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Author Archives: Maria Alejandra Madi

The advent of digital economy creates new challenges for businesses, workers, and policymakers. Moreover, business prospects for artificial intelligence and machine learning are evolving quickly. These technologies have transforming implications for all industries, businesses of all sizes, and societies. The digitalization of economic activities calls for a deep reflection on the forces that will shape the future of the global economy.

The objective of this conference, led by Prof. Maria Alejandra Madi and Dr. Malgorzata Dereniowska, is to discuss recent contributions to the understanding of digital economy and its consequences for business trends and labour challenges. The conference also focuses on bridging the gap between different economic theoretical approaches and the practical applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The Conference calls for a focused reflection on the benefits and risks of the high-tech revolution is an important element of shaping sustainable business and just labor. Related topics include law, ethics, safety, and governance.

Topics include (but are not limited to):

The gig economy and recent economic theoretical approaches: advances and challenges.
Internet of Things in retrospect and today.
Machine learning: integration of people and machine learning in online systems.
Consumer transactions and Big Analytics.
Time Series Data & Data for Prediction in Economics.
Business Transformations though Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence.
Impact of artificial intelligence on business and society: automation of jobs and the future of job creation
Artificial intelligence for manufacturing: today and tomorrow.
Disruptive innovation and transforming industries: telecom, finance, and travel/transportation, logistics, etc.
Machine learning and eco-challenges.
E-government, e-democracy and e-justice.
Ethical and legal issues of artificial intelligence technology and its applications.
Digital economy and economic inequality.
The impact of the digital economy on competition and economic growth.
We welcome submissions from scholars working in economics, law, political science, psychology, philosophy, and sociology.

We also welcome contributions from business executives responsible for AI initiatives, heads of innovation, data scientists, data analysts, staticians, AI consultants and service providers, and students.

KEY DATES

Papers submission: October  30th 2019.

Welcome

Discussion Forum: November 11th – December 9th 2019.

CONTACT

Maria Alejandra Madi alejandra_madi@yahoo.com.br

Małgorzata Dereniowska malgorzata.dereniowska@gmail.com

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To understand economics means to be equipped with the intellectual tools allowing us to appreciate the dynamic and complex nature of the capitalist markets. This understanding can be better acquired through engaging on the importance of pluralism in economic education, and reviewing critical economic issues from alternative perspectives.

The Center for Market Education invites to submit abstracts for the 1st Colloquium on Economics Education which will be held at The Saujana Hotel (www.saujanahotels.com) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 10-12 December 2019.

The theme of the conference is Issues in Contemporary Economics Education. Abstracts can deal with the following topics:

  1. issues deriving from a standardized economics education and in particular with the unique predominance of the neoclassical paradigm after World War II;
  2. the enrichment for students and the academic community that can derive from a pluralistic approach in general and from the contributions that can be delivered by specifics heterodox schools;
  3. the importance of economic history and history of economic thought for a sound economic analysis;
  4. the importance of epistemological foundations and multidisciplinarity.

The event is planned as a colloquium and not as a traditional academic conference. Abstracts and/or papers will be distributed in advance in order to facilitate an interactive discussion during the colloquium.

Ten papers will be selected for presentation on the basis of the abstracts. Conference participation is free of charge and the  Center for Market Education will cover accommodation (two nights) and meal expenses, while the travel expenses are covered by the participants.

The papers can be submitted after the conference for publication on MarketEdu, the official journal promoted by the Center for Market Education (www.marketedu.ideas.org.my) that is  an academic and educational initiative supported by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).

The Colloquium is peculiarly designed for: academicians in the field of economics and related social sciences and post-graduate students.

Abstracts can be submitted to carmelo@ideas.org.my before 1 November 2019.

 

To understand economics means to be equipped with the intellectual tools allowing us to appreciate the dynamic and complex nature of the capitalist markets. This understanding can be better acquired through engaging on the importance of pluralism in economic education, and reviewing critical economic issues from alternative perspectives.

The Center for Market Education invites to submit abstracts for the 1st Colloquium on Economics Education which will be held at The Saujana Hotel (www.saujanahotels.com) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 10-12 December 2019.

The theme of the conference is Issues in Contemporary Economics Education. Abstracts can deal with the following topics:

  1. issues deriving from a standardized economics education and in particular with the unique predominance of the neoclassical paradigm after World War II;
  2. the enrichment for students and the academic community that can derive from a pluralistic approach in general and from the contributions that can be delivered by specifics heterodox schools;
  3. the importance of economic history and history of economic thought for a sound economic analysis;
  4. the importance of epistemological foundations and multidisciplinarity.

The event is planned as a colloquium and not as a traditional academic conference. Abstracts and/or papers will be distributed in advance in order to facilitate an interactive discussion during the colloquium.

