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Eduardo Wiesner's Contribution to Colombian Economic Thought
Jorge Iván González [pdf] [html]

[Key words: Eduardo Wiesner, Colombian economic thought, public policy, public choice; JEL: B31, H11, H50]

This article summarizes the main line thought of Eduardo Wiesner, who has greatly influenced Colombian public policy. Wiesner is aware of the most important discussions on contemporary economic theory and has been able to convert them into legislative proposals. He shows the importance of market incentives from different angles, without denying the central role of the institutions. His careful approach has not been reflected in the resulting laws, which end up contaminated by the simplistic spirit of technocracy. Wiesner studies the passage from individual choice to collective choice from the optic of public choice theory, and plays down the importance of the impossibilities derived from the social election theory. The article criticizes this option because it leads people to wrongly think that the market logic can be applied to a wide range of goods, including education and health.


The Concept of Liberty in Norberto Bobbio's Political Theory
Carlos Bernal Pulido [pdf] [html]

[Key Words: liberty, Norberto Bobbio, social rights; JEL: B30, K19]

This essay offers a critical reconstruction of Noberto Bobbio's concept of liberty. The historical and analytical review of his work leads to the identification of three descriptive uses of the concept of liberty: negative or liberal liberty, democratic liberty or autonomy, and positive liberty, of a socialist type. In the second part, the reaches and limitations of these three uses are commented on, highlighting the insufficiency of dichotomy between negative and positive liberty, the incompatibility of negative liberty with the legally and fundamentally reinforced idea of liberty consecrated in the Colombian Constitution and the foundation of social rights such as the realization of liberty, that in a State based on the rule and law can be based independently or as a means to be able to really exercise the liberties.

Fundamental Rights and Economic Consequences
Everaldo Lamprea M. [pdf] [html]

[Key words: deontological theories, consequencialist theories, Constitutional Court, economic jurisprudence; JEL: K10, K40]

This article explores the confrontation between deontological and consequencialist theories in the debate between jurists and economists regarding the Colombian Constitutional Court's jurisprudence. The main argument is that although the theories differ in many important points, they are not irreconcilable in their “integrated" versions. It shows that the Colombian Constitutional Court tends to adopt an “integrated" deontological view in its rulings on economic matters and that if the economic establishment used arguments derived from an integrated consequencialist view, the gap between jurists and economist's ways of thinking would begin to close.


Monetary Policy and Constitutional Court: the Minimum Wage Case
Marc Hofstetter
[pdf] [html]

ey words: monetary policy, Constitutional Court, minimum salary, inflation; JEL: E31, E32, E51, E58, K31]

In 1999 the Colombian Constitutional Court ruled that annual minimum wage increases should not be lower than the inflation of the previous year. This article explores the impact of this decision on the effectiveness of monetary policy, and shows that the obligation to adjust the salary to past inflation leads monetary policy to have more effect on real activity and generates more persistent inflation.

Understanding the Relationship between Institutions and Economic Development. Some Key Theoretical Issues
Ha-Joon Chang [pdf] [html]

[Key words: institutions, economic development, institutional forms and functions; JEL: B52, O10]

This paper discusses how the theory on the role of institutions in development can be improved, by critically examining the current orthodox discourse on institutions. To understand the relationship between institutions and economic development, it is necessary to have some balance between institutional forms and functions, and to accept its multi-faceted nature. It concludes that a successful institutional adaptation must be politically legitimated by the members of society and requires a better knowledge of the historical and contemporary experiences of each country.


Legal Institutions and Economic Growth: The Asian Experience
Germán Burgos [pdf] [html]

[Key words: legal institutions, formal institutions, informal institutions, economic growth; JEL: H10, O17, O49]

This article shows that the consensus about the importance of institutions for economic growth is derived from Weber and North, for whom legal institutions make it possible to predict the State's and economic agent's actions. For Weber, law based on formal rationality contributed to the development of capitalism, creating a safe environment for investment. For North, the limitation of State abuses guaranteed the establishment of property rights that promoted market expansion. This article tries to demonstrate that the experience of some Asian countries questions this consensus, as they reached high rates of growth without formal legal institutions to limit the abusive action of the State and to make its behaviour predictable.

Relations between Democracy and Development in the Andean Countries. A Political Economy Approach
Édgard Moncayo Jiménez
[pdf] [html]

[Key words: democracy, development, income distribution, political economy; JEL: H11, O15]

Democratic governance during the last two decades in the Andean countries contrasts sharply with low levels of economic growth and the increase in unemployment and poverty. This essay argues that the Gordian knot of this paradox is the high level of inequality in income distribution. This inequality is the cause and consequence of the malfunctioning of the economic and the political system, since economic elites control political power and create institutions and policies that reflect the interests of the wealthy rather than the common interest. This creates a vicious circle in which “controlled" democracy reproduces and expands the inequalities that bore it.

Dilemmas of an Economic Theorist
Ariel Rubinstein
[pdf] [html]

[Key Words: dilemmas, economic theory, absurd conclusions, relevance; JEL: A11, A13]

What on earth are economic theorists like me trying to accomplish? The paper discusses four dilemmas encountered by an economic theorist: i) the dilemma of absurd conclusions: should we abandon a model if it produces absurd conclusions or should we regard a model as a very limited set of assumptions which will inevitably fail in some contexts?; ii) the dilemma of responding to evidence: should our models be judged according to experimental results?; iii) the dilemma of model-less regularities: should models provide the hypothesis for testing or are they simply exercises in logic which have no use in identifying regularities?, and iv) the dilemma of relevance: do we have the right to offer advice or to make statements which are intended to influence the real world?

The Argentinean Firms indebtedness in an Economic Crisis (1983-1991)
Sergio A. Berumen y Fabio Bagnasco Petrelli [pdf] [html]

[Key words: Argentinean firms, indebtedness, economic crisis, autofinancing; JEL: F32, G31, G32]

The significant number of banking credits granted to the Argentinean firms during the period 1983-1991 makes it necessary to study the causes of this serious debt. This article analyses the weakness of the self-financing rate and the effect of external support, as well as the effects related with the economic environment that encouraged this debt. Agency and information theories, at the macroeconomic level, are used to fulfil this objective.


Revista de Economía Institucional
Universidad Externado de Colombia
Cra. 1 No. 12-68 Casa de las Mandolinas
Bogotá, Colombia
(571) 2826066 ext. 1307

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