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3 posts from August 2013


Association for Social Economics program at the 2014 ASSA meetings

Association for Social Economics
Allied Social Science Assocations (ASSA) Meetings
January 2-5, 2014, Philadelphia, PA

All ASE sessions will be held in the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.


Opening Plenary Session and Reception

Thursday, January 2, 6:30-9:00 PM, Regency Ballroom A&B, Loews Philadelphia

 Martha Nussbaum

Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, Law School and the Philosophy Department, University of Chicago

“Capabilities and Social Justice: Why Economics Needs Philosophy”


Friday, January 3, 8:00 AM

Social Entrepreneurship: Maximizing Impact and Innovation

Organizer and chair: Tonia Warnecke (Rollins College) 

“Social Enterprises as Networks of Innovators in the Social Economy,” Zohreh Emami (Alverno College)

“Social Enterprises and the Analysis of Space to Alleviate Financial Constraints,” Benjamin Wilson (University of Missouri-Kansas City)

“Workers' Cooperatives: New Strategies for Finance,” Daniel Fireside (Equal Exchange) and Christopher Gunn (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)

“Social Entrepreneurship, Alternative Currencies, and Post-Transactional Civil Society: The Case of the Sunshine Bank,” Matthias Klaes (University of Dundee)

“Social Entrepreneurship for Students: The Rollins Microfinance Fund,” Tonia Warnecke (Rollins College)


Friday, January 3, 10:15 AM

Gender, Law, and Social Economics

Chair: Ellen Mutari (The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey)

“The Legality of Involuntary Motherhood: A Social Economics Approach to Contraception and Power,” Janet Spitz (The College of Saint Rose)

“Married Women's Property Rights and Social Economics: A Historical Perspective,” Daniel MacDonald (California State University, San Bernardino)

“Gendered Poverty in Subsistence Households in Mozambique,” Diksha Arora (University of Utah)

“Female Genital Cutting, Social Norms, and Islamic Law,” Quentin Wodon (The World Bank)


Friday, January 3, 2:30 PM

Overcoming Causes of Income Inequality and Fostering Economic and Social Stability

(Co-sponsored by the Association for Evolutionary Economics and the American Economic Association)

Organizer: Lynne Chester (University of Sydney)

Chair: Nancy Folbre (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

“Death by a Thousand Cuts: Financial Innovation and Income Inequality,” William Redmond (Indiana State University)

“Rising Income Inequality and Family Functioning: Macroeconomic Effects of Changes in Family Structure and Relationship to Employment,” Heather Boushey (Center for American Progress)

“The Impact of Paid Parental Leave on Income Inequality in the United States,” Steve Pressman (Monmouth University) and Robert Scott (Monmouth University)

“Finding a Positive Vision for State Capitalism,” Anna Klimina (University of Saskatchewan)

Discussants: Deborah Figart (Richard Stockton College) and David Zalewski (Providence College)


Saturday, January 4, 10:15 AM

The Ethics and Economics of Corporation Governance, Finance, and the Great Recession

Chair: Wilfred Dolfsma (University of Groningen School of Economics and Business)

“The U.S. Treasury's Rhetoric of the AIG Bailout: A Misguided Justification,” Rojhat Avsar (Columbia College Chicago)

“The ‘Paradigm Blindness’ of Economics: Ethical Challenges to Economic Thought from the Financial Crisis,” Robert McMaster (University of Glasgow) and Denis Fischbacher-Smith (University of Glasgow)

“Are Near-Retirees Getting Hit from All Sides? Understanding the Link Between Job Insecurity and Older Households' Wealth Risk Exposure,” Sara Bernardo (University of Massachusetts Boston) and Christian E. Weller (University of Massachusetts Boston)

“The Perpetuation of Class Divides from the Bottom Up: Trust, Groupthink and the Emerging Evidence from Corporate Boards,” René Reich-Graefe (Western New England University School of Law)


Saturday, January 4, 2:30 PM

Law and Social Economics: Foundations

Chair: Mark D. White (College of Staten Island/CUNY)

“Should Individual Maximizers Seek to Maximize Social Utility as Well?” Claire Finkelstein (University of Pennsylvania Law School)

“A Relational View of Law and Economics,” Daniel Finn (St John's University)

“The Role of Economic Rights and the Law in Social Economics: A Natural Law Perspective,” Stefano Solari (Università di Padova)

“Bringing Justice under the Law to All Persons in Economics,” Kevin McCarron (Bureau of Labor Statistics) and Robert E. Prasch (Middlebury College)


Sunday, January 5, 8:00 AM

The Environment, Law, and Social Economics

Chair: Jonathan B. Wight (University of Richmond)

“Do Constitutions Matter? The Effects of Constitutional Environmental Human Rights Provisions on Environmental Outcomes,” Christopher Jeffords (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) and Lanse Minkler (University of Connecticut)

“Environmental Ethics, Economics, and Property Law,” Steven McMullen (Calvin College) and Daniel Molling (Kansans City Federal Reserve Bank)

“How Social Norms Can Guide the Law Pertaining to Accounting in Order to Accomplish Climate Change Remediation,” F. Gregory Hayden (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

