William Paul Bell Queensland University Researcher

Why is mainstream economics not a social science but ideological mathematics?

Posts Tagged ‘science

Inclusive growth and climate change adaptation and mitigation in Australia and China: Removing barriers to solving wicked problems

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acc_logo_strip_col_bannerThis reports aims to assist the Sino-Australian bilateral relationship adapt to meet China’s new policies and to facilitate a smoother transition to a low carbon future.  Southwest University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE), Chengdu, China and the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia held a workshop at SWUFE to develop a guide to China’s low-carbon policies and their implications for the Sino-Australian energy trade and sectors.  This report results from the workshop.  Chapter 3 contains the guide to China’s low emission policies and discusses market-based experiments within China’s command-and-control electricity sector.  Chapter 4 discusses Australia’s poorly implemented neoliberal policies within its energy sector and provides an informative market-based case study for China on what to avoid.  Chapter 2 discusses the implications of Australia and China’s low emission policies. Chapter 5 discusses barriers to the transition to a low emissions economy.

Climate change is one of the world’s major challenges.  Others include increasing inequality and poor economic growth, creating a decline in inclusive growth.  Declining inclusive growth and climate change are interrelated wicked problems.  Their solution is technically and economically viable given appropriate investment but the absence of a price on carbon in Australia is a major obstacle to directing investment consistent with a low emissions future.

Australia is transitioning from a mining to a more service orientated economy.  However, Australia’s uncoordinated energy and climate change policy and poorly implemented neoliberal policies in the energy sector are undermining investment confidence and hindering both inclusive growth and the transition to a lower emissions economy.  Energy and climate change policies need bring together to restore investment confidence within the electricity sector.  The Integrated Systems Plan has gone some way to address this problem.  Similarly, Australia’s uncoordinated growth and climate change policies are hindering inclusive growth and the transition to a lower emissions economy.  Growth and climate change policies need bringing together to engender confidence and direct investment compatible with a low emissions future.  Notably, Infrastructure Australia has gone some way to address this issue at the national level but the lack of transparency and independence in other jurisdictions undermines Infrastructure Australia’s effectiveness.

Poor policy coordination is also hindering solutions to a host of other interrelated wicked problems.  These wicked problems include massive increases in retail electricity prices, private school fees and private health insurance, the inability to undertake major tax reform, such as introducing a tax on sugar or carbon or introduce road user charges to replace the declining revenue from fuel excise duty.  There is ample and sound evidence-based research to solve these wicked problems but there is an inability to enact policy in the interest of the electorate.

The key findings of this report are four common barriers to enacting policy to solve these wicked problems.

(1) Political donations present a conflict of interest.

(2) Adversarial politics and political wedging reduce the ability to address complex problems.

(3) There is an absence of academic economists informing the public debate to provide impartial advice.

(4) Unrealistic models of the economy and human behaviour are misinforming policy.


Formation of the World Economics Association (WEA) a positive outcome from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC)

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One positive aspect of the global financial crisis (GFC) is the clarity of the failure of neoclassical economics to predict the crisis and of its complicity in fermenting the crisis.  This clarity of failure and complicity is positive because failure is a source of learning that is to take a new direction away from the neoclassical favoured by the American Economics Association and its journals and their hold on the profession. The newly formed World Economics Association  (WEA) provides the economics profession such an avenue.  An open letter to join the association is below. Read the rest of this entry »

Real Business Cycle (RBC) and Rational Expectations Hypothesis (REH) contributing to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and the Dynamite Prize

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This article discusses how neoclassical economics has contributed to the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).   In particular, how two neoclassical theories, the Real Business Cycle (RBC) and the Rational Expectations Hypothesis (REH) contributed to the GFC and how these theories are false and unscientific.

Edward C. Prescott and Finn E. Kydland were awarded the 2004 Nobel prize in economics for their work in developing the RBC and Robert E. Lucas Jr. was awarded the 1995 Nobel prize in economics for developing the REH. They have been nominated for The Dynamite Prize in Economics that is to be awarded to the three economists who contributed most to enabling the GFC.  The Dynamite Prize in Economics nominates Prescott and Kydland ‘for jointly developing and popularizing “Real Business Cycle” theory, which by omitting the role of credit greatly diminished the economics profession’s understanding of dynamic macroeconomic processes’ and nominates Lucas for ‘his development of the rational expectations hypothesis, which defined rationality as the capacity to accurately predict the future, both served to maintain Friedman’s proposition that monetary factors do not affect the real economy and, in the name of “rigor”, distanced economics even further from reality than Friedman had thought possible.’ Read the rest of this entry »

G8 or G20 Protests and Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) modelling and its Dual Instability Problem

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This article discusses why Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) models are important to the G8 or G20 protests and why CGE models are unsuitable for policy analysis for the following two reasons, CGE lacking microfoundations and the dual instability problem.

First, why are CGE models important to the G8 or G20 protests?  An example of a global CGE model is the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP 2009) coordinated by the Centre for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.  GTAP (2009) claims that their model provides a common language for global economic analysis; they cite the use of GTAP in three of the five quantitative studies at the 1995 conference of the WTO’s Uruguay Round Agreement and in virtually all the quantitative work for the 1999 Millennium Round of Multilateral Trade.  This example indicates the credibility and perceived importance of CGE. Read the rest of this entry »

Hormonal Male Traders producing a Momentum Effect contrary to the Efficient Market Hypothesis and Rational Choice

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Coates and Herbert (2008) study the role of the endocrine system in financial risk taking in a group of male traders in London. They find a positive relationship between a trader’s testosterone level and his daily Profit and Loss (P&L) and between his cortisol level and financial uncertainty, being measured by variance of economics returns and expected variance of the market. They note that rational choice is affected by the levels of the hormones. The more profits the trader made relative to his daily average the higher his testosterone became. Heightened testosterone increases a trader’s preference for risk. The process has a positive feedback, producing a financial variant of the “winner effect”. Additionally, short periods of high volatility increase a trader’s cortisol levels, which increase his motivation and his ability to focus, producing a euphoric feeling. However, prolonged period of elevated cortisol levels produce selective attention on mostly negative events and anxiety, reducing a trader’s preference for risk. Even if the number of traders is small, these hormonal effects could reinforce the momentum effect and cause markets to deviate from rational choice and the predictions of the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH). Read the rest of this entry »

EU acknowledges the failure of traditional economics to predict so adopts agent based modelling

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“This long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again.”
— John Maynard Keynes
A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923), 80.

Traditional economics has failed to predict the knock on effects of the financial crisis says the EU. The Eurace project is designed to remedy this failure, which uses an agent based modelling methodology as an alternative to the rational representative agent model that is a cornerstone of neoclassical economics.  The post Progressing from game theory to agent based modelling to simulate social emergence further discusses agent based modelling.   Read the rest of this entry »