« August 2014 | Main | October 2014 »

10 posts from September 2014


Wrenn, "The Social Ontology of Fear and Neoliberalism"

ROSEFear is a primal instinct; it is a survival mechanism the evolution of which allowed the early humans, indeed all species to adapt, evolve, and survive. When humans moved into settled communities with more advanced means of production, the nature of fear—much like the nature of social relationships—changed. Once the means of social reproduction were secured, fear became less necessary as a survival instinct and more useful as a heuristic device. Fear evolved. Fear cannot be characterized solely as a socially constructed phenomenon, nor as the instinctual response to personally felt traumas. The growth and nature of fear must be studied as a process that develops under its own inertia, feeding off its antecedent past, and as a phenomenon that is shaped by and in turn shapes its institutional setting. Fear should be understood as both structurally determined and socially transformative. This research seeks to examine the ontology of fear, specifically as it relates to neoliberalism.

Mary V. Wrenn, "The Social Ontology of Fear and Neoliberalism."  Review of Social Economy, 72/3 (2014), pp. 337-353. This article is the winner of the 2013 Warren Samuels Prize.


Hübler, "Internalizing the Social Costs of a Small Number of Powerful, Overindebted Firms"

ROSEExtraordinary debt-to-capital ratios (leverage) and the compression of markets to very few, large companies (concentration) are economic risk factors. They have contributed to vast social costs during the current economic crisis in the USA and in Europe. This theoretical study internalizes these social costs via two market-based policy instruments for the first time in a real-economy Dixit-Stiglitz framework: a tax on firms' debt capital use and a subsidy for market entrants. It helps understand the complex real-economic mechanisms that these policy instruments cause, it derives intuitive rules of thumb for setting the tax rate and the subsidy level so that they elevate welfare, and it suggests ways to practically implement the policies.

Michael Hübler, "Internalizing the Social Costs of a Small Number of Powerful, Overindebted Firms." Review of Social Economy, 72/3 (2014), pp. 280-310.


Tseng and Petrie, "The Implications for Health, Depression, and Life Satisfaction from a Permanent Increase in Income for the Disadvantaged Elderly: Evidence from Taiwan"

ROSEThis paper uses an exogenous increase in income for a specific subgroup to explore the extent to which higher income leads to higher levels of health and well-being. In 1995, the Taiwanese government implemented the Senior Farmer Welfare Benefit Interim Regulation (SFWBIR) that was a pure cash injection to senior farmers. A difference-in-differences (DiD) approach is used on survey data from the Taiwanese Health and Living Status of Elderly in 1989 and 1996 to evaluate the short-term effect of the SFWBIR on self-assessed health, depression, and life satisfaction (LS). Senior manufacturing workers are employed as a comparison group for senior farmers in the natural experiment. This paper provides evidence that the increase in income caused by this pension reform significantly improved the mental health of senior farmers by reducing 1.697 points of the depression scale in DiD and 2.178 points in the robust estimation; however, it had no significant short-term impact on self-assessed health or LS.

Fu-Min Tseng and Dennis James Petrie, "The Implications for Health, Depression, and Life Satisfaction from a Permanent Increase in Income for the Disadvantaged Elderly: Evidence from Taiwan." Review of Social Economy, 72/3 (2014), pp. 311-336.


Andriani, "Is Acting Prosocially Beneficial for the Credit Market?"

ROSEThis article argues that behaving prosocially reduces regional finance differentials in terms of interest and insolvency rates. This is because prosociality implies more transparent information and cooperation among the parties engaged in a financial contract. The context of study is Italy, well known for its regional economic and financial disparities. The analysis is developed through a cross-regional two period panel model during the years 1998 and 2003. Empirical evidence shows that regions with a higher proportion of prosocial individuals report lower interest and insolvency rates. When legal enforcement is included in the specified model, evidence suggests that more efficient third-party enforcement can transmit a stronger sense of legal abidance and facilitate the internalisation of social norms of cooperation.

Luca Andriani, "Is Acting Prosocially Beneficial for the Credit Market?Review of Social Economy, 72/3 (2014), pp. 354-378.