Ten papers will be selected for presentation on the basis of the abstracts. Conference participation is free of charge and the  Center for Market Education will cover accommodation (two nights) and meal expenses, while the travel expenses are covered by the participants.

The papers can be submitted after the conference for publication on MarketEdu, the official journal promoted by the Center for Market Education (www.marketedu.ideas.org.my) that is  an academic and educational initiative supported by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).

The Colloquium is peculiarly designed for: academicians in the field of economics and related social sciences and post-graduate students.

Abstracts can be submitted to carmelo@ideas.org.my before 1 November 2019.

Against a rationalist top down approach to policy making, the evidence-informed policy and practice has rapidly evolved in the last two decades.

In this line of research, a new book What Works Now? Evidence-informed Policy and Practice has been edited by Annette Boaz, Huw Davies, Alec Fraser and Sandra Nutley.  It offers not only a synthesis of the role of evidence in policy making but also an analysis of its use in recent economic models and practices in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Canada and the United States. In addition to the diversity of policy and practice settings where evidence is sought and gets applied, the book considers policy examples related to healthcare, social care, criminal justice, education, environment and international development.. At the core of the argument regarding the actual relevance of ‘know-about’, ‘know-what works’, ‘know-how’, ‘know-who’ and ‘know-why’ is the belief that evidence matters.

Considering this policy scenario, the relevant question at stake is  what are the implications of the new policy design practices that mainly rely on the belief that evidence matters?

What is important to note is that behind the belief that evidence matters is a deep transformation of the public policy approach  towards a more experimental and empirical one.

At this respect, in the UK, the Nudge Unit leader David Halpern recently suggested the conceptualization of experimental government  in order to characterize the new approach to policy making based on evidence. The relevance of the potential outcomes of  systematic testing is clear in Halpern’s words:

Governments, public bodies and businesses regularly make changes to what they do. Sometimes these changes are very extensive, such as when welfare systems are reformed, school curricula are overhauled, or professional guidelines are changed. No doubt those behind the changes think they are for the best. But without systematic testing, this is often little more than an educated guest. To me, this preparedness to make a change affecting millions of people, without testing it is potentially far more unacceptable than the alternative of running trials that affect a small number of people before imposing the change to everyone. 

At the heart of his proposal about “what works best” in public policy is the use of evidence as a regular practice to select the measures that actually operate in a more efficient  way.  Moreover, no  ethical considerations about the efficient methods and goals in policy making are added to his explanation.

Taking into account the methodologies that support some policy practices that favour inductive reasoning and randomized control trials of impact evaluation (RCTs), there is a controversy around the utilization of these attempts to build experimental programmes or policy intervention. For instance, Deaton and Cartwright (2016) pointed out that there are misunderstandings around what the RCTs can really do. For them, the inductive techniques used in research do not guarantee that the relevant causal factors are taken into account across sample groups in any specified RCT. Therefore, the results of the inference pocess might be wrong. Indeed, the outcomes of RCTs can be challenged ex post, after examining the composition of the control group and the factors considered in the experimental setting. Moreover, Deaton and Cartwright also rejected the transportation of the outcoems of RCTs to other contexts since the relations of causality between variables is always context-dependent.

As the decision-making policy process in the real world relies on institutional factors that may be different elsewhere, the methodology based on RCTs does not provide a credible basis for policy making. In short, the outcomes of inductive investigation can never be completely transported across time and space.

Moreover, economists Steven D. Levitt and John A. List (2007) highlighted that human behaviour in RCTs can be affected by the selection of the individuals, the evaluation of their actions by others, and ethical issues. Then, the findings in a laboratory setting may overestimate or underestimate the effectiveness of policy interventions within real life interactions. In other words, if a policy intervention “works” and makes people better off in a laboratory, there is no guarantee that this intervention may actually do so in the real-world.

In fact, the methodology of RCTs runs the risk of considering worthless casual relationships as relevant causalities in the attempt to develop policy recommendations. In short, the use of the outcomes of RCTs as normative orientations for policy making should be put in question.

“What works” in the “sterile” environment of a laboratory does not necessarily work in a real-world where social interactions and the dynamics of institutions are overwhelmed by power relations. Therefore, ethical considerations should be considered in any attemp to  build policy proposals.

Indeed, the transformation of the economic policy approach has evidently been a remarkable one. It is worth recalling the words of Lars Syll about the current sad state of economics as a science,

A science that doesn’t self-reflect and asks important methodological and science-theoretical questions about the own activity, is a science in dire straits. The main reason why mainstream economics has increasingly become more and more useless as a public policy instrument is to be found in its perverted view on the value of methodology.

