History of Political Economy 44:2

An issue of: History of Political Economy

History of Political Economy 44:2
Journal Issue Pages: 200 Volume 44, Number 2 Published: 2012 An issue of History of Political Economy

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Beyond Altruism? Economics and the Minimization of Unselfish Behavior, 1975-93

Fontaine, P.

This article provides a historical account of the developments of research into seemingly unselfish behavior between 1975 and 1993. I shall first argue that the triumph of the self-interest model in the examination of seemingly unselfish behavior can better be understood if it is remembered that the attempts by a handful of economists to expand their jurisdiction over phenomena that had remained outside their reach occurred at a time when natural scientists showed similar ambitions. As those economists' efforts found a more receptive audience within the profession, disputes shifted, within the discipline itself, to the public policy implications of seemingly unselfish behavior. Then I shall argue that the various efforts to go beyond the self-interest model in economics and political science failed to build a coherent alternative model and produced equally ambiguous policy implications. My conclusion stresses the difficulty of escaping the customary presupposition that seemingly unselfish behavior concerns close-knit groups whereas selfishness applies to impersonal gatherings.

Don Patinkin's PhD Dissertation as the Prehistory of Disequilibrium Theories

Rubin, G.

In the opening sentence of Money, Interest, and Prices, Patinkin noted that his book was the outgrowth of ideas first presented in his doctoral dissertation. This claim has attracted the attention of most scholars who have written about his works in recent years. As shown by articles by such historians as Mauro Boianovsky, Perry Mehrling, and the present author, reading Patinkin's doctoral dissertation shed new light on his major work. However, those articles only contain partial presentations of the thesis. This essay helps to fill that gap. It offers a detailed presentation of the second part of Patinkin's dissertation and claims that it foreshadowed the research programs of disequilibrium theorists of the 1970s.

Celso Furtado and the Structuralist-Monetarist Debate on Economic Stabilization in Latin America

Boianovsky, M.

This article investigates Celso Furtado's role in the broad controversy between structuralists and monetarists about inflation and stabilization that took place in Latin America between the mid-1950s and early 1960s. Furtado was the first to relate Latin American chronic inflation to the new growth pattern of the region after the acceleration of the industrialization process in the 1930s. The Brazilian economist criticized the applicability of the monetary approach to the balance of payments to developing countries and put forward an alternative interpretation of the connection between external disequilibrium and inflation. Furtado formulated and tried to implement in 1962–63 the first structuralist stabilization plan—called the Three-Year Plan—in a Latin American country, based on "gradualism" and regarded as an alternative to stabilization policies sponsored by the IMF in the region.

Alfred Marshall's Reported Birthplace: Evidence from the Censuses

Littlechild, S.

Ronald Coase posed the question, Did Alfred Marshall know where he was born? Coase conjectured that Marshall's changing place of birth as reported in the 1881 and 1891 censuses was due to his vagueness in giving information about it to his wife. This article examines the evidence now available from three additional censuses (1851, 1901, and 1911). It confirms that Marshall did know where he was born. And the evidence suggests an alternative (and darker) reason for Marshall's reported places of birth.

How Keynesian Economics Came to China

Trescott, P. B.

The central ideas of Keynes's General Theory were introduced into China soon afte

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