Understanding the factors determining economic growth has been a major concern for economists and governing bodies for many years. The Solow growth model and the endogenous growth models are the main theories tested and used in the growth literature. This paper discusses the main contributions to economic methodology and uses Lakatos's scientific research program framework to evaluate the main theoretical contributions to growth theory. Based on Lakatos's ideas, Solovian models are both empirically and theoretically progressive. Endogenous growth models, on the (...) other hand, are not empirically corroborated, and thus not progressive in Lakatosian sense. However, there are many reasons for rational growth economists to continue working in this field, even facing empirical refutations of an important theoretical prediction. Endogenous growth models are promising in terms of generating enormous gains that will help us better understand the mechanisms of economic growth. (shrink)
In the metaphor of behavioral momentum, the rate of a free operant in the presence of a discriminative stimulus is analogous to the velocity of a moving body, and resistance to change measures an aspect of behavior that is analogous to its inertial mass. An extension of the metaphor suggests that preference measures an analog to the gravitational mass of that body. The independent functions relating resistance to change and preference to the conditions of reinforcement may be construed as convergent (...) measures of a single construct, analogous to physical mass, that represents the effects of a history of exposure to the signaled conditions of reinforcement and that unifies the traditionally separate notions of the strength of learning and the value of incentives. Research guided by the momentum metaphor encompasses the effects of reinforcement on response rate, resistance to change, and preference and has implications for clinical interventions, drug addiction, and self-control. In addition, its principles can be seen as a modern, quantitative version of Thorndike's (1911) Law of Effect, providing a new perspective on some of the challenges to his postulation of strengthening by reinforcement. Key Words: behavioral momentum; clinical interventions; drug addiction; preference; reinforcement; resistance to change; response strength; self-control. (shrink)
In reply to the comments on our target article, we address a variety of issues concerning the generality of our major findings, their relation to other theoretical formulations, and the metaphor of behavioral momentum that inspired much of our work. Most of these issues can be resolved by empirical studies, and we hope that the ideas advanced here will promote the analysis of resistance to change and preference in new areas of research and application.
The constructs of behavioral mass in research on the momentum of operant behavior and associative strength in Pavlovian conditioning have some interesting parallels, as suggested by Savastano & Miller. Some recent findings challenge the strict separation of operant and Pavlovian determiners of response rate and resistance to change in behavioral momentum, renewing the need for research on the interaction of processes that have traditionally been studied separately. Relatedly, Furedy notes that some autonomic responses may be refractory to conditioning, but a (...) combination of operant contingencies and enriched Pavlovian stimulus-reinforcer relations may prove effective. (shrink)
The moral justification of intellectual property is often called into question when placed in the context of pharmaceutical patents and global health concerns. The theoretical accounts of both John Rawls and Robert Nozick provide an excellent ethical framework from which such questions can be clarified. While Nozick upholds an individuals right to intellectual property, based upon its conformation with Lockean notions of property and Nozicks ideas of just acquisition and transfer, Rawls emphasizes the importance of basic liberties, such as an (...) individuals right to health, superceding such secondary rights as intellectual property rights. From a policy perspective, patent protection for pharmaceutical products necessarily entails the balancing of corporate intellectual property interests and public interests in healthcare. The moral dilemma that occurs when these two interests clash is not easily resolved. Aside from corporate and public interests, the state maintains an interest in creating and preserving policies that regulate the moral dilemma itself. This paper analyzes the economic and ethical factors surrounding the production and distribution of the anti-HIV medication, AZT. Potential policy implications and recommendations are also discussed. (shrink)
Among Bayesian confirmation theorists, several quantitative measures of the degree to which an evidential proposition E confirms a hypothesis H have been proposed. According to one popular recent measure, s , the degree to which E confirms H is a function of the equation P(H|E) − P(H|~E). A consequence of s is that when we have two evidential propositions, E1 and E2, such that P(H|E1) = P(H|E2), and P(H|~E1) ≠ P(H|~E2), the confirmation afforded to H by E1 does not equal (...) the confirmation afforded to H by E2. I present several examples that demonstrate the unacceptability of this result, and conclude that we should reject s (and other measures that share this feature) as a measure of confirmation. (shrink)
The research Nevin & Grace report is impressive in its integrative power, but it also shows the current limits of operant theory: There is tremendous concentration on understanding how existing behavioral relations are modulated in rate or time allocation, but little on dealing with the origin of the behavioral relations themselves. Specifying what should count as a behavioral unit will require source principles sensitive to the composition of the units being related.
