CESMEP
WORKING PAPERS



Mario Cedrini & Roberto Marchionatti, "On the Theoretical and Practical Relevance of the Concept of Gift to the Development of a Non-Imperialistic Economics" (CESMEP WP 3/2013)

Anna Carabelli & Mario Cedrini, "A Methodological Reading of 'The Economic Consequences of the Peace'" (CESMEP WP 4/2013)

Anna Carabelli & Mario Cedrini, "Globalization and Keynes's Ideal of "A Sounder Political Economy Between All Nations" (CESMEP WP 5/2013)

Ivan Moscati, "Austrian Debates on Utility Measurement from Menger to Hayek" (CESMEP WP 6/2013)
 



SPOTLIGHT



International Conference
"A Great Depression, Again?
Rethinking World Relationships
"


(click to enlarge)


Flyer Download (pdf)


SPOTLIGHT




III Scuola di alta formazione in
Antropologia della libertà
“Luigi Einaudi”



(click to enlarge)


SPOTLIGHT



CESM
EP SEMINAR SERIES - SPRING 2013

(Seminar room of the Department of Economics and Statistics "Cognetti de Martiis", 3 D1 36)

Friday 5 April, h. 12-14: Luigino Bruni, L'anacronismo di Achille Loria. Rendita, capitalismo, cooperazione

Thursday 11 April, h. 14-16: Luca Fantacci, Keynes’s Commodity and Currency Plans for the Postwar World

Wednesday 24 April, h. 13-15: Anna Carabelli and Mario Cedrini, Keynes's "General Theory", "Treatise on Money" and "Tract on Monetary Reform": Different Theories, Same Methodological Approach

Wednesday 8 May, h. 14-16: Lino Sau, Do the International Monetary and Financial Systems Need More than Cosmetics Reforms?

Wednesday 22 May, h. 14-16: Paolo Silvestri, Pareto Vs Croce = nominalismo Vs realismo = Scienza economica Vs Filosofia? Il sentiero interrotto delle finzioni

Wednesday 31 May, h. 12-14: Claudia Rotondi, Lo sviluppo come chiave per il progresso civile: suggestioni da Cattaneo