Volkswirtschaftslehre

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This paper argues that F.A. Hayek anticipated the notion of ‘recursive utility’ and analytically reconstructs his informal exposition of the optimal saving process. The scope of analysis is restricted to Hayek’s largely unrecognised contribution in Utility Analysis and Interest in 1936, restated as chapters 17 and 18 in The Pure Theory of Capital, first published in 1941. It is shown that Hayek characterised efficient dynamic choice as an infinite series of two-period optimality conditions by transforming an infinite-horizon optimisation problem into a perpetual confrontation of current and prospective utility, that he hinted at the axiomatic base of stationary and weakly separable dynamic preferences, and that he endogenised the subjective discount rate to substantiate his claim that the interest-rate path in a perfect-foresight equilibrium is unidirectionally determined by the marginal productivity of investment (and not by thrift). Hayek’s vision of dynamic social efficiency and dynamic equilibrium is completely characterised.

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The Austrian School of Economics is an intellectual tradition in economics and political economy dating back to Carl Menger in the late-19th century. Menger stressed the subjective nature of value in the individual decision calculus. This school of economic thinking spread outside of Austria to the rest of Europe and the United States in the early-20th century and continued to develop and gain followers, establishing itself as a major stream of heterodox economics.
The Oxford Handbook of Austrian Economics provides an overview of this school and its theories.

Philosophie

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Angesichts der zunehmenden Pluralisierung unserer Gesellschaften wandelt sich der Status der Religionen. Das Verhältnis zwischen religiösen Überzeugungen – nicht zuletzt aufgrund ihrer «neuen Sichtbarkeit» – und säkularen Staaten muss daher neu bedacht werden. Zwischen den verschiedenen Religionen oder Konfessionen einerseits und dem demokratischen Rechtsstaat sowie einer Öffentlichkeit, die sich als liberal versteht, andererseits besteht ein latentes oder sogar offenes Spannungsverhältnis. Die institutionellen Regelungen des Verhältnisses zwischen Staat und Religionen, die in den westlichen Gesellschaften sehr unterschiedliche Gestalt angenommen haben (z.B. französischer Laizismus versus amerikanischen Säkularismus), stehen neu und dringend auf dem Prüfstand.

Volkswirtschaftslehre

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Greece and its creditors concluded negotiations over a third bailout by signing a Memorandum of Understanding on 19 August 2015. The dominant view among most economic policy analysts and commentators seems to be that the actions of the Greek government in the months before the deal had been erratic and lacked coordination. In this paper we argue instead that the decisions of the Greek negotiators, including asking the voters to reject the earlier terms demanded by the creditors in a referendum, can be explained by the logic of brinkmanship. We develop a game-theoretic model to show that the actions of the Greek government are consistent with a strategy aimed at securing concessions, which can be used to bolster domestic approval.

Volkswirtschaftslehre

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An intense discussion is taking place in international political economy on the influence of economic ideas on institutional change. Case studies so far have, however, mainly focused on the Western industrialised countries and research seems to be biased towards cases in which new ideas caused lasting institutional change. The present paper addresses these two shortcomings by analysing the case of the Russian Stabilisation Fund (SF). This case is an example both of the impact of global ideas on a non-Western emerging country and of a ‘near miss’ in the sense that imported neoliberal ideas failed to assert themselves enduringly. Paradoxically, it can be shown how the neoliberally based idea of the SF even contributed to the return to Soviet patterns of industrial policy. The main reason for this, we argue, is that the Fund’s implementation was not preceded by economic and political debates. Accordingly, the imported institution of the SF had to be filled with ideational content after its implementation.

Volkswirtschaftslehre

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Joseph A. Schumpeter and Ludwig von Mises were both Austrian-born economists, both were students of Böhm-Bawerk and von Wieser, yet whether they both may be classified as ‘Austrian economists’ is a controversial issue. This paper takes a closer look at the mixture of commonalities and disagreements in their writings that have given rise to the ambivalent assessments of their ‘Austrian’ credentials.