The evolution of Mancur Olson’s views of his book, The Rise and Decline of Nations (1982), the middle of his three main books, is examined. It expands and extends to history and the world arguments presented in his The Logic of Collective Action (1965). While he never abandons the idea that the accumulation of interest groups in a democratic society may lead to its economic stagnation, how this comes about and can be overcome changes somewhat by the time of his (...) final book, Power and Prosperity (2000), which focuses on the problems of the transition economies and proper political governance. A sign of the greater complexity of his later views emerges in his analysis of the U.S. South, presented in his presidential address to the Southern Economic Association (1983). (shrink)
We examine the “new comparative economics” as proposed by Djankov et al. (2003) and their use of the concept of an institutional possibilities frontier. While we agree with their general argument that one must consider a variety of institutions and their respective social costs, including legal systems and cultural characteristics, when comparing the performance of different economic systems, we find various complications and difficulties with the framework they propose. We propose that a broader study of clusters of institutions and such (...) newly emerging forms as the new traditional economy may be better suited as ways to approach the study of comparative economics in the era after the breakdown of the old comparison of market capitalism and command socialism that came to an end with the breakup of the Soviet Union. (shrink)
Relationships are studied between the non-observed economy, income inequality, corruption, social capital measured as trust, and various institutional quality, policy, and macroeconomic variables for a global data set of countries for two time periods accounting for social interactions. Tentative support is found for positive relations between the non-observed economy and income inequality, the non-observed economy and corruption, and a negative relation between corruption and trust. No significant relation was found between the nonobserved economy and tax rates, contrasting with previous studies (...) finding significant relations of opposite signs. Data difficulties and weak robustness tests suggest limits to our results. (shrink)
Three principles of dialectical analysis are examined in terms of nonlinear dynamics models. The three principles are the transformation of quantity into quality, the interpenetration of opposites, and the negation of the negation. The first two of these especially are interpreted within the frameworks of catastrophe, chaos, and emergent dynamics complexity theoretic models, with the concept of bifurcation playing a central role. Problems with this viewpoint are also discussed.
We present three arguments regarding the limits to rationality, prediction, and control in economics, based on Morgenstern’s analysis of the Holmes-Moriarty problem. The first uses a standard metamathematical theorem on computability to indicate logical limits to forecasting the future. The second provides possible nonconvergence for Bayesian forecasting in infinite dimensional space. The third shows the impossibility of a computer perfectly forecasting an economy with agents knowing its forecasting program. Thus, economic order is partly the product of something other than calculative (...) rationality. The joint presentation of these existing results should introduce the reader to implications of these concepts for certain shared concerns of Keynes and Hayek. (shrink)
This paper examines the rising competition between computational and dynamic conceptualizations of complexity in economics. While computable economics views the complexity as something rigorously defined based on concepts from probability, information, and computability criteria, dynamic complexity is based on whether a system endogenously and deterministically generates erratically dynamic behavior of certain kinds. On such behavior is the phenomenon of emergence, the appearance of new forms or structures at higher levels of a system from processes occurring at lower levels. While the (...) two concepts can overlap, they represent substantially different perspectives. A competition of sorts between them may become more important as new, computerized market systems emerge and evolve to higher levels of complexity of both kinds. (shrink)
“A Public Domain, once a velvet carpet of rich buffalo-grass and grama, now an illimitable waste of rattlesnake-bush and tumbleweed, too impoverished to be accepted as a gift by the states within which it lies. Why? Because the ecology of the Southwest happened to be set on a hair trigger.”.
This paper presents a view of the process of transition from planned command socialism to mixed market capitalism involving nonlinear complex dynamical phenomena. After the former institutional structure disappears a coordination failure can bring about macroeconomic collapse as in almost all of the former Soviet bloc or macroeconomic boom as in China. A closely linked phenomenon is the rise of the underground economy as inflation and income inequality increase. This can lead to a jump from one equilibrium to a very (...) different one as nonlinear social feedback processes operate in the transition. (shrink)
“The ‘fallacy of composition’ that drives a felicitous wedge between micro and macro, between the individual and the aggregate, and gives rise to emergent phenomena in economics, non-algorithmic ways – as conjectured originally by John Stuart Mill…, George Herbert Lewes … , and codified by Lloyd Morgan … in his popular Gifford Lectures - may yet be tamed by unconventional models of computation.” --K. Vela Velupillai (2008, p. 21).