The insights described by Nevin & Grace may be summarized without reference to the Newtonian concepts they suggest. The metaphor to Newtonian mechanics seems dubious in three ways: (1) extensions seem to lead to paradoxes; (2) many well-known phenomena are ignored; (3) the Newtonian concepts seem difficult to reconcile with the larger framework of evolutionary theory.
The metaphor of “behavioral momentum” exemplifies modernism at its best and follows in the wake of countless other applications of Newtonian mechanics and “the machine metaphor” to virtually every aspect of the human condition. Modernism, however, has fallen on hard times. Some of the chief reasons why are implicit in the target article by Nevin & Grace.
Nevin & Grace invoke a behavioral metaphor from the physics of momentum. The idealized assumptions they invoke are argued to translate to behavior only in the limited case of steady-state, constant-probability VI responding. Rather than further refine this limit case, mathematical models should be applied to generalizations of the limit case itself, broadening our understanding of behavioral processes.
An important measure of the validity and utility of basic behavioral research is the extent to which it can be applied in real life. Basic research on behavioral momentum and the model unifying choice and resistance to change (Nevin & Grace 1999) has stimulated the development of behavioral technologies aimed at increasing the persistence of adaptive behavior and decreasing maladaptive choices.
Nevin & Grace's approach is an interesting and useful attempt to find ways to measure “core” effects of a history of exposure to reinforcement. The momentum analogy makes intuitive sense, and the evidence for its utility is increasing. Several questions remain, however, about how the analogy will fare in the case of concurrent rather than sequential activities, about the use of extinction as a method to test resistance to change, and about the generality of some of the effects.
Nevin & Grace present a fresh and thoroughly empirical argument undermining the traditional view of learning based on response contingent reinforcement. We endorse the main points in the target article and relate them to an ethological feed forward principle that complements the principle of behavioral momentum.
Nevin & Grace's primary argument against theory and research on behavioral momentum is that preference and resistance to change may not covary. The method for evaluating preference and resistance to change seems problematic. Moreover, the theory fails to account convincingly for effects of average overall time to primary reinforcement on choice and preference for unsegmented schedules.
In a recent paper, Cavusoglu and Tebaldi (2006) provided an evaluation of neoclassical and endogenous growth theories according to Lakatos's methodology of scientific research programmes. This paper offers three criticisms of their contribution as well as a rival Lakatosian appraisal of growth theories. First, we hold that Cavusoglu and Tebaldi do not provide a proper structure of theory comparison in their contribution. Second, we argue that they use an inadequate version of Lakatos's appraisal criterion. Third, against (...) the claim of the authors, we show that there are seminal endogenous growth models, which predict income convergence among countries. Finally, in contrast to Cavusoglu and Tebaldi, our analysis suggests that by Lakatos's standards, Schumpeterian variant of endogenous growth theory is both theoretically and empirically progressive over neoclassical growth theory. (shrink)
Nevin & Grace's behavioral-momentum model accommodates a large body of data. This commentary highlights some experimental findings that the model does not always predict. The model does not consistently predict resistance to change when response-independent food is delivered simultaneously with response-contingent food, when drugs are used as response disrupters, and when responding is reinforced under single rather than multiple schedules of reinforcement.
We have analyzed many discrimination learning difficulties as reflecting multiple stimulus control topographies (SCTs). Nevin & Grace's analysis offers new variables to consider in the design of stimulus-control shaping procedures and cross-setting generalization of newly established behavior. A multiple-SCT perspective also suggests that fixed-trial discrimination procedures may offer advantages for reconciling momentum theory and partial reinforcement extinction effects.
Evidence from 45 early studies of resistance to extinction following reinforcement of differing amounts, taken in sum, challenges both the basic and the augmented models of Nevin & Grace. The augmented model seems too ad hoc in salvaging the analogy between persistence in behavior and concepts from physics, as my meta-analysis of these data affirms.
