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ACE Working Papers

This working papers series exists to promote scholarship, encourage academic discussion within ACE, expand the circulation of works-in-progress beyond our own membership, and ultimately move papers into the established professional journals.

Most papers in the series may be downloaded directly from this page. Paper copies of ACE Working Papers may be obtained from the series editor:

Kurt C. Schaefer
Calvin College, 1740 Knollcrest Circle S.E..
Grand Rapids, MI USA 49546-4403

Fax: 616-526-8410
Phone/Voicemail: 616-526-6298
Email: Click Here

To see the submission guidelines for authors of potential working papers, click here.



Current Working Papers

Andrew Yuengert (Pepperdine University) “Why Did the Economist Cross the Road? The Hierarchical Logic of Ethical and Economic Reasoning” 2000.
The purpose of this article is to explain the Thomistic approach to human behavior and its moral implications, and to use this approach to shed light on the positive-normative split in economics. Economists often give truncated justifications for their activities as economists out or fear that “ethical” considerations will render their conclusions unscientific; the Thomistic account of their behavior grants a limited autonomy to the economist’s activities qua economists, but places the analysis within a moral framework where ethical considerations can be discussed.
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Andrew Yuengert (Pepperdine University) “The Common Good for Economists.” 2000.
This article explores the “common good” tradition within Catholic social teaching, aiming to make the concept of the common good accessible to economists whose training tends toward methodological individualism and emotivism.
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Andrew Yuengert (Pepperdine University) “The Positive-Normative Distinction Before the Fact-Value Distinction” 2000.
This paper outlines the classical relationship between ethics and economics. This relationship is “classical” in the sense that it is rooted in Aristotle and was the common way in which 19th-century economists saw their field’s relations to ethics. By outlining the classical distinction and its commonsense logic, the author hopes to throw light on current controversies about things positive and normative.
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Edd Noell (Westmont College), "Racial Discrimination, Police Power and the 1964 Civil Rights Act in Richard Epstein's Forbidden Grounds: An Evaluation of The Case Against Discrimination Laws" 1998.
In Forbidden Grounds Richard Epstein makes a provocative argument for the abolishment of the federal employment antidiscrimination laws. This paper considers the economic basis for Epstein's libertarian account of the proper scope of government's police power and the role it plays in his evaluation of Supreme Court rulings. Focusing on the interaction between substantive due process and police powers in the period from 1896 to 1937, it is argued that Epstein correctly critiques the Jim Crow constitutional decisions in that they inconsistently broadened police powers to serve the ends of mandatory racial segregation against the principles of economic liberty. However, Epstein fails to sufficiently account for the elements of the common law tradition which do tolerate a broader scope for police powers beyond matters of nuisance and fraud. Other questions addressed include: To what extent may employment markets be relied upon to eliminate unnecessary private discrimination? How might a Christian economist evaluate the need for federal laws prohibiting racial discrimination in light of Epstein's analysis? The paper concludes with a consideration of why Christian economists should think more carefully about the relation between economic liberty and tolerance of the taste for discrimination.
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Andrew M. Yuengert (Pepperdine University), "Rational Choice with Passion: Virtue in a Model of Rational Addiction," 1996.
The author introduces a conflict between reason and passion into a model of rational addiction. The preferences of both reason and passion are specified. Passion's utility is affected by past consumption of the addictive good. The assumption of rationality is retained, but assumptions of full consumer competence are not, yielding an explanation for budget-shrinking behaviors and a rationale for policies that limit access to addictive goods.
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Douglas W. Allen (University of British Columbia), "Free Will vs. Predestination: An Economic Application" 1995.
The author aims to raise a religious topic before secular audiences by using it as an example of the application of basic economic principles. He argues that there is a consistency between some predestinarian positions and some neoclassical analyses of choice.
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Eric A. Latimer and Nancy Kane (Harvard University), "Paying Physicians for their Practice Expenses Under the Medicare Fee Schedule: Incentive and Equity Considerations" 1994.
Discusses the various proposals to redefine practice cost under the Medicare fee schedule, paying particular attention to the equity of the income redistributions they imply and the incentives they generate for physicians.
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Stephen T. Worland (University of Notre Dame, emeritus), "The Right and the Good: the Retrieval of Welfare Economics" 1994.
Addresses the debate about the moral legitimacy of liberal institutions, and welfare economics' place in this debate, through careful consideration of the relationship between "the good" and "the right."
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Jim Halteman (Wheaton College), "The Role of Values in Post-Modern Economics" 1994.
Introduces the changes in worldview that have come to be called "post-modern," discusses their relationship to previous dominant worldviews, and considers the effect of post-modernism on economics and the potential contributions of economics to our post-modern situation.
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Roland Hoksbergen (Calvin College), "Centesimus Annus: A Neo-Calvinist Critique" 1992.
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Joseph M. Phillips (Creighton University), "Centesimus Annus: New Things, Not New Principles" 1992.
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Andrew W. Foshee (McNeese State University), "Centesimus Annus and the Political Economy of the Third Way" 1991.
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Donald Hay (Oxford University), "The Public Joint-Stock Company: Blessing or Curse?" 1991.
The paper presents a critical evaluation of the public joint-stock company in the light of Biblical-ethical principles. These principles are derived with respect to the stewardship of resources, the spreading of risk and the nature of the firm as an organization. Standard arguments in favor of the joint-stock company are rehearsed. The evaluation suggests that the attribution of ownership rights in the company to the stockholders gives rise to ethical difficulties. These could be avoided, without losing the advantages of the joint-stock model, if the company were to be formally reconstituted as a "public trust."
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Paul Heyne (University of Washington), "Controlling Stories: On the Mutual Influence of Religious Narratives and Economic Explanations" 1991.
Are the stories that economists tell when they are doing economics ever influenced in important ways by the stories these same economists rehearse when they are engaged in religious practices? Are the religious narratives that economists hear and repeat ever modified by the stories they are accustomed to telling in their work as economists? My views on all this are apparently idiosyncratic. Let me try to spell out the main conclusions in advance. It is generally admitted without much argument that conclusions about economic policy are affected by religious beliefs, because policy conclusions require value judgments and religious beliefs generate value judgments. I think it would be a good idea to admit less and argue more, for the nature of this influence is far from clear. It seems to me that Milton Friedman was quite correct when he hypothesized (in his influential essay on "The Methodology of Positive Economics") that disagreements about economic policy are more often rooted in disagreements about how economic systems function than in conflicting value judgments. If this is the case, how, by what process, do religious narratives influence economic policy judgments? I shall argue that religious narratives affect economic policy preferences indirectly, through their influence on conception of how economic systems function. In other words, people use their theology to choose the economics to which they will subscribe.
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Laurence R. Iannaccone (University of Santa Clara) "Fundamentalism and Economics in the US" 1991.
If one were to have the average American describe the economic views of fundamentalists in a single word, that word undoubtedly would be "conservative." If one were to elicit a more elaborate description it would probably read as follows: "Theological and economic conservatism go hand in hand. Theologically conservative Protestants are staunch defenders of market capitalism. They denounce every form of socialism, reject paternalistic government spending programs, and advocate free enterprise as the solution to virtually every economic problem." The truth, however, is both different and more complex. This essay attempts to document and explain this surprising state of affairs. This study concerns what might be termed "formal economics." It investigates what theologically conservative Protestants have to say about the production of commodities, the nature of markets, the economic impact of government, and the growth and distribution of a society's income.
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Gregory A. Krohn (Bucknell University) "A Short-Run Economic Model of Religious Congregations" 1991.
Religious organizations are prominent in the nonprofit sector of the United States, but their economic behavior has received little systematic study. This situation is regrettable in light of two developments. One is the public policy debate concerning the privatization of social welfare programs, which intensified during the 1980s. The desirability of reducing the government's role in antipoverty programs depends, in part, on how private institutions would respond to such policy change. Predicting the response of religious congregations seems particularly important given their history of funding and providing social services. Another development pointing to the need for more knowledge about the economics of religious congregations is the declining trend in the percentage of receipts donated by Protestant congregations to denominational and other organizations. This is adversely affecting the ability of denominational organizations to support overseas missions, social services, and other activities. To the extent that it is related to the growth in government transfer payments experienced during the 1960s and 1970s, explaining the decline in "benevolences" may also benefit the discussions of privatization of social welfare programs. In an effort to understand better how external forces affect their behavior, this paper presents and analyzes an economic model of religious congregations. Once it is estimated, the model may help to explain how congregations have responded to changes in income, prices, membership, social conditions, and government policy, and to predict their responses to such changes in the future.