“A ‘Public Domain,’ once a velvet carpet of rich buffalo-grass and grama, now an illimitable waste of rattlesnake-bush and tumbleweed, too impoverished to be accepted as a gift by the states within which it lies. Why? Because the ecology of the Southwest happened to be set on a hair trigger.”.
Among the most striking developments in the process of economic transition has been the very diverse paths these economies have taken with respect to income distribution, with some maintaining degrees of equality similar to the socialist era while others now exhibit degrees of inequality noticeably greater than any advanced market capitalist economies. We argue that these outcomes reflect divergent dynamics with multiple equilibria wherein the pattern of income distribution interacts with the level of corruption and the breakdown of the public (...) sector and social safety nets, with the possibility of societies going sharply in one direction or another. This argument is supported by empirical data linking income inequality and measures of the size of the unofficial economy in a set of fifteen transitional economies. (shrink)
Large increases unofficial economies in many transition economies arise from a dynamic interaction with rising income inequality and public sector changes in multiple equilibria system. Returns to unofficial activity are first increasing and then decreasing, implying two distinct stable equilibria, with changes in inequality possibly causing a jump from one to the other. Multiple regressions of data from 18 transition economies find income inequality significantly correlated with the size of the unofficial economy, with the maximum annual rate of inflation also (...) significantly correlated. The latter appears to be the only significant correlate with the increase in the size of the unofficial economy. (shrink)
To acquaint the student with the problems of open-economy macroeconomics. These include the theory and policy issues related to the international balance of payments, the determination of foreign exchange rates, the functioning of the macroeconomy under different exchange rate regimes, the operation of macroeconomic policy under different exchange rate regimes, and the evolution and future of the international monetary system as a whole.
Much empirical analysis and econometric work recognizes that there are nonlinearities, regime shifts or structural breaks, asymmetric adjustment costs, irreversibilities and lagged dependencies. Hence, empirical work has already transcended neoclassical economics. Some progress has also been made in modeling endogenously generated cyclical growth and fluctuations. All this is inconsistent with neoclassical general equilibrium. Hence there is growing evidence of Kuhnian anomalies. It therefore follows that there is a Kuhnian crisis in economics and further research in nonlinear dynamics and complexity can (...) only increase the Kuhnian anomalies. This crisis can only deepen. However, there is an ideological commitment to general equilibrium that justifies “free enterprise” with only minimal state intervention that may still sustain neoclassical economics despite the growing evidence of Kuhnian anomalies. Thus, orthodox textbook theory continues to ignore this fact and static neoclassical theory remains a dogma with no apparent reformulation to replace it. (shrink)
considerable publicity in some of the leading general science journals such as Science and Nature. While most of this research has appeared in physics journals, some has appeared in economics journals as well, more often when at least one author is an economist. Strong claims have been made by some advocates regarding its reputed superiority to economics (McCauley, 2004), with arguments that in fact the teaching of microeconomics and macroeconomics as they are currently constituted should cease and be replaced by (...) appropriate courses in mathematics, physics, and some other harder sciences. The lack of invariance principles in economics and the failure of economists to deal properly with certain empirical regularities are held against it in this line of argument, although most econophysicists do not go as far as McCauley in proposing the complete replacement of economics as such by econophysics. (shrink)
This paper will focus upon the confluence of two strands of discussion and debate that have been developing for some time and their interaction and mutual implications. One involves the nature of economic complexity, how it is to be defined, what is the best way of thinking about it, both theoretically and empirically. The other is the question of the nature and relevance for economics of the recently developed sub-discipline of econophysics. Debates over both of these strands have become more (...) intensified in recent years, and this observer sees the debates as having. (shrink)
Substantially increased international financial mobility and internal financial reforms in many countries have led to apparently increased volatility of their financial markets. This heightened volatility has sometimes been associated with rapid increases or decreases in asset values that many observers suspect contain elements of speculative bubbles and their associated crashes, not justified by rational expectations of underlying fundamentals. In addition, these possible bubbles may coincide with nonlinear dynamics beyond basic ARCH effects, thus being nonlinear speculative bubbles.
