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Economics, Cognition, and Society

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Altruistically Inclined?

The Behavioral Sciences, Evolutionary Theory, and the Origins of Reciprocity

Alexander J. Field

Alexander J. Field is the Michel and Mary Orradre Professor of Economics at Santa Clara University.

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Capitol Investments

The Marketability of Political Skills

Glenn R. Parker

What would you do if, the very day you were hired, you knew you could be unemployed in as little as two years? You'd seek opportunities in your current job to develop a portfolio of skills and contacts in order to make yourself more attractive to future employers. Representatives and senators think about their jobs in Congress in this way, according to Glenn R. Parker. While in office, members of Congress plan not merely for the next election but for the next stage of their careers. By networking, serving on committees, and championing particular legislation, they deliberately accumulate human capital---expertise, networks, and reputation---which later will give them bargaining power in the job market. Parker's study of the postelective careers of more than 200 former members of Congress, both U.S. representatives and senators, who have left office during the last half century shows that such strategic planning generally succeeds. In most cases, the human capital these politicians amassed while in office increased their occupational mobility and earning power. Capitol Investments offers a sophisticated yet accessible analysis of the acquisition and marketability of political skills. It suggests that an awareness of the trade in human capital shapes an officeholder's actions as much as the desire to win another election. Glenn R. Parker is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Political Science at Purdue University.

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The Cult of Statistical Significance

How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives

Stephen T. Ziliak and Deirdre N. McCloskey

“McCloskey and Ziliak have been pushing this very elementary, very correct, very important argument through several articles over several years and for reasons I cannot fathom it is still resisted. If it takes a book to get it across, I hope this book will do it. It ought to.” —Thomas Schelling, Distinguished University Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, and 2005 Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics “With humor, insight, piercing logic and a nod to history, Ziliak and McCloskey show how economists—and other scientists—suffer from a mass delusion about statistical analysis. The quest for statistical significance that pervades science today is a deeply flawed substitute for thoughtful analysis. . . . Yet few participants in the scientific bureaucracy have been willing to admit what Ziliak and McCloskey make clear: the emperor has no clothes.” —Kenneth Rothman, Professor of Epidemiology, Boston University School of Health The Cult of Statistical Significance shows, field by field, how “statistical significance,” a technique that dominates many sciences, has been a huge mistake. The authors find that researchers in a broad spectrum of fields, from agronomy to zoology, employ “testing” that doesn’t test and “estimating” that doesn’t estimate. The facts will startle the outside reader: how could a group of brilliant scientists wander so far from scientific magnitudes? This study will encourage scientists who want to know how to get the statistical sciences back on track and fulfill their quantitative promise. The book shows for the first time how wide the disaster is, and how bad for science, and it traces the problem to its historical, sociological, and philosophical roots. Stephen T. Ziliak is the author or editor of many articles and two books. He currently lives in Chicago, where he is Professor of Economics at Roosevelt University. Deirdre N. McCloskey, Distinguished Professor of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is the author of twenty books and three hundred scholarly articles. She has held Guggenheim and National Humanities Fellowships. She is best known for How to Be Human* Though an Economist (University of Michigan Press, 2000) and her most recent book, The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce (2006).

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Growth Triumphant

The Twenty-first Century in Historical Perspective

Richard A. Easterlin

Taking a longer view than most literature on economic development, Richard A. Easterlin stresses the enormous contrast between the collective experience of the last half century in both developed and developing countries and what has gone before. An economic historian and demographer, the author writes in the tradition of the "new economic history," drawing on economic theory and quantitative evidence to interpret the historical experience of economic theory and population growth. He reaches beyond the usual disciplinary limits to draw, as appropriate, on sociology, political science, psychology, anthropology, and the history of science. The book will be of interest not only to social scientists but to all readers concerned with where we have been and where we are going. ". . . Easterlin is both an economic historian and a demographer, and it is the combination of these two disciplines and the fine balance between theory and experience that make this well-written, refreshingly optimistic book excellent reading." --Population and Development Review "In this masterful synthesis, Richard Easterlin draws on the disciplines of economic history, demography, sociology, political science, psychology, and the history of science to present an integrated explation of the origins of modern economic growth and of the mortality revolution. . . . His book should be easily accessible to non-specialists and will give them a sense of why economic history can inform our understanding of the future." --Dora L. Costa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, EH.Net and H-Net "Growth Triumphant is, simply, a fascinating book. Easterlin has woven together a history of economic growth, economic development, human mortality and morbidity, the connections each has with the others, and the implications of this nexus of forces on the future. . . . This book deserves a wide audience." --Choice "In what must surely be the most fair-minded, well-balanced, and scrupulously reasoned and researched book on the sensational subjects implied in its title--the Industrial Revolution, the mortality and fertility revolutions, and the prospects for future happiness for the human race--Professor Easterlin has set in place the capstone of his research career." --Journal of Economic History Richard A. Easterlin is Professor of Economics, University of Southern California.

