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Working Paper Selection

We collect selected high quality working papers from the leading international universities and research institutes in the field of plural and heterodox economics. The working papers in our selection present economic schools of thought and debates from the lens of leading pluralist researchers and young scholars. If you or your institute would like to link or second-publish a working paper on Exploring Economics, please contact us.

1993
Level: expert
Karl Marx was the greatest champion of the labor theory of value. The logical problems of this theory have, however, split scholars of Marx into two factions: those who regard it as an indivisible component of Marxism, and those who wish to continue the spirit of analysis begun by Marx without the labor theory of value.
2021
Level: advanced
After a brief illustration of sovereign green bonds’ features, this paper describes the market evolution and identifies the main benefits and costs for sovereign issuers. The financial performance of these securities is then analysed.
2014
Level: advanced
Most mainstream neoclassical economists completely failed to anticipate the crisis which broke in 2007 and 2008. There is however a long tradition of economic analysis which emphasises how growth in a capitalist economy leads to an accumulation of tensions and results in periodic crises. This paper first reviews the work of Karl Marx who was one of the first writers to incorporate an analysis of periodic crisis in his analysis of capitalist accumulation. The paper then considers the approach of various subsequent Marxian writers, most of whom locate periodic cyclical crises within the framework of longer-term phases of capitalist development, the most recent of which is generally seen as having begun in the 1980s. The paper also looks at the analyses of Thorstein Veblen and Wesley Claire Mitchell, two US institutionalist economists who stressed the role of finance and its contribution to generating periodic crises, and the Italian Circuitist writers who stress the problematic challenge of ensuring that bank advances to productive enterprises can successfully be repaid.
2020
Level: advanced
This paper investigates how the concept of public purpose is used in Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). As a common denominator among political scientists, the idea of public purpose is that economic actions should aim at benefiting the majority of the society. However, the concept is to be considered as an ideal of a vague nature, which is highly dependent on societal context and, hence, subject to change over time. MMT stresses that government spending plans should be designed to pursue a certain socio-economic mandate and not to meet any particular financial outcome. The concept of public purpose is heavily used in this theoretical body of thought and often referred to in the context of policy proposals as the ideas of universal job guarantee and banking reform proposals show. MMT scholars use the concept as a pragmatic benchmark against which policies can be assessed. With regards to the definition of public propose, MMT scholars agree that it is dependent on the social-cultural context. Nevertheless, MMT scholars view universal access to material means of survival as universally applicable and in that sense as the lowest possible common denominator.
2021
Level: beginner
We collect selected high quality working papers from the leading international universities and research institutes in the field of plural and heterodox economics. The working papers in our selection present economic schools of thought and debates in a first-class way and give an insight into the latest research.
2016
Level: advanced
Since the 1980s, the financial sector and its role have increased significantly. This development is often referred to as financialization. Authors working in the heterodox tradition have raised the question whether the changing role of finance manifests a new era in the history of capitalism. The present article first provides some general discussion on the term financialization and presents some stylized facts which highlight the rise of finance. Then, it proceeds by briefly reviewing the main arguments in the Marxian framework that proposedly lead to crisis. Next, two schools of thought in the Marxian tradition are reviewed which consider financialization as the latest stage of capitalism. They highlight the contradictions imposed by financialization that disrupt the growth process and also stress the fragilities imposed by the new growth regime. The two approaches introduced here are the Social Structure of Accumulation Theory and Monthly Review School. The subsequent part proceeds with the Post-Keynesian theory, first introducing potential destabilizing factors before discussing financialization and the finance-led growth regime. The last section provides a comparative summary. While the basic narrative in all approaches considered here is quite similar, major differences stem from the relationship between neoliberalism and financialization and, moreover, from the question of whether financialization can be considered cause or effect.
2015
Level: advanced
The principle of effective demand, and the claim of its validity for a monetary production economy in the short and in the long run, is the core of heterodox macroeconomics, as currently found in all the different strands of post-Keynesian economics (Fundamentalists, Kaleckians, Sraffians, Kaldorians, Institutionalists) and also in some strands of neo-Marxian economics, particularly in the monopoly capitalism and underconsumptionist school In this contribution, we will therefore outline the foundations of the principle of effective demand and its relationship with the respective notion of a capitalist or a monetary production economy in the works of Marx, Kalecki and Keynes. Then we will deal with heterodox short-run macroeconomics and it will provide a simple short-run model which is built on the principle of effective demand, as well as on distribution conflict between different social groups (or classes): rentiers, managers and workers. Finally, we will move to the long run and we will review the integration of the principle of effective demand into heterodox/post-Keynesian approaches towards distribution and growth.