Fishery dynamics are considered within the context of an integrated ecologiceconomic, or bioeconomic, approach. The possibility of complex dynamics is examined, both of the chaotic as well as the catastrophic variety. Issues involving learning and convergence by fishers are considered. Complications arising from multi-species interactions are considered as are complications arising from the hierarchical nature of fisheries. Policy responses to these problems are seen to involve the precautionary..
This paper presents a stylized overview of the process of transition from planned command socialism to mixed market capitalism in stages, each involving nonlinear complex dynamical phenomena. The end of the command form arises out of a chaotic hysteretic long wave investment cycle. After the former institutional structure disappears a coordination failure brings about macroeconomic collapse. As recovery emerges various complex fluctuations of employment appear as government labor policies oscillate.
The most important fact about 21st century economics is that it is the post-neoclassical era in terms of the frontiers of economic research. One can still find orthodox, neoclassical theory in most textbooks, especially those at the upper undergraduate level. However, this no longer reflects the reality of how economists at the cutting edge of economics are thinking, including those who are in the mainstream of the profession. The intellectual orthodoxy of neoclassicism has died (Colander, 2000) and the current thrust (...) of research at the cutting edge of the frontier is the search for the appropriate alternative to replace it. (shrink)
Ever since the collapse of Soviet-bloc socialism, and the associated breakup of the Soviet Union itself, it has been accepted by the vast majority of political economists that Friedrich A. Hayek and his fellow Austrians, notably his mentor, Ludwig von Mises, were the unequivocal victors in the famous “socialist calculation debate” that had raged for a good seven decades. It was over. The anti-socialist, Austrian position had won. Market capitalism was triumphant in both theory and practice. The combination of lack (...) of incentives and inevitably dispersed and asymmetric information had doomed command central planning of economies, especially in an increasingly complicated modern world economy (Rosser and Rosser, 2004, Chap. 3). (shrink)
Although Bernard Lewis is a deeper scholar of Islamic history, and the late Charles Issawi was a greater scholar of the economic history of Muslim societies, Timur Kuran has emerged in the last decade and a half as the leading scholar in the world of the rising field of Islamic economics. While most who study this field are advocates of Islamic economics as a superior system for Muslim societies, and possibly for all societies, Kuran has been a consistent critic. (...) This volume gathers six of his papers published on the subject between 1989 and 1997 together, along with an updating preface. Although they have been edited to some degree, Kuran himself argues in his preface (p. xvii) that, “Looking back at the essays grouped in this book, I am struck by how well they have stood the test of time.” By and large this is a correct assessment, and his critical stance now is heightened in the wake of the events of 9/11/01 and its aftermath. The clear theme unifying these essays is that Islamic economics as such is not a genuine answer to the world’s economic problems, but an “invented tradition” that serves as an adjunct to the broader, anti-Western, Islamist (or Islamic fundamentalist) political-religious movement. (shrink)
“When demand and supply are in stable equilibrium, if any accident should move the scale of production from its equilibrium position, there will be instantly brought into play forces tending to push it back to that position; just as if a stone hanging by a string is displaced from its equilibrium position… But in real life such oscillations are seldom as rhythmical as those of a stone hanging freely from a string; the comparison would be more exact if the string (...) were supposed to hang in the troubled waters of a mill-race, whose stream was at one time allowed to flow freely and at another partially cut off. Nor are these complexities sufficient to illustrate all the disturbances with which the economist and the merchant alike are forced to concern themselves. (shrink)
This paper examines how institutions for managing environmental resources change over time with economic development and the seriousness of various environmental problems. Different problems tend to be more serious at different levels of development requiring different approaches. Traditional systems of management in poorer countries were often effective at managing common good resources, and institutions that replicate their advantages may work at higher levels of economic development as well. Problems of inter-level relations are also be considered.