Messacar, "Persistent Unemployment and the Generosity of Welfare States"

ROSEGenerous unemployment benefits are a conventional explanation of the high rates of unemployment in many OECD countries. However, this perception has been challenged on the basis that cross-national evidence comes only from regression analyses of unemployment on the OECD's gross replacement rate but that results are not robust to improved, multidimensional measures of generosity. In this article, I conduct a detailed empirical analysis of how social welfare programs affect unemployment in 17 OECD countries, from 1975 to 2000, using a detailed concept of labor “decommodification” to make cross-national comparisons of generosity. The results show that unemployment benefits remain an important, robust determinant of unemployment even when the new measure is used.

Derek Messacar, "Persistent Unemployment and the Generosity of Welfare States." Review of Social Economy, 72/3 (2014), pp. 379-415.


Batifoulier and Da Silva, "Medical Altruism in Mainstream Health Economics: Theoretical and Political Paradoxes"

ROSEIn the field of healthcare, ethical considerations are omnipresent. The problem is that it is not clear how to introduce professional ethics within the frontiers demarcated by economic rationality. In mainstream economics, medical altruism is defined as the inclusion of the patient's welfare in the doctor's utility function. This definition presents two serious problems that we develop in this paper. The first problem is that mainstream theory does not propose a model of authentic altruism because it reduces otherness to a source of utility like any other. The second problem is that ethical and altruistic (instrumental or otherwise) behaviour should not be conflated. By reducing ethics to altruism, mainstream theory prevents any genuine discussion of medical ethics. Then, the thesis of the paper is that the attempt to introduce altruism into the standard framework creates theoretical paradoxes that create policy dilemmas.

Philippe Batifoulier and Nicolas Da Silva, "Medical Altruism in Mainstream Health Economics: Theoretical and Political Paradoxes." Review of Social Economy, 72/3 (2014), pp. 261-279.


Call for papers: ASE sessions at the 2015 Eastern Economics Association meetings

Submissions are now open for the Association for Social Economics sessions at the 2015 Eastern Economic Association meetings, being held in New York City from Feb 26th – March 1ST, 2015. Please visit here for more details.

Submissions of individual papers and/or organized sessions will be considered. Session themes that integrate economics and other social disciplines including philosophy, sociology, geography, political science, and anthropology are particularly encouraged.    

All whose proposals are accepted must register for the conference but do not have to pay the paper submission fee. It is expected that all presenters will be willing to serve as a chair and/or discussant on other ASE sessions. Please indicate in your submission if there are any days/times that you are unavailable during the conference.

Please e-mail Michael J. Murray (mmurray@bemidjistate.edu) with your proposals for papers and/or complete sessions (or any questions about the meetings) by Saturday, November 1, 2014.

Call for papers: 2015 Warren Samuels Prize (awarded by the Association for Social Economics)

The Association for Social Economics (ASE), one of the founding member organizations of the Allied Social Science Associations (ASSA), together with the Review of Social Economy invite submissions for the 2015 Warren Samuels Prize

This prize is awarded to a paper presented at the January 2015 ASSA meetings that best exemplifies scholarly work that:

  • Is of high quality,
  • Is important to the project of social economics,
  • Has broad appeal across disciplines.

It is preferable, but not required, that the paper is presented at one of the ASSA sessions sponsored by the Association for Social Economics. Papers will not normally exceed 6,500 words (inclusive of references, notes, etc.), and should follow the style guidelines for the Review of Social Economy.

The winner of the prize will be announced during the ASE presidential breakfast on Sunday morning at the ASSA meetings, to which the winner is invited. The winning paper may, subject to peer review, be published in a subsequent issue of the Review of Social Economy. The winner of the Warren Samuels Prize receives a $500 stipend.

The selection committee consists of a past-president of the ASE, an editor of the Review of Social Economy (who chairs the committee), and a member of the Editorial Board of the Review of Social Economy.

Please send your paper electronically, as a Word or pdf attachment, to Wilfred Dolfsma (w.a.dolfsma@rug.nl), Editor-in-Chief, Review of Social Economy, before December 5, 2014.


Association for Social Economics program at the 2015 ASSA meetings

Association for Social Economics
Allied Social Science Assocations (ASSA) Meetings
January 2-5, 2015, Boston, MA

All ASE sessions will be held in the Boston Marriott Copley.