2015
Level: advanced
This paper presents an overview of different models which explain financial crises, with the aim of understanding economic developments during and possibly after the Great Recession. In the first part approaches based on efficient markets and rational expectations hypotheses are analyzed, which however do not give any explanation for the occurrence of financial crises and thus cannot suggest any remedies for the present situation. A broad range of theoretical approaches analyzing financial crises from a medium term perspective is then discussed. Within this group we focused on the insights of Marx, Schumpeter, Wicksell, Hayek, Fisher, Keynes, Minsky, and Kindleberger. Subsequently the contributions of the Regulation School, the approach of Social Structures of Accumulation and Post-Keynesian approach, which focus on long-term developments and regime shifts in capitalist development, are presented. International approaches to finance and financial crises are integrated into the analyses. We address the issue of relevance of all these theories for the present crisis and draw some policy implications. The paper has the aim to find out to which extent the different approaches are able to explain the Great Recession, what visions they develop about future development of capitalism and to which extent these different approaches can be synthesized.
2019
Level: expert
This paper attempts to clarify how the European economic crisis from 2007 onwards can be understood from the perspective of a Marxian monetary theory of value that emphasizes intrinsic, structural flaws regarding capitalist reproduction. Chapter two provides an empirical description of the European economic crisis, which to some extent already reflects the structural theoretical framework presented in chapter three. Regarding the theoretical framework Michael Heinrich's interpretation of 'the' Marxian monetary theory of value will be presented. Heinrich identifies connections between production and realization, between profit and interest rate as well as between industrial and fictitious capital, which represent contradictory tendencies for which capitalism does not have simple balancing processes. In the context of a discussion of 'structural logical aspects' of Marx's Critique of the Political Economy, explanatory deficits of Heinrich's approach are analyzed. In the following, it is argued that Fred Moseley's view of these 'structural logical aspects' allows empirical 'applications' of Marxian monetary theories of value. It is concluded that a Marxian monetary theory of value, with the characteristics of expansive capital accumulation and its limitations, facilitates a structural analysis of the European economic crisis from 2007 onwards. In this line of argument, expansive production patterns are expressed, among other things, in global restructuring processes, while consumption limitations are mitigated by expansive financial markets and shifts in ex-port destinations.
Level: beginner
Global Value Chains (GVCs) started to play an increasing and key role in the global economy from the 1990s on. The market mechanism in GVCs supports industrialisation in the Global South and under certain conditions product and process upgrading. But GVCs do not lead to the catching-up of countries in the sense of them approaching real GDP per capita levels comparable with developed countries. These arguments are supported by a critical interpretation of the traditional trade theory, the New Trade Theory and specific approaches to explain GVCs, especially different governance structures and power relationships. Several case studies support these arguments. For catching-up, countries need comprehensive horizontal and vertical industrial policy and policies for social coherence. The small number of countries which managed to catch up did this in different variations.
2019
Level: advanced
Exploring Economics, an open-source e-learning platform, giving you the opportunity to discover & study a variety of economic theories, topics, and methods.
2019
Level: beginner
This article examines the spread of financialization in Germany before the financial crisis. It provides an up-to date overview on the literature on financialization and reviews which of the phenomena typically associated with financialization have emerged in Germany. In particular, the article aims to clarify how the prevailing institutional structure and its changes had contributed to or had countervailed the spread of financialization and how it had shaped the specific German variant of financialization. For this end, it combines the rich literature on Germany's institutional structure with the more macroeconomic oriented literature on financializaton. With the combination of those different perspectives the article sheds light on the reasons for the spread of financialization and the specific forms it has taken in Germany.
2012
Level: advanced
In this paper the main developments in post-Keynesian macroeconomics since the mid- 1990s will be reviewed. For this purpose the main differences between heterodox economics in general, including post-Keynesian economics, and orthodox economics will be reiterated and an overview over the strands of post-Keynesian economics, their commonalities and developments since the 1930s will be outlined. This will provide the grounds for touching upon three important areas of development and progress of post-Keynesian macroeconomics since the mid-1990s: first, the integration of distribution issues and distributional conflict into short- and long-run macroeconomics, both in theoretical and in empirical/applied works; second, the integrated analysis of money, finance and macroeconomics and its application to changing institutional and historical circumstances, like the process of financialisation; and third, the development of full-blown macroeconomic models, providing alternatives to the mainstream 'New Consensus Model' (NCM), and allowing to derive a full macroeconomic policy mix as a more convincing alternative to the one implied and proposed by the mainstream NCM, which has desperately failed in the face of the recent crises.
2018
Level: beginner
Keynes, following the tradition of Marx, argued that all values are created by labour and profits. However, functional income distribution between wages and profits is explained differently. In Marx's explanation of functional income distribution, wages are given as a basket of goods needed for the reproduction needs of the working class. Profits are then the remaining part of income creation. Given the capital stock, the profit rate can be calculated. The paper shows that Marx's explanation of functional income distribution has several theoretical and practical shortcomings. The Keynesian paradigm in the tradition of the original Keynes provides an alternative. Here the profit rate is given by processes in the financial market, and, among other things, by the interest rate. Monopolistic or oligopolistic structures, following the tradition of Kalecki, can also influence the profit rate. In addition, financialisation can push up the profit rate. Given the capital stock the consumption basket of workers depends on the level of productivity and the profit rate explained in a Keynesian and Kaleckian way.