Paul Morgan and Edd Noell (Westmont College) "Capitalism and Liberation Theology in Latin America" 1991.
This paper examines the hostility toward markets found in Latin America. We address some of the potential sources of the animus towards capitalism found in the writings of the leading liberation theologians of Latin America. It is our thesis that this hostility is misdirected. Capitalism has been fundamentally misunderstood. We will explore the reason for this misunderstanding by considering attitudes toward market capitalism among some development economists. Then we turn to an examination of the concept of capitalism utilized by Latin American liberation theologians. We compare and contrast this understanding of capitalism with that found in modern economics. Next we rely upon the economist's more formal understanding of capitalism to examine the issues of land use, freedom of enterprise and occupational entry, rent-seeking, the formal and informal economies, price controls, and international markets in terms of the Latin American experience. Finally, we draw some conclusions with regard to measures to bring about improvements in the living standards for the poor of Latin America.
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Andrew Yuengert (Pepperdine University) "Jewish and Christian Perspectives on the Theory and Practice of Economics" 1991.
Any successful incorporation of moral considerations into economic analysis must overcome the fundamental differences in the way economists and theologians view human beings and human community. This essay attempts to bridge the gulf between moral theology and economics. The bridge is built by and for economists; as a result, it reflects the attempts of an economist to make the insights of religious leaders intelligible to other economists. The task is twofold. First, the paradigm of economics must be simply and clearly exposited, to provide a clear and common frame of references. Section two draws this clearly defined target. Second, a sample of moral criticism must be placed within the defined framework. Section three accomplishes this task. Section four offers some concluding observations. The moral considerations used as examples are drawn from Roman Catholic and Orthodox Jewish sources. No slight is intended to other Christian and Jewish traditions, or to other religions. These two traditions are, however, obvious choices, given the extensive body of Roman Catholic social teaching, and several thousand years of Orthodox Jewish teaching and practical applications of the Law.



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Updated 29 July 2010