 

 

References
Boaz, A, Davies, H., Fraser, A and Nutley, S. (eds) What Works Now? Evidence-informed Policy and Practice.. Policy Press. 2019.,
Deaton, A. and Cartwright, N. (2016). Understanding and misunderstanding randomized controlled trials. NBER Working Paper No. 22595.
Halpern, D. (2015). Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference. London: WH Allen.
Levitt, S. D. and List, J. A. (2007). What do laboratory experiments measuring social preferences reveal about the real world? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21 (2): 153–174.
Madi, M.A.C (2019). The Dark side of Nudges. London: Routledge.
Sill, L. (2019=. Economics becomes more precise and rigorous — and totally useless
April 4. https://rwer.wordpress.com/2019/04/04/economics-becomes-more-precise-and-rigorous-and-totally-useless/

In order to highlight the significance of a more experimental and empirical approach to public policy, UK Nudge Unit leader David Halpern suggested the notion of experimental government in 2015. The relevance of the experimental government can be noted in Halpern’s words:

Governments, public bodies and businesses regularly make changes to what they do. Sometimes these changes are very extensive, such as when welfare systems are reformed, school curricula are overhauled, or professional guidelines are changed. No doubt those behind the changes think they are for the best. But without systematic testing, this is often little more than an educated guest. To me, this preparedness to make a change affecting millions of people, without testing it is potentially far more unacceptable than the alternative of running trials that affect a small number of people before imposing the change to everyone.

The randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are at the heart of figuring out “what works best” in public policy after using tests as a routine policy and practice. As a result, while governments could gradually determine the measures that actually operate, policymakers could manage the outcomes of studies that could be deemed more or less efficient

Considering the controversies around the institutional sterility of the RTCs and the laboratory environment, one of the main questions at stake is: why we cannot transport the results of RCTs to policy contexts?

Deaton and Cartwright (2016) pointed out that there are misunderstandings around what the RCTs can really do. For them, the induction technique does not guarantee that appropriate causal factors are taken into account across sample groups in any specified RCT. Therefore, the results of the process of inference might be wrong. Indeed, the results of RCTs can be challenged ex post, after examining the composition of the control group and the factors considered in the experimental setting.

Deaton and Cartwright also dismissed the transportation of RCT results to other contexts since the causality of the results is always context-dependent. The decision-making process in experimental environments therefore relies on contextual factors that may be different elsewhere. Therefore, empirical economics does not provide a credible basis for economic theory and policy by relying on inductive investigation techniques that can never be completely transported across time and space

Moreover, economists Steven D. Levitt and John A. List (2007) highlighted that human behaviour in RCTs can be affected by the selection of the individuals, the context, the evaluation of actions by others, and ethical issues. Then, the findings in a laboratory setting may overestimate or underestimate the outcomes of real life interactions.

In other words, if an intervention “works” and makes people better off in the laboratory, there is no guarantee that this intervention will actually do so in the real-world. As a matter of fact, RCTs run the risk of considering worthless casual relationships as causalities in the attempt to theorize on economic issues. In short, without understanding why the effects work on society, the results of the RTCs cannot be transferred and the normative results of economic studies are challenged.

From a critical point of view, Michel Foucault (1981) emphasized that human beings are trapped in practices of domination that affect their subjectivities in the context of historical social relations, practices and institutions. His philosophical contribution calls for a reflection on both history and mechanisms of power to build economic theories and policies.

Indeed, in economics while considered as a social science, “what works” in the laboratory does not necessarily work in the real-world.

 

References

Deaton, A. and Cartwright, N. (2016). Understanding and misunderstanding randomized controlled trials. NBER Working Paper No. 22595.

Foucault, M. (1981). As Palavras e as Coisas (The Words and the Things). Coleção Tópicos. São Paulo: Martins Fontes.

Halpern, D. (2015). Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference. London: WH Allen.

Levitt, S. D. and List, J. A. (2007). What do laboratory experiments measuring social preferences reveal about the real world? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21 (2): 153–174.

Madi, M.A.C (2019). The Dark side of Nudges. London: Routledge.

The advent of digital economy creates new challenges for businesses, workers, and policymakers. Moreover, business prospects for artificial intelligence and machine learning are evolving quickly. These technologies have transforming implications for all industries, businesses of all sizes, and societies. The digitalization of economic activities calls for a deep reflection on the forces that will shape the future of the global economy.

The objective of this conference, led by Prof. Maria Alejandra Madi and Dr. Malgorzata Dereniowska, is to discuss recent contributions to the understanding of digital economy and its consequences for business trends and labour challenges. The conference also focuses on bridging the gap between different economic theoretical approaches and the practical applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The Conference calls for a focused reflection on the benefits and risks of the high-tech revolution is an important element of shaping sustainable business and just labor. Related topics include law, ethics, safety, and governance.