Fishery dynamics are considered within the context of an integrated ecologiceconomic, or bioeconomic, approach. The possibility of complex dynamics is examined, both of the chaotic as well as the catastrophic variety. Issues involving learning and convergence by fishers are considered as are complications arising from the hierarchical nature of fisheries. Policy responses to these problems are seen to involve the precautionary principle to mitigate the threat of catastrophic discontinuities and the scalematching principle to ensure that management and property rights system (...) are properly.. (shrink)
The implications for how teach macroeconomics at the undergraduate level of the emergence of the multidisciplinary study of nonlinear complex dynamics are examined. A definition of complex dynamics is presented and a broad review of various applications in macroeconomics is made. Some particular implications are emphasized such as how complex dynamics raise serious doubts about the rational expectations assumption. Several models and approaches are suggested that can be used to make these ideas accessble to students.
For transition economies, income inequality is positively correlated with the share of output produced in the informal economy. Increases in income inequality also tend to be correlated with increases in the share of output produced in the unofficial economy. These hypotheses are supported significantly by empirical data for sixteen transition economies between 1987 to 1989 and 1993 to 1994. Various causal mechanisms may operate in both directions, an increasingly large informal economy causing more inequality due to falling tax revenues and (...) weakened social safety nets, and increasing inequality causing more informal activity as social solidarity and trust decline. (shrink)
Nobody has died yet as a result of the ongoing trials for transferring money internationally without a license of four Harrisonburg men from Kurdish parts of Iraq: Rashid Qambari, Ahmed Abdullah, Amir Rashid, and Fadhil Noroly. However, before coming here they were threatened because of their work for groups associated with the United States, and they were brought here by the United States government as part of Operation Pacific Haven. Saddam Hussein killed members of local Kurdish families. Qambari, convicted on (...) January 30, 2006, has stated, “If I get deported back to Iraq, I will be a nice gift to the insurgents. I will be dead.” Deportation is a possible outcome of his conviction. (shrink)
We investigate how stochastic asset price dynamics with herding and financial constraints in heterogeneous agents’ decisions explain the presence of a period of financial distress (PFD) following the peak and preceding the crash of a bubble, documented by Kindleberger [2000, Appendix B] as common among most major historical speculative bubbles. Simulations show the PFD is due to agents’ wealth distribution dynamics, selling because of financial constraints after the bubble’s peak in relation to switching behavior of agents. An increase in switching (...) tendency increases the length of the PFD and decreases bubble amplitude, while increasing strength of interaction between the agents increases bubble amplitude. (shrink)
A time series of the Shanghai stock index in China for the 1990s is studied for the possible existence of nonlinear speculative bubbles. Three alternative specifications of fundamentals are estimated using VAR models of domestic and international variables. These are subjected to regime switching tests and rescaled range analysis tests. Nulls of no persistence were mostly rejected, suggesting the strong possibility of bubbles. Nonlinearities beyond ARCH effects using the BDS test could not be rejected. The paper also discusses the special (...) circumstances of the stock market in an emerging transition economy. (shrink)
How large the non-observed economy (NOE) is and what determines its size in different countries and regions of the world is a question that has been and continues to be much studied by many observers (Schneider and Enste, 2000, 2002). The size of this sector in an economy has important ramifications. One is that it negatively affects the ability of a nation to collect taxes to support its public sector. The inability to provide public services can in turn lead more (...) economic agents to move into the non-observed sector (Johnson, Kaufmann, and Shleifer, 1997). When such a sector is associated with criminal or corrupt activities it may undermine social capital and broader social cohesion (Putnam, 1993), which in turn may damage economic growth (Knack and Keefer, 1997; Zak and Knack, 2001). Furthermore, as international aid programs are tied to official measures of the size of economies, these can be distorted by wide variations in the relative sizes of the NOE across different countries, especially among the developing economies. (shrink)
We attempt to clarify divisions made by us in previous work (Colander et al., 2004a,b) between “orthodox, mainstream, and heterodox” in economics, following very useful remarks in Dequech (2007-08), whom we thank. We also provide specific advice for heterodox economists, namely: worry less about methodology, focus on being economists first and heterodox economists second, and prepare ideas to leave the incubator of heterodoxy to enter the mainstream economic debate.
