The History of Economic Thought
Online ISSN : 1884-7358
Print ISSN : 1880-3164
ISSN-L : 1880-3164
Volume 49 , Issue 2
Showing 1-17 articles out of 17 articles from the selected issue
  • Yutaka Furuya
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 1-17
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Much ink has been spent over the last few decades on James Steuart's theory on banks. Critics are united in the view that his ‘banks upon mortgage’ is an idea of central importance in Steuart's theory on banks. They propose that insofar as Steuart argued against bank lending upon mercantile credit because it is precarious, his concept of bank credit upon mortgage must be regarded as a representative pillar of his theory. This understanding has also supported the claim that Steuart's theory on banks is outmoded in the sense that it gives little or no allowance for banks providing mercantile credit.
    If we consider Steuart's theory on banks within his whole chain of arguments, that interpretation is open to question. Steuart's principles of political economy, including his theory on banks, are built within a historical structure. He denies bank credit based on mercantile credit, only when the society is in the infancy of trade. In his theory on banks, he posited three classifications: ‘banks upon private credit’ (i.e. upon mortgage), ‘banks upon mercantile credit, ’ and ‘banks upon public credit, ’ each with a different role in the development of the economy.
    Considered in this perspective, the significance of Steuart's theory on banks lies in that the principles on which bank credit is based extend according to the development of trade and industry and to the policy of statesmen. His theory of banks must be regarded as a part of his arguments on providing money in proportion to the circulation.
    Download PDF (2504K)
  • Noriko Ishida
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 18-34
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    This paper is a reconsideration of Thorstein Veblen's interpretation of British economic thought, focusing mainly on a three-paper series entitled “The Preconceptions of Economic Science” (1899-1900). Veblen has been described as a critic of almost all economic schools. He was so iconoclastic that even Hobson, who was sympathetic, tried to restrain his attacks on orthodox economics. If we study Veblen's work carefully, however, we also find an underlying positive construction. I believe that the emphasis on his heterodoxy prevents us from understanding the full implications of his scientific conception. My objective here is not only to deal with Veblen's negative critiques, but also to lay out his positive assessments, bearing in mind the influence of his early philosophical study of Kant (1884). Little attention has been given so far to developing such a perspective.
    I conclude that while Veblen had the temerity to criticize all British economic thought, he judged the values of each theoretical formulation with impartiality and offered a glimpse at the direction in which the economics of the time would evolve. First, according to Veblen, Hume and Smith were superior to the Physiocrats in the sense that they approached their socio-economic formulations with a “matter-of-fact animus” and tended to regard human actions as the central focus. Second, he admitted that the analysis of man in post-Bentham economics represented a positive shift in viewpoint from the teleological to the causal, although it could deal only with passive economic man in the abstract, not with active human conduct in real life. Third, he understood the theoretical significance of Mill's sophisticated utilitarian psychology and Cairnes' consideration for various human motives and actions. It is, in fact, likely that these points of view were close to, if not exactly the same as, Veblen's in his analysis of the consumer in The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899). What I aim to demonstrate in this paper is that a reconsideration of Veblen's positive responses to orthodox theories can lead to a better understanding of his place in the history of economic thought.
    Download PDF (2490K)
  • Tadashi Ohtsuki
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 35-51
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    This paper is a comparative study of the theories of major cycles advanced by Nikolai D. Kondratiev and Salomon de Wolff, mainly in the 1920s. Establishing the problem and its setting, the author argues in the first section that hitherto both theories, despite an important difference between them, have generally been understood to be the same endogenous cycle theory explaining change in durable capital goods.
    In order to make that difference clear, the second and third sections investigate the analyses and theories of Kondratiev and De Wolff, respectively. Chapter 3 also includes an overview of De Wolff's career, which is still not widely known. Both economists concluded that major cycles are caused by the replacement of durable and obsolescent capital goods. Judging only from their conclusions, the theories appeared to be similar, but, as De Wolff pointed out, they differed in a significant way.
    That difference is explored in section 4, first, by examining Tinbergen's attempt at distinguishing the theories, which was not successful only because Tinbergen lacked adequate knowledge of Kondratiev's works and ended up proceeding from a misinterpretation of them. Second, the author investigates the difference from the point of view of De Wolff. Briefly, De Wolff confirmed statistically that the life of long-lived fixed capital, which he calculated on the basis of average depreciation rates, corresponded 'exactly' to the actual length of major cycles. Thereupon he asserted that he had established the relationship between major cycles and durable capital goods. Kondratiev, on the other hand, showed the probable length of major cycles only empirically. This is where the difference lies, and where De Wolff's unrecognized contribution to cycle theory proves to be so important.
    Download PDF (2413K)
  • Hideshi Itoh
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 52-62
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    The purpose of this article is to offer an overview of contract theory, a highly successful and active research area in microeconomics, with particular emphasis on its history and influence on modern economics.
    According to Bolton and Dewatripont (2005), currently a standard textbook in this field, the theory of incentives, information, and economic institutions is generally refer-red to in short as contract theory. Contract theory is thus a theory of imperfect markets, mainly because of asymmetric information such as moral hazard and adverse selection.
    Contract theory is also a theory of economic institutions and as such applies far beyond markets. The basic model of moral hazard and that of adverse selection both use agency (or principal-agent) relationships as the main analytical framework, in response to various attempts to lay open the black-box nature of the firm in the standard neoclassical model. Furthermore, theories of boundaries of the firm, originating out of Coase's classical work, are today analyzed in the framework of incomplete contracts that leads to the third basic model of contract theory, along with those of moral hazard and adverse selection. Although these basic models are games with specific extensive forms, they are formulated as optimization problems subject to incentive compatibility and participation conditions, and are solved without explicit reference to equilibrium concepts. Contract theory is thus related to both price theory and game theory, but it has developed its own analytical frameworks and tools to solve problems under conditions of asymmetric information or incomplete contracts.
    Contract theory is also a theory of incentive design. Incentive design is not important under perfect competition but is crucial when there is asymmetric information or contractual incompleteness. Myerson claims that today, “economists can define their field more broadly, as being about the analysis of incentives in all social institutions.” (Myerson 1999) I argue that it is contract theory that enables us to define today's field more broadly.
    Download PDF (1601K)
  • Tatsuro Kanai
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 63-78
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Download PDF (1968K)
  • [in Japanese]
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 79-80
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Download PDF (176K)
  • [in Japanese]
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 82-83
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Download PDF (303K)
  • [in Japanese]
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 84-85
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Download PDF (272K)
  • [in Japanese]
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 86-87
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Download PDF (313K)
  • [in Japanese]
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 88-89
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Download PDF (280K)
  • [in Japanese]
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 90-91
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Download PDF (309K)
  • [in Japanese]
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 92-93
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Download PDF (326K)
  • [in Japanese]
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 94-95
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Download PDF (263K)
  • [in Japanese]
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 96-97
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Download PDF (299K)
  • [in Japanese]
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 98-99
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Download PDF (320K)
  • [in Japanese]
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 100-101
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Download PDF (310K)
  • [in Japanese]
    2007 Volume 49 Issue 2 Pages 102-103
    Published: December 25, 2007
    Released: August 05, 2010
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Download PDF (301K)
feedback
Top