Topics include (but are not limited to):

  1. The gig economy and recent economic theoretical approaches: advances and challenges.
  2. Internet of Things in retrospect and today.
  3. Machine learning: integration of people and machine learning in online systems.
  4. Consumer transactions and Big Analytics.
  5. Time Series Data & Data for Prediction in Economics.
  6. Business Transformations though Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence.
  7. Impact of artificial intelligence on business and society: automation of jobs and the future of job creation
  8. Artificial intelligence for manufacturing: today and tomorrow.
  9. Disruptive innovation and transforming industries: telecom, finance, and travel/transportation, logistics, etc.
  10. Machine learning and eco-challenges.
  11. E-government, e-democracy and e-justice.
  12. Ethical and legal issues of artificial intelligence technology and its applications.
  13. Digital economy and economic inequality.
  14. The impact of the digital economy on competition and economic growth.

We welcome submissions from scholars working in economics, law, political science, psychology, philosophy, and sociology.

We also welcome contributions from business executives responsible for AI initiatives, heads of innovation, data scientists, data analysts, staticians, AI consultants and service providers, and students.

 

KEY DATES

Papers submission: October 20th 2019.

Welcome

Discussion Forum: November 11th – December 9th 2019.

 

CONTACT

Maria Alejandra Madi alejandra_madi@yahoo.com.br

Małgorzata Dereniowska malgorzata.dereniowska@gmail.com

 

 

Throughout the last decades, the nominal interest rate became the dominant monetary policy instrument. Looking backward, the early 1980s proved to be a transition period in terms of monetary policy. After the monetarist experiences of Thatcher and Reagan, there was a pragmatic shift from the supply of the monetary base to the interest rate as monetary policy instrument. The recognition that the control of the monetary base could not only impose extreme volatility to the interest rate but also deeply affect the whole economy challenged, in fact, the previously stable empirical relationship between money supply, demand for money, prices, and income supported by Milton Friedman.

At the theoretical level, the so-called “New Consensus in Macroeconomics” favoured the short-term interest rate as the policy instrument in conjunction with inflation targeting. The new-Keynesian so-called “Taylor rule” has increasingly turned out to be adopted by central banks to manage the interest rate as the policy instrument. In this policy approach, the central bank, mainly through open market operations, sets the short-term interest rate in order to adjust its level in response to changes in inflation and output. In a framework of capital account openness, however, the autonomy of monetary policy, aimed to stabilize prices, subordinates the fiscal budget.

After the global financial crisis, academic economists and policy makers have actively participated in the debate on monetary policy. After the bail-outs, central banks in the US and European Union focused on lender-of-last-resort program extensions and dealt with multiple challenges: how to prevent a recessionary downturn, how to avoid asset and credit bubbles and inflationary pressures. The unprecedented actions of the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and the Bank of England, for example, suggest the need to rethink the traditional scope of the lender of last resort. The scope of the recent central banks’ interventions has been expanded in order to include not only the provision of liquidity as lender of last resort, but also to include the expansion of repurchase agreements as buyer of last resort and the supply of liquidity to specific markets  as market maker of last resort.

The modern Keynesian literature emphasizes that, even if increasing the current money supply has no effect, monetary policy is far from ineffective at zero interest rates. What is important, however, is not the current money supply but managing expectations about the future nominal and real interest rates. Thus, recent research indicates that monetary policy is far from being ineffective at zero bound levels, but it worked mainly through expectations. So far, the key-issue is how very low or negative interest rates translate into improved growth rates since austerity programs are biased towards entrenching mass unemployment and introducing anti-social structural reforms.

The debate about the appropriate policies to achieve economic growth has been recently fuelled by the advocates of the MMT (Modern Monetary Theory). According to Warren Mosler, for instance, the mainstream version of fiscal responsibility is based on false premises. In his view, MMT provides new guidelines for the fiscal position for governments since the role of   fiscal policy is to ensure there is no spending gap. Fiscal interventions, through direct government spending and/or a tax cut to increase private disposable income, aim to create demand and provide enough jobs for all the workers who desire to work. Therefore, a zero spending gap occurs when the level of national income is a full employment

Against the Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment (NAIRU) that refers to the concept of full employment irrespective of how many workers are unemployed or underemployed, the MMT advocates propose the NAIBER – the Non-Accelerating Inflation Buffer Employment Ratio. The concept of NAIBER, designed by the economists Bill Mitchell and Warren Mosler, is associated to the idea of a Job Guarantee programme managed by the government in order to hire unemployed workers as an employer of last resort (ELR). Beyond negative rates and quantitative easing, MMT specifies a new discipline for the fiscal policy: if the goal is full employment and price stability, then the full-employment fiscal deficit condition has to be met.

Although the idea of ELR is not new, the current debate on price stability  considers the creation of jobs at the center of policy making.  Against mainstream economics, it is urgent to develop alternatives to face the social challenges of unemployment, underemployment, informality and poverty at large scale.