Opening Plenary Session and Reception

Friday, January 2, 6:30-9:00 PM, Boston Marriott Copley, Grand Ballroom--Salon E

 Guy Standing

University of London

A Precariat Charter: Building a New Distribution System

Panel Moderator: Ellen Mutari (Richard Stockton College of New Jersey)


Saturday, January 3, 8:00 AM, Boston Marriott Copley, Grand Ballroom—Salon A

Ethical Challenges Facing the Academic Economist: Theoretical Work and Pedagogy

Chair: Deirdre N. McCloskey (University of Illinois-Chicago)

"Economists’ Odd Stand on the Positive-Normative Distinction: A Behavioral Economics View," John B. Davis  (Marquette University)

"Ethics and Learning in Undergraduate Economics Education," Robert Garnett (Texas Christian University)

"Poisoning the Well, or How Economic Theory Damages Moral Imagination," Julie Nelson (University of Massachusetts-Boston)

"Alternative Ethical Perspectives on the Financial Crisis: Lessons for Economists," Irene van Staveren (Erasmus University Rotterdam) 


Saturday, January 3, 10:15 AM, Boston Marriott Copley, Grand Ballroom—Salon A

Motivations and Ethics in Global Markets

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

"The Micro-Foundations of a Modest Proposal to Eat the Unemployed," Kevin W. Capehart (American University of Paris)

"Achieving Fair Trade through a Social Tariff Regime: A Policy Thought Experiment," Kate Watkins (Cornell University) and George DeMartino  (University of Denver)

"Women and Social Entrepreneurship in India and China," Tonia Warnecke (Rollins College)

"Understanding the Financial Incentives for Microfinance Lending," Josie Chen (Brown University) and Louis Putterman (Brown University)

"Integrating Human Capital with Human Development: Toward a Broader and More Human Conception of Human Capital," John Tomer (Manhattan College)


Saturday, January 3, 4:45-6:30 PM

ASE General Membership Meeting

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

Sunday, January 4, 7:45 AM, Boston Marriott Copley, Grand Ballroom—Salon D

ASE Presidential Breakfast

Presiding: Ellen Mutari (Richard Stockton College of New Jersey)

"Judgment: Balancing Principle and Policy," Mark D. White (College of Staten Island/CUNY)


Sunday, January 4, 10:15 AM, Boston Marriott Copley, Grand Ballroom—Salon A

Polanyi Revisited

Chair: Zohreh Emami (Alverno College)

"Understanding the Gendered Insecurities of South Asian Workers: Polanyi and Beyond," Karin Astrid Siegmann (International Institute of Social Studies)

"Decommodification of Financial Regulation: Some Unpleasant Lessons from the 2007 Crisis," Faruk Ulgen (University of Grenoble)

"Financialization and Society’s Protective Response: Reconsidering Polanyi’s Thesis," John P. Watkins (Westminster College)

"Theorizing 'Double Movement' in the Age of Global Industrial Complex and Transnational Capital," Sudeep Regmi (University of Missouri-Kansas City)

"Social Origins of Profit: A Sociological Perspective on the Limits of Distributional Economics," Sascha Muennich (University of Göttingen)


Sunday, January 4, 12:30 PM, Boston Marriott Copley, Grand Ballroom—Salon A

Policy Priorities in Response to Labor Flexibilization (Panel Discussion)

Panel Moderator: Deborah Figart (Richard Stockton College of New Jersey)

Teresa Ghilarducci (New School)
Eileen Appelbaum (Center for Economic and Policy Research)
Heather Boushey (Washington Center for Equitable Growth)
Barbara Wiens-Tuers (Pennsylvania State University-Altoona)


Sunday, January 4, 2:30 PM, Boston Marriott Copley, Grand Ballroom—Salon A

Commodity Creation as a Historical Process

Chair: Wayne Edwards (University of Nebraska-Kearney)

"Pricing the Eyes of Passersby: The Commodification of Audience Attention in United States Public Spaces, 1890-1920," Zoe Sherman (Merrimack College)

"Indian Agricultural Policy, Commodification, and Provisioning," Tara Natarajan (Saint Michael's College) and Wayne Edwards (University of Nebraska-Kearney)

"Commodification, Gender Norms, and the Indian Marriage Market," Abhilasha Srivastava (American University)

