02/02/2016

Job opening: Chief economist or senior economist, New Economic Foundation

Here's a job opening that may be of interested to social economists (and other heterodox economists):

Chief Economist or Senior Economist

Salary: Depending on experience
Contract: Full-time

The New Economics Foundation (NEF) is the UK’s leading independent think tank promoting social, economic and environmental justice. NEF understands the interlinked and systemic nature of the biggest issues we face today: from escalating economic inequality to runaway climate change.  It is an organisation highly regarded for its ground breaking research and for the way it works in partnership with organisations and communities to put its ideas into action. Through the excellence of its research, NEF continues its mission to build a new economy – one which truly serves the interests of people and the planet.

We currently have a vacancy for a Chief Economist or Senior Economist (depending on experience and expertise) with important responsibilities for helping to strengthen NEF’s public profile and policy impact.

The post holder will work to highlight the critical importance of new and progressive economic thinking across all aspects of NEF’s work, including in our research projects and policy advocacy; external engagement with media, decision-makers and opinion formers; training; movement building; and campaigning.

The successful candidate will work with colleagues to provide strategic vision, innovation and leadership on economic policy and research at NEF, working to enhance and develop NEF’s external profile, its influence and impact. S/he will combine academic credentials with demonstrable experience of first-rate research and analysis in the field of economics (both heterodox and orthodox), creativity and flair, and experience of effective external engagement with the media and policy makers.

Although this role is being advertised as full-time and based in our London offices, we welcome the opportunity to discuss a flexible working pattern, and would encourage you to explore the flexible working options we are able to offer during the interview process. We are keen to consider candidates with excellence and promise as well as those with seniority and an outstanding track record.

Deadline for applications: 9am, Monday 29th February 2016

Interviews: First round, Monday 7th March 2016; Second round, Monday 14th March 2016

Click to download the job description

Click to download the application form

Click to download the equal opportunities form

02/01/2016

Call for Papers: IIPPE conference session on "Social Capital in Context: Crisis, Values and Power"

IIPPE’s Seventh International Conference in Political Economy
“Political Economy: International Trends and National Differences”
School of Economics & Management, University of Lisbon, Portugal
September 7-9, 2016
 
Call for Papers – Panel organised by Social Capital Working Group
 
Social Capital in Context: Crisis, Values and Power
 
Asimina Christoforou, Athens University of Economics and Business
Luca Andriani, Birkbeck, University of London
 
Economic models of social capital incorporate cooperative behaviour and trusting relations based on social norms and networks, challenging traditional assumptions of self-interest. Yet these models maintain instrumental, value-free, and individualist principles of rational choice, reducing cooperation, trust and solidarity to a means for satisfying individual preference and ensuring market efficiency. Thus they overlook the influence of the broader social and institutional context within which individuals and groups interact and which is characterized by diverse and conflictual interests, power and inequality, social and political struggles.
 
In this way, we fail to see that not all norms and networks are socially beneficial. For instance the current crises have fostered increasing poverty and inequality, the rise of extremist groups, the flux of immigrants and refugees, and the spread of uncertainty, fear and violence. There are groups in the private and public spheres that still promote policies that lead to market liberalization, welfare state retrenchment, the indebtedness of households and nations, the over-exploitation of the earth’s natural resources, and the degradation of certain ethnic and racial groups. At the same time, there are groups that resist these forces, raise social awareness and propose alternative values and networks for the restructuring of markets and states in order to protect the natural environment, human rights, justice and public welfare. These groups range from social movements spanning across countries to local organizations, especially in the social economy, mobilizing to respond to their community’s needs for subsistence and self-determination.
 
Thus we would like to invite contributions that re-contextualize conceptions and measures of social capital to incorporate the complex reality of social relations, as a dynamic space where people interact, define and pursue, individually and collectively, principles and objectives, means and ends for well-being. The aim is to uncover the dynamics of trust, cooperation and collective action to promote alternative principles and visions about the economy and society that favour public welfare. But we also encourage contributions that generally address the topic of social capital. We welcome works that derive from various social science disciplines and use different units of analysis (individual, regional, country or cross-country level), methodologies and techniques (theoretical, empirical, qualitative and quantitative).

Abstracts (500 words maximum) should be submitted by April 1, 2016. To submit your abstract, please go to the Electronic Proposal Form and carefully follow the instructions there. (All deadlines are listed at the link.)
 
For more general information about IIPPE, the working groups and the conference, please visit our websiteFor details on the panel, you can contact Asimina Christoforou (asimina.christoforou@gmail.com).