Duncan Foley’s Unholy Trinity: Labor, capital, and land in the new economy is the sixth in the series of Graz Schumpeter Lectures published by Routledge, all relatively slim volumes elucidating themes arguably related to Schumpeter, if just peripherally, and that usually summarize major arguments of the authors (previous authors were Stanley Metcalfe, Brian Loasby, Nathan Rosenberg, Ian Steedman, and Erich Streissler). In this one, which deals with questions of induced technological change in several sections, Foley attempts to provide an integration (...) of ideas that have evolved through his varied career, from high general equilibrium theorist (Foley, 1967), through deep student of Marxian economics (Foley, 1986), to complexity theorist (Foley, 1994; for more detailed discussion of his personal and intellectual path see Colander et al, 2004, Chapter 7). A central argument is that the classical political economists, not just Marx but also Adam Smith and Malthus with Ricardo (largely lumped together in his analysis), developed ideas that are well suited to representation and understanding using the methods of modern complexity economics, themes of dynamic out-of-equilibrium selforganization in systems with boundedly rational agents, in contrast to the requirements for full Walrasian general equilibrium that he studied early in his career. (shrink)
This paper considers the implications of complex ecologic-economic dynamics for three broad, Post Keynesian perspectives: the uncertainty perspective, the macrodynamics perspective, and the Sraffian perspective. Catastrophic, chaotic, and other complex dynamics will be seen as reinforcing the conceptual foundations of Keynesian uncertainty. Predatory-prey models will be seen as deeply linked to Post Keynesian macrodynamic models. Finally, certain cases in ecologiceconomic systems will be seen as generating such Sraffian, capital theoretic conundra as reswitching. Ecologic-economic models considered besides predator-prey will include fisheries, (...) forestry, lake dynamics, and global climatic-economic dynamics. (shrink)
I support several of President Bush’s economic proposals: tort reform for medical malpractice suits, and in principle increased free international trade, increased use of market mechanisms for environmental protection, and tax simplification. However, President Bush’s proposal for social security reform is unnecessary and dangerous to the economic health of our country. The system is not broke and does not need to be “fixed.”.
This volume represents a magnum opus by Wolfgang Weidlich, summarizing his long work in the area of sociodynamics. It lays out the origins and development of his ideas on this topic, presents a variety of applications drawn from his previous work, and offers some new insights and suggestions. For those acquainted with Professor Weidlich’s work it is a satisfying summing up. For those unacquainted with it, the book provides a good overview and discussion of what is involved in it, both (...) its weaknesses and its strengths. It has a definite predecessor, Weidlich’s 1983 book with his frequent coauthor, Günter Haag, Concepts and Models of a Quantitative Sociology, but goes well beyond the arguments and models presented in that volume. (shrink)
In talks given early in the 1990s, Jean-Michel Grandmont (1998) introduced the concept of the self-fulfilling mistake. This phenomenon can emerge when economic agents cannot distinguish between randomness and determinism, a situation that can occur when the underlying true dynamics are chaotic (Radunskaya, 1994), although such a situation could arise with other forms of complex nonlinear dynamics besides those involving chaotic dynamics. In such a situation, agents may be unable to discern the true dynamics and may adopt simple, boundedly rational (...) “rules of thumb” based on some kind of backward-looking adaptive expectations (Bullard, 1994). For certain kinds of underlying processes, agents may be able to mimic the actual dynamics with such an “incorrect” behavioral rule, an outcome known as a consistent expectations equilibrium (CEE), a concept formalized by Hommes (1998) as meaning that the two processes have identical means and also autocorrelation coefficients at all leads and lags. Sorger (1998) and Hommes and Sorger (1998) have shown how in some cases agents can learn to converge on such CEEs, or self-fulfillingly mistaken behavior. These models all involve discrete dynamics. The first realization that a discrete chaotic dynamic could be mimicked by a simple linear autocorrelation function is due to Bunow and Weiss (1979) and Sakai and Tokumaru (1980), the latter demonstrating the possibility for the case of the asymmetric tent map, a result studied in more depth by Brock and Dechert (1991) and Radunskaya (1994). (shrink)
OBJECTIVE: To acquaint the student with the field of urban economics and to show how the principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics can be applied to the analysis of urban economic issues and problems. Such issues and problems include land issues, suburbanization versus central city development, housing availability and quality, racial discrimination, poverty, transportation, environmental quality, local public finance, and cities in less developed countries.