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Imperfect Institutions

Possibilities and Limits of Reform

Thráinn Eggertsson

The emergence of New Institutional Economics toward the end of the twentieth century profoundly changed our ideas about the organization of economic systems and their social and political foundations. Imperfect Institutions explores recent developments in this field and pushes the discussion forward by allowing for incomplete knowledge of social systems and unexpected system dynamics and, above all, by focusing explicitly on institutional policy. Empirical studies extending from Africa to Iceland are cited in support of the theoretical argument. In Imperfect Institutions Thráinn Eggertsson extends his attempt to integrate and develop the new field that began with his acclaimed Economic Behavior and Institutions (1990), which has been translated into six languages. This latest work analyzes why institutions that create relative economic backwardness emerge and persist and considers the possibilities and limits of institutional reform. Thráinn Eggertsson is Professor of Economics at the University of Iceland and Global Distinguished Professor of Politics at New York University. Previously published works include Economic Behavior and Institutions (1990) and Empirical Studies in Institutional Change with Lee Alston and Douglass North (1996).

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Increasing Returns and Path Dependence in the Economy

W. Brian Arthur

This book brings together Professor Arthur’s pioneering article and provide a comprehensive presentation of his exciting vision of an economics that incorporates increasing returns. After a decade of resistance from economists, these ideas are now being widely discussed and adopted, as Kenneth Arrow recounts in his foreword. In fundamental ways they are changing our views of the working economy.

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Institutions and Economic Theory

The Contribution of the New Institutional Economics

Eirik Furubotn and Rudolf Richter

This second edition assesses some of the major refinements, extensions, and useful applications that have developed in neoinstitutionalist thought in recent years. More attention is given to the overlap between the New Institutional Economics and developments in economic history and political science. In addition to updated references, new material includes analysis of parallel developments in the field of economic sociology and its attacks on representatives of the NIE as well as an explanation of the institution-as-an-equilibrium-of-game approach. Already an international best seller, Institutions and Economic Theory is essential reading for economists and students attracted to the NIE approach. Scholars from such disciplines as political science, sociology, and law will find the work useful as the NIE continues to gain wide academic acceptance. A useful glossary for students is included. Eirik Furubotn is Honorary Professor of Economics, Co-Director of the Center for New Institutional Economics, University of Saarland, Germany and Research Fellow, Private Enterprise Research Center, Texas A&M University. Rudolph Richter is Professor Emeritus of Economics and Director of the Center for New Institutional Economics, University of Saarland, Germany.

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Integrity and Agreement

Economics When Principles Also Matter

Lanse Minkler

Two impressive features of this book are its clarity of purpose and the breadth of disciplinary resources to which it appeals. ---Geoffrey Brennan, Professor of Economics, Australian National University "Facing massive evidence that people do not act generally as self-regarding payoff maximizers, economists have become increasingly interested in issues of cooperation, altruism, identity, and morality. Lanse Minkler's contribution is particularly important because of his powerful argument that the evidence of cooperation cannot be explained adequately by a more complicated preference function. A disposition for honesty is not simply a matter of preference---it is an issue of personal integrity, identity, and commitment. This has major implications. In particular we have to reconstruct the theory of the firm from first principles. No economist committed to the pursuit of truth should ignore this volume." ---Geoffrey Hodgson, Research Professor in Business Studies, University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, and Editor in Chief of the Journal of Institutional Economics "This is an interesting account of the role of integrity---preference-integrity and commitment-integrity---on economic behavior. While drawing knowledge from traditional subfields of economics, it also includes insights gleaned from psychology and philosophy, showing their effects in varied areas such as political behavior, the employment relation, religion, and human rights. In this exciting volume Lanse Minkler does an excellent job of incorporating various newer concepts of fairness and integrity into economic analysis." ---Ernst Fehr, Professor and Head of the Chair of Microeconomics and Experimental Economic Research and Director of the Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich Social scientists who treat humans as rational beings driven exclusively by self-interest ignore a key factor shaping human behavior: the influence of moral principles. Starting with the elementary principle "lying is wrong," economic theorist Lanse Minkler examines the ways in which a sense of morality guides real-life decision making. Whether one feels committed to specific or general moral principles, Minkler explains, integrity demands consistently acting on that commitment. Because truthfulness is the most basic moral principle, integrity means honesty. And honesty extends beyond truth-telling. It requires good faith when entering an agreement and then standing by one's word. From this premise, Minkler explores the implications of integrity for contracts between buyers and sellers and understandings between employers and employees. He also finds a role for integrity in an individual's religious vows, an elected official's accountability to constituents, and a community's obligation to human rights. Integrity and Agreement reintroduces morality as a factor for economists, sociologists, psychologists, and political scientists to consider in their efforts to comprehend human behavior. Lanse Minkler is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut.

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Markets and Cultural Voices

Liberty vs. Power in the Lives of Mexican Amate Painters

Tyler Cowen

This intriguing work explores the world of three amate artists. A native tradition, all of their painting is done in Mexico, yet, the finished product is sold almost exclusively to wealthy American art buyers. Cowen examines this cultural interaction between Mexico and the United States to see how globalization shapes the lives and the work of the artists and their families. The story of these three artists reveals that this exchange simultaneously creates economic opportunities for the artists, but has detrimental effects on the village. A view of the daily village life of three artists connected to the larger art world, this book should be of particular interest to those in the fields of cultural economics, Latino studies, economic anthropology and globalization.

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Preference Pollution

How Markets Create the Desires We Dislike

David George

Seldom considered is whether markets do an adequate job of shaping our tastes. David George argues that they do not, and that the standard economic definition of efficiency can be used to demonstrate that the market ignores people's desires about their desires. He concludes that markets perform poorly with respect to second-order preferences, thus worsening the problem of undesired desires. The book further investigates changes in perceptions and public policy toward such activities as gambling, credit, entertainment, and sexual behavior. David George is Chair and Professor Economics, LaSalle University.

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