"Commodification of Higher Education in Developing Countries: Evidence from the Egyptian Economy," Eman Selim (Tanta University)

"Delineating the Process of Fictive Commodification in Advanced Capitalism," Anthony Bonen (New School)


Monday, January 5, 8:00 AM, Boston Marriott Copley, Grand Ballroom—Salon A

Policy Options in an Age of Uncertainty

Chair: Rajani Kanth (Harvard University)

"A New Theory of Unemployment," Ravi Batra (Southern Methodist University)

"Policy Implications of Complexity: Toward a Systemic, Process-Based Frame-Setting, Long-Run, and Interactive Policy for a Complex Economy," Wolfram Elsner (University of Bremen)

"Global Economic Crisis: Implications for Emerging Markets," R. Vaidyanathan (Indian Institute of Management)

"From Free to Civilized Markets: First Steps Towards Eutopia," Jakob Kapeller (Johannes Kepler University-Linz), Bernhard Schutz (Johannes Kepler University-Linz), and Dennis Tamesberger (Austrian Chamber of Labor)

"Rethinking Fundamentals: A Summing Up," Rajani Kanth (Harvard University) 


Monday, January 5, 10:15 AM, Boston Marriott Copley, Grand Ballroom—Salon A

Ethics, Global Finance and the Great Recession

Chair: Steven Pressman  (Monmouth University)

"Social Stratification in the United States: Causes and Consequences of the Global Crisis," Philip Arestis (University of Cambridge), Aurelie Charles (University of Bath), and Giuseppe Fontana (University of Leeds)

"Distributional Costs of the Housing-Price Bust," Cynthia Bansak (St. Lawrence University) and Martha Starr (American University)

"Harming Irreparably: Economists, Trade Liberalization, and the Matter of 'Econogenic Harm,'" George DeMartino (University of Denver)

"Post-Crisis Experiments in Development Finance Architecture: A Hirschmanian Perspective," Ilene Grabel (University of Denver)

"Contemporary Capitalism as a New Monetary Economy of Production: The Logic of Conventions, M&A, and LBOs," Stefano Lucarelli (Università di Bergamo), Andrea Fumagalli (University of Pavia), and Alessandro Caiani (Universitá Politecnica delle Marche)

Call for proposals: 2014 William R. Waters Research Grant

The William R. Waters Research Grant was established in 1999 in honour of William R. Waters, editor of the Review of Social Economy for many years, and President of ASE in 1987.

The purpose of the William R. Waters Research Grant Program is to inspire scholars to organize their research in social economics and social economy along the lines suggested by William Waters in his 1988 presidential address to the Association for Social Economics.

The major concern of social economics is explaining the economy in its broadest aspects; that is, showing how human beings deal with the ordinary business of using human and physical resources to achieve a level of material comfort. Explanation includes cultural, political, and ethical details as they are needed for a full understanding. As in any economics, there are three parts to social economics. First is the philosophical base of the social economist, which may or may not be a reflection of the philosophical base or ethos of the society he/she is studying. Social economics (or any economics) builds upon it. It is the hard core as in the recent popular literature of the philosophy of science. The second part of the discipline is a description of the significant characteristics of the economy. The economist must observe the multiplicity of economic reality and abstract those characteristics that are substantive. The two together, the philosophical premises and the empirical observations, will determine the third part of the discipline, social economic policy. Policy formulation is thus a mix of the first two.

William R. Waters, presidential address,
“Social Economics: A Solidarist Perspective,”
Review of Social Economy, 1988, p.113 ff.

The research grant is for promising new faculty members who have not yet been granted tenure and for graduate students in Ph.D. programs who have not yet completed their dissertation. Please download the PDF flyer and distribute to anyone you think may be interested.

The current amount of the annual grant is up to $5000.

The deadline for submitting applications is 1st November 2014.

The application form and instructions can be found at the ASE website: http://www.socialeconomics.org

The grant can be very beneficial to scholars beginning their career:

The [William Waters] grant had a very positive impact on my career. It allowed me to buy out time to research the impact that the social turn in economics had on gender and economic development policy at the World Bank. The research resulted in a couple of well-placed publications that influenced debates in the field, and helped me to receive tenure also.

Suzanne L. Bergeron, Director of Women's and Gender Studies,
University of Michigan Dearborn, grant recipient 2004.