This book is about the economics profession, or more precisely, the cutting edge of the economics profession. Economics is currently at a turning point; it is changing from a static approach to understanding, in which deductive reasoning is the key method used, to a complexity approach to understanding, in which inductive and deductive methods are used simultaneously, and the full complexity of the system is acknowledged and dealt with. The change is just beginning, but the groundwork is currently being laid. (...) This book is about that groundwork and those economists who are developing it. They are the cutting edge of economics. Those who are doing cutting edge work are researchers who are pushing and testing the boundaries of the profession in such a way that it draws the attention of the elite in the profession. The cutting edge has the potential of changing mainstream economics and ultimately what is considered the orthodoxy. (shrink)
One is the very founding document of oligopoly theory, Cournot’s seminal work of 1838. This is both because the specific model that he presented has been much studied for its ability to generate complex dynamics and also because of its more general foreshadowing of game theory. It has often been noted that the Cournot equilibrium is but a special case of the Nash (1951) equilibrium, the more general formulation used by modern industrial organization economists in studying oligopoly theory. Indeed, it (...) is sometimes even called the Cournot-Nash equilibrium. Although many of the models of complex oligopoly dynamics use the specific Cournot model, many use more general game theoretic formulations. We note simply as an aside here that Cournot’s work was the first to apply calculus to solving an economic optimization problem and also was the first to introduce supply and demand curves, albeit in the "Walrasian" form with price on the horizontal axis. (shrink)
A new recommendation has appeared in the Ethnic Dining Guide of Washingtoon, capital of the Unconscious States of Amurrica, put out by Tailor Coward III, Director of the Mercantilist Center and Professor of Shriekonomics at George Madison University, which is scattered across several municipalities in the northern Vagina suburbs of Washingtoon. Tailor’s father was from the clothier branch of the famous English playwright’s family, but had to flee to Amurrica when his stitch in time saved only eight. After marrying a (...) nice girl from Old Teashirt, they moved to Hoople, Southern North Dakota, where Tailor would become the regional chess champion at age 6, only to be defeated some years later by the 4-year old I.M.A. Bach, great-great-great-greatgreat-great-great grandson of P.D.Q. Bach, who had studied obscure gambits with Bobby Fischer’s dog. (shrink)
“On the plane of philosophy properly speaking, of metaphysics, catastrophe theory cannot, to be sure, supply any answer to the great problems which torment mankind. But it favors a dialectical, Heraclitean view of the universe, of a world which is the continual theatre of the battle between >logoi,’ between archetypes.”.
In discussing the nature of econophysics, a primary issue must be to understand what it is. This is a rather complicated matter, but attempts at definition have been made. As the neologizers of the term, Rosario Mantegna and H. Eugene Stanley have a distinct authority in this matter. They have proposed the following to define “the multidisciplinary field of econophysics …[as] a neologism that denotes the activities of physicists who are working on economics problems to test a variety of new (...) conceptual approaches deriving from the physical sciences” [2, pp. viii-ix]. (shrink)
This paper argues that a new economic system is emerging in the world economy, that of the new traditional economy. Such an economic system simultaneously seeks to have economic decision making embedded within a traditional socio-cultural framework, most frequently one associated with a traditional religion, while at the same time seeking to use modern technology and to be integrated into the modern world economy to some degree. The efforts to achieve such a system are reviewed in various parts of the (...) world, with greater analysis of the Islamic and neo- Confucian economic systems. (shrink)
The science writer, John Horgan (1995, 1997), has ridiculed what he labels “chaoplexology,” a combination of chaos theory and complexity theory. A central charge against this alleged monstrosity is that it, or more precisely its two component parts separately, are (or were) fads, intellectual bubbles of little consequence. They would soon disappear and deservedly so, once scholars and intellects realized what worthless dross they truly were (or are). As the culminating centerpiece of his argument, Horgan introduced the label, “the four (...) C’s,” which consist of cybernetics, catastrophe theory, chaos theory, and complexity theory. More.. (shrink)
We consider Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom in light of global ideological and economic developments during the sixty years since its publication. Specific problems considered include socialism and planning, whether national socialism was really socialism, whether Hayek’s views could be labeled as social democratic and whether his critique of social democracy was too strong, and his discussion of the prospects for international economic order. While often right and enormously influential, Hayek himself agreed that some of his predictions did not become (...) true. (shrink)