Papers

JOURNAL and CONFERENCE PAPERS

Updating the value of copyright investment.” (with Jonathan Haskel and Peter Goodridge). Intellectual Property Office Economics Paper 2012/12

Copyright, Evidence and Lobbynomics: The World after the UK’s Hargreaves Review.” Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 65-100, 2011

“How Keynes convinced the British to re-define the economy.” Target: Income and Wealth or Economic Journal

Redefining the Economy: A History of Economics and National Accounting. Ph.D. Thesis at City University London, submitted 2009, examined and accepted 2011

Approaches to Evidence on IPRs, Competition and Innovation.” (with T. Clayton) A supporting document for the Hargreaves Review of IP – Digital Opportunities. May 2011

“Empirical and Exciting: Theories of Economic Growth in Britain 1715-43.” Presented at ‘History of Economics Society Annual Conference’, June 2009, Denver. Since re-named “The Credit Driven Economy” and revised as chapter 4 of Redefining the Economy

“Keynes vs. Kuznets; the battle for the soul of National Income.” Presented at ‘History of Recent Economics Conference’, June 2009, Antwerp. Revision Spring 2010 target: Journal of the History of Economic Thought, revised as chapters 8 and 9 of Redefining the Economy

“Gender wage-gaps and growth: The case of semi-industrial countries reconsidered” (with T. Mitra-Kahn). Feminist Economics, Revised & Re-submitted December 2008. Presented at ‘United Nations Inequality, Development & Growth Workshop’, May 2008, New York

Good Research and ‘Selling it’ Matters.” New School Economic Review 3(1) Winter 2008: 3-4

If it aint broke, don’t fix it… Post Autism and Political Correctness.” Post-Autistic Economic Review 47(3) October 2008, pp. 265-267, [now the Real World Economics Review], also re-printed in Adbusters 85 Thought control in economics, sep/oct 2009

“Defining Economic Growth in the 18th Century.” Presented at ‘History of Economics Society Annual Conference’, June 2008, Toronto, revised as chapter 3 of Redefining the Economy

Debunking the Myths of Computable General Equilibrium Models.” Schwarz Center for Economic Policy Analysis Working Paper 2008-01 (March). An earlier draft was presented at t he‘ICAPE tri-annual conference’, June 2007, Salt Lake City

The Development Issue – An Introduction.” New School Economic Review 2(1) Fall 2007: 3-4

Understanding National Accounting in Hindsight.” Presented at the ‘History of Economics Society Annual Conference’, June 2007, Washington D.C.

OTHER PUBLICATIONS

Still standing on the table: The New Lecturer’s Workshop, Part Deux.” UK Economics Network Lecturer Resources, April 2009

The IMF’s Rhetorical U-turn” (Newspaper op-ed). The Mint – Official Indian Partner to the Wall Street Journal, January 1, 2009

“Public Expenditure Composition and Fiscal Performance in Central and Eastern European Countries” (with E. Hedger). Report to the Serbian Finance Ministry, for Overseas Development Institute, November 2008

The New Lecturers Workshop: A win-win situation for economists” UK Economics Network Lecturer Resources, October 2008; re-printed Economics Network Newsletter 12(winter 2008): 8-9

UNPUBLISHED WORK

How should the government measure child poverty? Which measures are likely to be the most successful in reducing it?” Short paper for the UK Government Economic Service, 2009

General Equilibrium Theory: its history and its relation (if any) to the Market Economy.” Unpublished, written at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, updated 2005

IS-LM: an update.” Unpublished. B.Sc. Dissertation at Royal Holloway University of London, updated 2005

2 Responses to Papers

  1. JBentham says:

    Okay. Is your dissertation really about epistemology/philosophy? We can’t use GDP to measure the economy because it’s simply a definition? Likewise, I can’t measure air pressure with a barometer because it’s simply an instrument used to measure it?

    The entire scientific process is dependent on artificial mechanisms, whether in words or tools, to measure something as best as we can. You can argue that we should try to have the best definition possible and tweak it if it’s not doing a good job, but what you can’t do is suggest that any definition is a good one. What if I said that the economy doesn’t exist? It’s just a definition, right?

    Maybe you can explain this to be so that I understand your point better.

  2. Benjamin says:

    Hi JB, sorry for the slow revert but I’ve been moving house and keeping up a frantic schedule at work.

    The key point I am trying to make is that the ‘economy’ is a construct. It is not that we use GDP to measure it, but rather that by measuring the economy as GDP we are defining it. We define it for economists, policy makers and the wider world. When you measure air-pressure with an instrument you are measuring an observable phenomenon which can then be defined and bracketed as you describe. The argument I want to make about the economy is that it is not observable. Similar to inflation it is a concept which we agree exists and we then set out measurements to define and measure it. GDP growth is economic growth because the economy is measured through GDP. When the UN revises the definition of GDP, the size of the economy changes (the software revision which I discuss in the concluding chapter added 0.7% to UK GDP over-night, and that affects all our empirical models and policy decisions).

    What I think is exciting, and which is the historical contribution, is that we have measured (and defined) the economy very differently over the last 400 years. One reason the US was reluctant to invest in military apparel in 1939 and 1940 was the fact that it would lead to a fall in national income. Why? Because the official – NBER, BEA, and Congress approved – method for measuring national income included private consumption and private investment, but excluded all public expenditure (excluding direct wage transfers) and so government investment would negatively impact growth. That is an (almost) alien concept to the 2011 economist who thinks of government expenditure as one part of final expenditure and therefore part of the economy. in 1939 US policy makers didn’t. (I tell the story of how that changed in chapters 8-9).

    Now go back and you find that the way that policy makers defined and measured the economy seems to have shaped their decisions, but more importantly – for my story – each iteration was backed by empirical investigations setting out how each generation measured their economy.

    I think we both agree that the economy exists. Actually, people in the UK (I argue) have agreed that there was such a thing as the economy since the early 1600s when they started to measure something beyond the monarch’s riches and his or her ‘glory’. There is a sphere of activity where prices are found and quantities exchanged, but there is an open question on what we should appropriately consider the economic realm. We have tweaked GNP and GDP several times in the last 60 years, but that has been mainly tweaking. Maybe it’s time to re-think the boundary? My point is that it’s been done a lot of times before as things change.

    Does that start to answer your question?

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