2016
Level: advanced
In spite of the manifold critique about the state of economics in the aftermath of the financial crisis, an even increasing presence of economists and economic experts can be observed in the public sphere during the last years. On the one hand this reflects the still dominant position of economics in the social sciences as well as the sometimes ignorant attitude of economists towards findings of other social sciences. On the other hand this paper shows that the public debate on politico-economic issues among economists is dominated by a specific subgroup of economists, tightly connected to an institutional network of “German neoliberalism”. This group of “public economists” (i) is dominant in public debates even after the financial crisis, (ii) reproduces the formative German economic imaginary of the Social Market Economy in a German neoliberal interpretation and (iii) has a good access to German economic policymaking, rooted in a long history of economic policy advice.
2017
Level: advanced
The article compares market fundamentalism and right-wing populism on the basis of its core patterns of thinking and reasoning. Based on an analysis of important texts in both fields we find many similarities of these two concepts in their "inner images". Thus, we develop a scheme of the similar dual social worlds of right-wing-populism and market fundamentalism and offer some recent examples of market fundamentalism and right-wing populism mutually reinforcing each other or serving as a gateway for each other. We then apply our scheme for the analysis of the recent political developments and its ideological roots in the US under Donald Trump.
2016
Level: beginner
Exploring Economics, an open-source e-learning platform, giving you the opportunity to discover & study a variety of economic theories, topics, and methods.
2017
Level: beginner
Exploring Economics, an open-source e-learning platform, giving you the opportunity to discover & study a variety of economic theories, topics, and methods.
2017
Level: advanced
From the two premises that (1) economies are complex systems and (2) the accumulation of knowledge about reality is desirable, I derive the conclusion that pluralism with regard to economic research programs is a more viable position to hold than monism. To substantiate this claim an epistemological framework of how scholars study their objects of inquiry and relate their models to reality is discussed. Furthermore, it is argued that given the current institutions of our scientific system, economics self-organizes towards a state of scientific unity. Since such a state is epistemologically inferior to a state of plurality, critical intervention is desirable.
Level: advanced
This paper posts a heretical question: Is economics a science after all? The answer to this question impinges on the methodology, hypotheses and results of economic research.
2019
Level: beginner
By conducting a discourse analysis (SKAD) in the field of academic economics textbooks, this paper aims at reconstructing frames and identity options offered to undergraduate students relating to the questions ‘Why study economics?’ and ‘Who do I become by studying economics?’. The analysis showed three major frames and respective identity offerings, all of which are contextualized theoretically, with prominent reference to the Foucauldian reflection of the science of Political Economy. Surprisingly, none of them encourages the student to think critically, as could have been expected in a pedagogical context. Taken together, economics textbooks appear as a “total structure of actions brought to bear upon possible action” (Foucault), therefore, as a genuine example of Foucauldian power structures.
2019
Level: beginner
The article pursues the two related questions of how economists pretend to know and why they want to know at all. It is argued that both the economic form of knowledge and the motivation of knowing have undergone a fundamental change during the course of the 20th century. The knowledge of important contemporary economic textbooks has little in common with an objective, decidedly scientifically motivated knowledge. Rather, their contents and forms follow a productive end, aiming at the subjectivity of their readers.
2018
Level: beginner
The global financial crisis (GFC) led to increasing distrust in economic research and the economics profession, in the process of which the current state of economics and economic education in particular were heavily criticized. Against this background we conducted a study with undergraduate students of economics in order to capture their view of economic education.
2019
Level: advanced
Modern authors have identified a variety of striking economic patterns, most importantly those involving the distribution of incomes and profit rates. In recent times, the econophysics literature has demonstrated that bottom incomes follow an exponential distribution, top incomes follow a Pareto, profit rates display a tent-shaped distribution. This paper is concerned with the theory underlying various explanations of these phenomena. Traditional econophysics relies on energy-conserving “particle collision” models in which simulation is often used to derive a stationary distribution. Those in the Jaynesian tradition rely on entropy maximization, subject to certain constraints, to infer the final distribution. This paper argues that economic phenomena should be derived as results of explicit economic processes. For instance, the entry and exit process motivated by supply decisions of firms underlies the drift-diffusion form of wage, interest and profit rates arbitrage. These processes give rise to stationary distributions that turn out to be also entropy maximizing. In arbitrage approach, entropy maximization is a result. In the Jaynesian approaches, entropy maximization is the means.

 

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