Nevin & Grace identify a difference between the predictions of delay reduction theory and the contingency-ratio account underlying behavioral momentum approaches to choice. This is shown not to be a true difference. The role of the overall context of reinforcement must be carefully incorporated by any theory of choice.
Nevin & Grace (N&G) buttress their metaphor with some good props. However, it is still not clear what momentum is analogous to. If momentum is a measure of strength, then the authors should say so and tell us how to calculate it. Furthermore, if “other” behavior can be introduced into the equation (and N&G's foray into the applied world suggests that it can), it is unclear when the masses are accrued and how much is accrued to each behavior.
Although conditioned suppression has face validity as a technique for assessing resistance to change of operant behaviour, it is not discussed by Nevin & Grace. However, application of their approach to the results of a conditioned suppression study that varied food deprivation and reinforcement magnitude (Leslie 1977) produces paradoxical results.
Kaplan (1989a) insists that natural languages do not contain displacing devices that operate on character—such displacing devices are called monsters. This thesis has recently faced various empirical challenges (e.g., Schlenker 2003; Anand and Nevins 2004). In this note, the thesis is challenged on grounds of a more theoretical nature. It is argued that the standard compositional semantics of variable binding employs monstrous operations. As a dramatic first example, Kaplan’s formal language, the Logic of Demonstratives, is shown to contain monsters. For (...) similar reasons, the orthodox lambda-calculus-based semantics for variable binding is argued to be monstrous. This technical point promises to provide some far-reaching implications for our understanding of semantic theory and content. The theoretical upshot of the discussion is at least threefold: (i) the Kaplanian thesis that “directly referential” terms are not shiftable/bindable is unmotivated, (ii) since monsters operate on something distinct from the assertoric content of their operands, we must distinguish ingredient sense from assertoric content (cf. Dummett 1973; Evans 1979; Stanley 1997), and (iii) since the case of variable binding provides a paradigm of semantic shift that differs from the other types, it is plausible to think that indexicals—which are standardly treated by means of the assignment function—might undergo the same kind of shift. (shrink)
Everett (2005) has claimed that the grammar of Piraha˜ is exceptional in displaying ‘inexplicable gaps’, that these gaps follow from a cultural principle restricting communication to ‘immediate experience’, and that this principle has ‘severe’ consequences for work on universal grammar. We argue against each of these claims. Relying on the available documentation and descriptions of the language, especially the rich material in Everett 1986, 1987b, we argue that many of the exceptional grammatical ‘gaps’ supposedly characteristic of Piraha˜ are misanalyzed by (...) Everett (2005) and are neither gaps nor exceptional among the world’s languages. We find no evidence, for example, that Piraha˜ lacks embedded clauses, and in fact find strong syntactic and semantic evidence in favor of their existence in Piraha˜. Likewise, we find no evidence that Piraha˜ lacks quantifiers, as claimed by Everett (2005). Furthermore, most of the actual properties of the Piraha˜ constructions discussed by Everett (for example, the ban on prenominal possessor recursion and the behavior of WH-constructions) are familiar from languages whose speakers lack the cultural restrictions attributed to the Piraha˜. Finally, following mostly Gonc¸alves (1993, 2000, 2001), we also question some of the empirical claims about Piraha˜ culture advanced by Everett in primary support of the ‘immediate experience’ restriction. We conclude that there is no evidence from Piraha˜ for the particular causal relation between culture and grammatical structure suggested by Everett. (shrink)
Lapses in ethical conduct by those in corporate and public authority worldwide have given business researchers and practitioners alike cause to re-examine the antecedents to personal ethical values. We explore the relationship between ethical values and an individual’s long-term orientation or LTO, defined as the degree to which one plans for and considers the future, as well as values traditions of the past. Our study also examines the role of work ethic and conservative attitudes in the formation of a person’s (...) long-term orientation and consequent ethical beliefs. Empirically testing these hypothesized relationships using data from 292 subjects, we find that long-term perspectives on tradition and planning indeed engender higher levels of ethical values. The results also support work ethic’s role in fostering tradition and planning, as well as conservatism’s positive association with planning. Additionally, we report how tradition and planning mediate the influence of conservatism and work ethic on the formation of ethical values. Limitations of the study and future research directions, as well as implications for business managers and academics, are also discussed. (shrink)