01/29/2016

Grabel, "Post-Crisis Experiments in Development Finance Architectures: A Hirschmanian Perspective on ‘Productive Incoherence’"

ROSEThe Asian and especially the global crisis of 2008 have catalyzed decentralization of the developing world’s financial governance architecture. I understand this state of affairs via the concept of “productive incoherence” which is apparent in a denser, multilayered development financial architecture that is emerging as a consequence of heterogeneous practical adjustments to changing circumstances rather than as the embodiment of a coherent doctrine. Drawing on Albert Hirschman, I argue that the absence of an encompassing theoretical blueprint for a new economic system—i.e. a new “ism” to replace neoliberalism—is in fact a vitally important virtue. If we cannot live without a new “ism,” I propose “Hirschmanian Possibilism” as a new doctrine—one that rejects an overarching theoretical framework from which to deduce the singly appropriate institutional structure of the economy. Hirschmanian Possibilism asserts instead the value of productive incoherence as a framework for pursuing democratic, ethically viable development institutions.

Ilene Grabel, "Post-Crisis Experiments in Development Finance Architectures: A Hirschmanian Perspective on ‘Productive Incoherence’", Review of Social Economy, 73/4 (2015), pp. 388-414.  

(This article is part of the special issue of Review of Social Economy on "Ethics, Global Finance, and the Great Recession," on which more here.)

01/28/2016

Arestis, Charles, and Fontana, "Power, Intergroup Conflicts and Social Stratification in the United States: What Has the Global Crisis Taught us?"

ROSEDrawing on early sociological analyses of how power and intergroup conflicts can affect the development of modern economies, this paper investigates how the recent Global Crisis (GC) has affected the stratification of the US society. The paper argues that the consumerist society has reinforced the historical stratification of social identities with white men in high-paid, high-social status managerial and financial occupations at the top, and black women in low-paid, low-status service occupations at the bottom. This paper calls for a deconstruction of the neoliberal individual into a unique combination of identities in a stratified capitalist society in order to reveal how social stratification has evolved during the GC. The paper finally concludes on the importance of heterogeneous identities in reflecting the diversity of societal and economic interests in order to address the issues of financial stability and sustainability at the corporate and societal levels.

Philip Arestis, Aurelie Charles, and Giuseppe Fontana, "Power, Intergroup Conflicts and Social Stratification in the United States: What Has the Global Crisis Taught Us?", Review of Social Economy, 73/4 (2015), pp. 370-387.  

FREE ACCESS as of 1-25-16

(This article is part of the special issue of Review of Social Economy on "Ethics, Global Finance, and the Great Recession," on which more here.)

01/27/2016

Bansak and Starr, "Distributional Costs of Housing-Price Bubbles: Who Pays the Price when Bubbles Deflate?"

ROSEIn considering whether asset-price bubbles should be offset through policy, an important issue is who pays the price when the bubble bursts. A bust that reduces the wealth of well-off households only may have small welfare costs, but costs may be sizable if broad swaths of households are affected. This paper uses micro data on millions of households from the US American Community Survey to examine how the bursting of the 1998–2006 housing bubble affected households’ employment, homeownership, home values, and housing costs. To separate dynamics of the housing bust from those of the aggregate downturn, we differentiate between metropolitan areas that did and did not experience bubbles. We find that, for most measures, deteriorations in well-being were more severe in bubble metros than elsewhere, and for several measures, differential effects on less-educated households were also more severe. This underscores the importance of leaning against broad-based housing bubbles via appropriate policies, as burdens of adjustment fall differentially on people not well prepared to bear them.

Cynthia Bansak and Martha A. Starr, "Distributional Costs of Housing-Price Bubbles: Who Pays the Price when Bubbles Deflate?", Review of Social Economy, 73/4 (2015), pp. 341-369.

(This article is part of the special issue of Review of Social Economy on "Ethics, Global Finance, and the Great Recession," on which more here.)

01/26/2016

DeMartino, "Harming Irreparably: On Neoliberalism, Kaldor-Hicks, and the Paretian Guarantee"

ROSEThe global neoliberal project, which entailed inter alia financial liberalization that accelerated financialization of the world economy, was advocated by leading Austrian, Chicago School neoclassical, and New Keynesian economists, despite awareness that the project would harm many members of society even as it benefitted others. To the extent that they were efficacious in their advocacy, economists contributed to the imposition of serious harm. Often the harm befell the most vulnerable members of society. At least some of the harm was avoidable. This paper examines critically the Kaldor-Hicks compensation test, a primary criterion used in defense of the neoliberal project. The paper finds that the best existing defense of Kaldor-Hicks is Paretian rather than Benthamian in nature: it focuses on the long-run rather than on each individual policy innovation, and claims that all agents benefit by a series of Kaldor-Hicks consistent innovations even if some are harmed in each individual instance. The paper finds that the Paretian case is deficient on grounds other than those commonly invoked against Kaldor-Hicks. The critique focuses on the neoclassical consequentialist welfarism that grounds the Paretian case, and the related presumption that all harms are reparable and, indeed, compensable.

George F. DeMartino, "Harming Irreparably: On Neoliberalism, Kaldor-Hicks, and the Paretian Guarantee," Review of Social Economy, 73/4 (2015), pp. 315-340.

