Socialized View of Man vs. Rational Choice Theory: What Does Smith’s Sympathy Have to Say?

ELIAS L. KHALIL

JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC BEHAVIOR & ORGANIZATION

Abstract: To explain the anomaly of cooperation in finitely repeated games, some economists advance a socialized view of man as an antidote to rational choice theory. This paper confronts these economists insofar as they trace the socialized view to Smith’s theory of sympathy in The Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS). TMS rather advances a view that anticipates rational choice theory. These economists misinterpret TMS because they fail to realize that Smith distinguishes between two functions of sympathy: one that determines the optimal decision and another that determines the command of that decision. The dual function of sympathy parallels the two senses of rational choice: rationality as making the optimal decision and rationality as commanding that decision. Thus Smith’s sympathy does not support the socialized view of man.

As an Economy Becomes More Developed, Do People Become Less Altruistic?

PAPAR KANANURAK & AEGGARCHAT SIRISANKANAN

THE JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

Abstract: Inter-household private transfers are one of the main informal insurance mechanisms that prevalently implemented in developing countries. Unfortunately, most of the literatures investigates the private transfer motives at static perspectives. Therefore, this paper took advantage to investigate the private transfers motives in Thailand over the past three decades in order to examine any changing patterns of transfer motives. The empirical results from econometric methods indicated that as the economy in Thailand continues to develop, altruism remains dominant for private inter-household motives in Thailand and persists over time, not only in rural but also urban areas of the country.

Geography, Transparency, and Institutions

JORAM MAYSHAR, OMER MOAV, and ZVIKA NEEMAN

AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW, Volume 111, Issue 3

Abstract: We propose a theory in which geographic attributes explain cross-regional institutional differences in (1) the scale of the state, (2) the distribution of power within state hierarchy, and (3) property rights to land. In this theory, geography and technology affect the transparency of farming, and transparency, in turn, affects the elite’s ability to appropriate revenue from the farming sector, thus affecting institutions. We apply the theory to explain differences between the institutions of ancient Egypt, southern Mesopotamia, and northern Mesopotamia, and also discuss its relevance to modern phenomena.

The rise and decline of nations: the dynamic properties of institutional reform

RUSSELL S. SOBEL

JOURNAL OF INSTITUTIONAL ECONOMICS, Volume 13, Issue 3

Abstract: While it is now well established in the literature that countries with better policies and institutions, as measured by the Economic Freedom of the World index, have better outcomes in terms of prosperity, growth, and measures of human well-being. However, we know little about the process of institutional reform – that is why and how country policies undergo major changes either upward or downward in their levels of economic freedom. This research attempts to provide a systematic overview of this process, by uncovering what the data really show about this transition process. Institutional declines occur more abruptly than institutional improvements, and free trade appears to be a key ‘first mover’ in cases of large institutional change.

State Intervention in Wine Markets in the Early 20th Century: Why was it so Different in France and Spain?

JORDI PLANAS

REVISITA DE HISTORIA ECONOMICA – JOURNAL OF IBERIAN AND LATIN AMERICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY, Volume 35, Issue 2

Abstract: In the early 20th century, governments not only used trade policy to protect domestic agricultural markets, but they also introduced regulations affecting quality, quantity and prices. In this article I assess the differences in the state intervention in wine markets in two major wine-producing countries, France and Spain, and try to explain the reasons for them. To do so, I examine the specific features of their markets and productive systems, the winegrowers’ collective action, and the political framework in each country. I argue that the differences are related to (a) the strength and cohesion of the winegrowers’ lobby, (b) the winegrowers’ relationship with political parties and (c) the state’s ability to respond to their demands.

Adam Smith’s Theory of Money and Banking

NICHOLAS A. CUROTT

JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT, Volume 39, Issue 3

Abstract: This paper addresses a long-running debate in the economics literature—the debate over Adam Smith’s theory of money and banking—and argues that recent reinterpretations of Smith’s monetary theory have erroneously diverted historians of monetary thought from the correct, but briefly articulated, initial interpretations of Henry Thornton (1802) and Jacob Viner (1937). Smith did not present either the real-bills theory or a price-specie-flow theory of banknote regulation, as is now generally presumed, but rather a reflux theory based upon the premise that the demand for money is fixed at a particular nominal quantity. Smith’s theory denies that an excess supply of money can ordinarily make it into the domestic nominal income stream or influence prices or employment.

Individualistic values, institutional trust, and interventionist attitudes

HANS PITLIK and MARTIN RODE

JOURNAL OF INSTITUTIONAL ECONOMICS, Volume 13, Issue 3

Abstract: A popular explanation for economic development is that ‘individualistic values’ provide a mind-set that is favorable to the creation of growth-promoting institutions. The present paper investigates the relationship between individualistic values and personal attitudes toward government intervention. We consider two key components of an individualistic culture to be particularly relevant for attitude formation: self-direction (‘social’ individualism) and self-determination (‘economic’ individualism). Results indicate that both are negatively associated with interventionist attitudes. Effects of self-direction are much weaker though, than self-determination. Moreover, the effects of self-direction are mitigated through higher trust in the state and lower confidence in companies, while that is not the case for self-determination values. We conclude that especially economic individualism supports attitudes conducive to the formation of formal market-friendly institutions.