“Marketing Sustainability: Firm Values and Product Differentiation,” Jill J. McCluskey (Washington State University)


Sunday, January 5, 10:15 AM

Law and Social Economics: Applications

Chair: Andrew Yuengert (Pepperdine University)

“The Impact of Laws on the Egyptian Economic Performance, 1960-2010,” Eman Selim (Tanta University)

“Divergent Outcomes of Land Rights Claims of Indigenous Peoples in the United States,” Wayne Edwards (Middlebury College)

“The Language of Social Constraints,” David George (La Salle University)

“Institutionalist Method and Forensic Proof,” Robert M. LaJeunesse (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)



Review of Social Economy, 71/2 (June 2013): Oaths and Codes in Economics and Business

RSEFollowing are the contents (with abstracts) of Review of Social Economy (71/2, June 2013), a special issue on "Oaths and Codes in Economics and Business."


Oaths and Codes in Economics and Business—Introducing the Special Issue, Boudewijn de Bruin & Wilfred Dolfsma

Swearing to Be Virtuous: The Prospects of a Banker's Oath, John R. Boatright

In an effort to restore trust in the banking sector, the Advisory Committee on the Future of Banks in the Netherlands made a recommendation, which has since been adopted, that bank executives be required to swear an oath akin to the physician's Hippocratic Oath. This examination of the prospects of the Dutch banker's oath addresses two broad issues. One issue is the efficacy of oaths themselves as instruments for achieving the desired end. A second issue concerns the extent to which this particular oath is a useful guide to ethical banking practice. One conclusion of this study is that it would be difficult for any oath in banking to serve a role that is analogous to the Hippocratic Oath in medicine because of the many dissimilarities involved, most notably the lack in banking of a singular focus on service. Second, the Dutch oath, while admirable in its lofty exhortations, fails to provide a reliable guide through the many difficult judgments that must be made in banking.

Epistemic Aspects of Economic Practice and the Need for Professional Economic Ethics, George DeMartino

This paper explores ethical burdens facing the economics profession which are associated with epistemic features of economic practice. Economists exert power over those they purport to serve by virtue of epistemic asymmetry between themselves and others, i.e., the intellectual monopoly they enjoy over a vitally important body of knowledge. But they also face the problem of epistemic insufficiency, which implies that they may do substantial harm as they try to do good. The paper explores the ethical entailments of the epistemic features of economics, and argues that managing the ethical challenges requires a new field of inquiry, the field of professional economic ethics, and not just a code of conduct.

The Power of Speech Acts: Reflections on a Performative Concept of Ethical Oaths in Economics and Business, Vincent Blok

Ethical oaths for bankers, economists and managers are increasingly seen as successful instruments to ensure more responsible behaviour. In this article, we reflect on the nature of ethical oaths. Based on John Austin's speech act theory and the work of Emmanuel Levinas, we introduce a performative concept of ethical oaths that is characterised by (1) the existential self-performative of the one I want to be, which is (2) demanded by the public context. Because ethical oaths are (3) structurally threatened by the possibility of infelicity or failure, we stress (4) the behavioural aspect of ethical oaths in economics and business. We conclude that a performative concept of ethical oaths can contribute to more ethical behaviour in economics and business, because the performative involves action and behaviour. At the same time, it becomes clear that a radical new perspective on the nature, function and limitation of oaths is needed.

Principles as “Rules Of Thumb”: A Particularist Approach to Codes of Ethics and an Analysis of the Dutch Banking Code, Bastiaan van der Linden

The rise of ethical codes suggests that such codes may enhance ethical behavior. However, research on ethical codes is far from univocally positive about this. Recently, in practical philosophy, particularists have argued against the idea that principles are important for ethics because principles express reasons for or against an action, whereas what is a reason for a certain action in one situation can be a reason against, or no reason at all, in another one. Nevertheless, according to particularists, the case for principles—and thus ethical codes—is not hopeless. Even if principles cannot capture the full complexity of reasons for action, they can help as “rules of thumb” to remember possibly important reasons. This paper develops a particularist approach to codes of ethics, and presents some conclusions about the conditions under which codes of ethics may enhance ethical behavior. An analysis of the Dutch banking code shows the usefulness of a particularist approach.

The Ethics of Swearing: The Implications of Moral Theories for Oath-Breaking in Economic Contexts, Thaddeus Metz

Many readers will share the judgement that, having made an oath, there is something morally worse about consequently performing the immoral action, such as embezzling, that one swore not to do. Why would it be worse? To answer this question, I consider three moral-theoretic accounts of why it is ‘extra’ wrong to violate oaths not to perform wrong actions, with special attention paid to those made in economic contexts. Specifically, I address what the moral theories of utilitarianism, Kantianism and a new communitarian-relational principle entail for the wrongness of oath-breaking. I argue that the former two do not adequately capture why it is extra wrong to perform an immoral action that one swore not to do, but that the latter appeal to a morality of communal relationship offers a promising account.