(This article is part of the special issue of Review of Social Economy on "Ethics, Global Finance, and the Great Recession," on which more here.)

01/25/2016

Special issue of Review of Social Economy on "Ethics, Global Finance, and the Great Recession"

ROSEThe December 2015 issue of Review of Social Economy is a special issue on the theme "Ethics, Global Finance, and the Great Recession," edited by Philip Arestis, Aurelie Charles, and Giuseppe Fontana. (All three co-editors are actively involved with the ASE: Fontana is the current president, Charles is an international director, and Arestis is a trustee.)

From the editors' introduction:

The global events of 2007–2008 have brought financialisation, namely the increasing role of financial motives in the operation of modern economies and societies, to the attention of millions of people, who are now questioning the neoclassical foundations of economic theory and practice. However, many fundamental questions are still unanswered. Will the actors, institutions, and policies of financial markets that led to the financial crisis and the related Global Crisis be tamed once and for all with new regulations? Would this require a paradigm change in the economics discipline and policy-making away from neoclassical models and assumptions? Furthermore, what is the proper function of financial institutions in the achievement of a fair society? What role should ethics play in shaping the behaviour of these institutions? Could the financial sector be restructured to enhance social and economic goals such that if a financial crisis occurs, as in 2007, its negative effects will not fall disproportionally on the most vulnerable parts of the society? These are complex and challenging questions. The papers in this special issue are an attempt to start answering these fundamental questions, and provide hints for policy-making to address future crises and their impact on the society at large.

The articles in this special issue are:

George F. DeMartino, "Harming Irreparably: On Neoliberalism, Kaldor-Hicks, and the Paretian Guarantee"

Cynthia Bansak & Martha A. Starr, "Distributional Costs of Housing-Price Bubbles: Who Pays the Price when Bubbles Deflate?"

Philip Arestis, Aurelie Charles & Giuseppe Fontana, "Power, Intergroup Conflicts and Social Stratification in the United States: What Has the Global Crisis Taught Us?"   FREE ACCESS (as of 1-25-16)

Ilene Grabel, "Post-Crisis Experiments in Development Finance Architectures: A Hirschmanian Perspective on ‘Productive Incoherence’"

01/22/2016

Jones and Kalmi, "Membership and Performance in Finnish Financial Cooperatives: A New View of Cooperatives?"

ROSEMany economists adopt a critical stance on cooperatives. One example is the claim that larger membership in cooperative banks is detrimental to performance. We re-examine this earlier finding by drawing from a richer and broader conceptual framework than used previously and conclude that in recent years, the relationship between membership and performance may be positive. In our empirical analysis, we use new data for Finnish cooperative banks and, compared to earlier work, develop an alternative measure for membership and employ improved estimation methods. A positive relationship between membership and performance in financial cooperatives is consistently found. We discuss our findings in light of an emerging body of theoretical and empirical work on cooperatives, especially for financial cooperatives, and argue that a new view of cooperatives is warranted.

Derek Jones & Panu Kalmi, "Membership and Performance in Finnish Financial Cooperatives: A New View of Cooperatives?", Review of Social Economy, 73/3 (2015), pp. 283-309.

01/21/2016

Potts and Hartley, "How the Social Economy Produces Innovation"

ROSESocial economics has long been concerned with the effects on human societies of market-coordinated processes of economic innovation. But the social economy also causes invention and innovation, an aspect that has received less attention. This article reviews three new approaches to the study of the growth of knowledge in economic systems as driven expressly by sociocultural mechanisms and dynamics. The first are so-called “social network markets” and “novelty bundling markets”. The second extends from “knowledge commons” to “innovation commons”. The third is a sociocultural semiotic process of group dynamics. These models represent different ways the social economy generates newness and produces innovation.

Jason Potts & John Hartley, "How the Social Economy Produces Innovation," Review of Social Economy, 73/3 (2015), pp. 263-282.

01/20/2016

Pietrykowski, "Participatory Economic Research: Benefits and Challenges of Incorporating Participatory Research into Social Economics"

ROSEParticipatory action research (PAR) and community-based participatory research (CBPR) involve traditional subjects of research in the co-creation of research design, data collection, and analysis. PAR has been used in the fields of public health, education, and geography. A case study of a local economy CBPR project will be discussed. The increasing use of field and behavioral experiments in economics together with recent critiques of the ethical commitments of economic policy raises important questions about the role of expert knowledge, indigenous knowledge, and the relationships of power and privilege involved in mainstream academic research. The applicability of the PAR method for economics will be investigated in light of the epistemological and ethical commitments of social economics.

Bruce Pietrykowski, "Participatory Economic Research: Benefits and Challenges of Incorporating Participatory Research into Social Economics," Review of Social Economy, 73/3 (2015), pp. 242-262.