Will the Phoenix Fly Again? Reflections on the Efficacy of Oaths as a Means to Secure Honesty, Mark R. Rutgers

What kind of phenomenon is a banker's oath? The oath is a warranty added to a promise, and has a complex nature and history that is discussed. Recent research on promising is presented that indicates that there may be a desired effect on both oath taker and on the audience, even if an oath is performed reluctantly or insincerely. Based on a comparison with the oath of office, it is argued that a banker's oath is not just a professional oath sworn to peers, but rather a political oath whereby one swears to the nation. Furthermore, the oath's long history indicates possible strengths and problems with the introduction of a banker's oath. It is concluded that the moral nature of an oath has to be taken into consideration, and that it is not just a tool to try and create trust.

Book Review

The Economist's Oath: On the Need for and Content of Professional Economic Ethics, by George F. DeMartino (reviewed by Rodica Ianole)

Review of Social Economy, 71/1 (March 2013)

RSEFollowing are the contents (with abstracts) of Review of Social Economy (71/1, March 2013).


The State and Religion, Dennis C. Mueller

The proposition that the State should be separated from the Church is well accepted by students of democracy in the West. Huntington ((1996) The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, New York: Simon & Schuster) went so far as to claim that the separation of Church and State was a salient feature of Western Civilization, which explains why Western countries tend to be democracies, while democracy in other cultures is rare. Huntington's claim obviously presumes that the State is separated from the Church in Western democracies. A closer look at the relationships between State and Church in these countries, however, reveals considerable financial and institutional linkages between the two institutions. Democratic states in the West subsidize religious organizations and religious schools, allow or even sometimes compel religious instruction in public, supposedly secular schools, and enact laws, which advance religious agendas. This article documents and discusses these state–church relationships. It goes on to recommend the implementation of a complete separation of Church and State.

Islam and Markets, Ayman Reda

The field of Islamic Economics has traditionally focused on two main areas of inquiry, banking and the public sector. The objective of this paper is an attempt to fill an important gap in the Islamic Economics literature that has been surprisingly overlooked by most scholars in the field. This gap concerns the nature and role of markets in an Islamic economic system. The primary concern is to investigate the nature and structure of an Islamic formulation of markets. The paper engages in a detailed analysis of Islamic scripture, the Qur'an and Hadith, pertaining to the issues of contracts, exchange, markets, prices, regulation, usury, and competition. The paper identifies an active and comprehensive treatment of markets in Islamic scripture that questions many of the misconceptions surrounding the relationship between Islam and markets.

Local Area Inequality and Worker Well-Being, Michael D. Carr

This paper uses General Social Survey data linked to Census data to investigate the effect of local area income and income inequality on worker well-being. Others have found a robust negative correlation between reference group income and self-reported well-being. However, in many cases the reference group is defined as a large geographic area. This paper adds to the literature in two ways. First, it considers multiple nested geographic reference groups with US data. Second, it explicitly considers income inequality in addition to the level of income. It is found that both income and income inequality are positively associated with well-being at the census tract level, but negatively associated at the county level. Further, the effect of inequality on well-being decreases as income increases at the census tract and county level, while it increases at the state level.

On the Natural and Economic Difficulties to Fulfilling the Human Right to Water Within a Neoclassical Economics Framework, Christopher Jeffords & Farhed Shah

We present a neoclassical economic model of the human right to water using a nonrenewable resource model inclusive of a backstop technology. The right is interpreted as a minimum consumption requirement the government is obligated to fulfill in the event that any one household cannot do so independently. Differing by income levels, households maximize utility by purchasing a composite consumption good and water from two distinct, government-owned sources. Facing physical and financial constraints, the government uses fiscal policy to address potential human rights violations. Reducing the analysis to two periods, we develop a novel approach to compare total welfare levels from a joint human rights and neoclassical economics perspective. We define a human rights welfare standard and discuss cases in which traditional social welfare measures would exceed, violate, or meet this standard. We thus offer a unique way to merge economic analysis with human rights research.

The Increasing Role of Practical Reason in the Human Development Reports, Ricardo F. Crespo

This paper will argue for the need to reinsert practical reason into economics. It will first define, classify, and characterize practical reason. Second, it will show how it applies to Economics (Section 3). Then, it will note the presence of this use of reason in the construction of the United Nations Development Program's (UNDP) Human Development Index (Section 4). Finally, the paper will maintain that the UNDP is increasingly making use of this form of reason (Section 5).

Book Reviews

Poverty and Social Welfare in Japan, edited by Masami Iwata and Akihiko Nishizawa (reviewed by Mita Marra)

Trading Stories: Experiences with Gender and Trade, edited by Marilyn Carr & Mariama Williams (reviewed by Tonia Warnecke)

Market Complicity and Christian Ethics, by Albino Barrera (reviewed by Stephen P. Barrows)

The Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as if the Future Matters, by Diane Coyle (reviewed by Ayman Reda)

The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion vs. Environmental Religion in Contemporary America, by Robert H. Nelson (reviewed by Christine D. Miller Hesed)

The Price of Truth: Gift, Money, and Philosophy, by Marcel Hénaff (reviewed by Zdravka Todorova)

Inequality, Development, and Growth, edited by Gunseli Berik, Yana van der Meulen Rodgers, & Stephanie Seguino (reviewed by Bret Anderson)