G.C. Harcourt’s review of Advancing the Frontiers of the Heterodox Economics: Essays in Honor of Frederic S. Lee (2015)

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Frederic S. Lee and His Fight for the Future of Heterodox Economics

Jo, Tae-Hee (2016): “Frederic S. Lee and His Fight for the Future of Heterodox Economics.” PSL Quarterly Review, Vol. 69, No. 278 (September), pp. 267-278. Download


Frederic S. Lee (1949-2014) was a dedicated captain of the heterodox economics movement over the past thirty years. In his unfaltering fight for the future of heterodox economics, Lee contributed to both the development of heterodox microeconomic theory and the establishment of a global community of heterodox economists. This short tribute delineates Lee’s unique and important contribution that should be remembered and renewed in order to reproduce heterodox economics.


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Seminar on “Public Finance and Institutional Economic Thought”

Economics and Finance Department at Buffalo State hosts a research seminar on “Public Finance and Institutional Economic Thought” presented by Professor Hiroyuki Mori (Ritsumeikan University and Cornell University), on October 14, 2016, Friday 3 pm at Classroom Building B221 (Economics and Finance Department Library).

This seminar is open to faculty and students.

Download the flyer.

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A Heterodox Theory of the Business Enterprise

Jo, Tae-Hee. 2016. “A Heterodox Theory of the Business Enterprise.” MPRA Working Paper  72426. [Download the paper]

Note: This paper is an early draft of the chapter to be published in the Routledge Handbook of Heterodox Economics, edited by Tae-Hee Jo, Lynne Chester, and Carlo D’Ippoliti, 2017.

Abstract: The business enterprise directs and controls the social provisioning process. Enterprise decisions on price, investment, output and employment, in particular, directly affect the material basis of society as well as the material standard of living of working class households. The understanding the structure of and changes in the capitalist capitalists system thus requires a theory of the business enterprise that offers relevant and convincing explanations of business decisions and actions embedded in the wider social context. Such a theory must replace the mainstream-neoclassical theory of the firm, which is not only theoretically incoherent but also practically irrelevant since it confines itself to the hypothetical market structure and individual optimizing behavior. With this rationale this chapter attempts to build a heterodox theory of the business enterprises incorporating contributions made by various theoretical traditions in heterodox economics.

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The Social Provisioning Process and Heterodox Economics

Jo, Tae-Hee. 2016. “The Social Provisioning Process and Heterodox Economics,” MPRA Working Paper 72384. [Download the paper]

Note: This paper is written for the Routledge Handbook of Heterodox Economics, edited by Tae-Hee Jo, Lynne Chester, and Carlo D’Ippoliti, to be published in 2017 by Routledge. A later, revised version is co-authored with Zdravka Todorova.

Abstract: The social provisioning process is how heterodox economists define economics in general. Instead of having a narrow definition of what constitutes economics, such as the mainstream has with its allocation of scarce resources among competing ends via the price mechanism, heterodox economists have opted for a much more expansive definition that permits different theoretical explanations for ways in which the provisioning process can take place in different types of economies in different historical contexts. In this chapter, we first examine the changes in the definition of economics from classical political economy to neoclassical and heterodox economics. The comparison between classical political economy and neoclassical economics manifests a clear distinction in view of economy and economics. The second section substantiates the meaning of the social provisioning process. In doing so we make a case that, first, defining heterodox economics as the study of the social provisioning process positions heterodox economics as an alternative to neoclassical economics, and, second, that such an expansive definition of economics has potential to synthesize various heterodox theoretical frameworks in a constructive manner.

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JEI: What if there are no conventional price mechanisms?

Tae-Hee Jo. 2016. “What if there are no conventional price mechanisms?” Journal of Economic Issues, 50 (2): 327-344. AFEE Presidential address on behalf of Professor Frederic S. Lee. [ link to the article ]


Inspired by Frederic (“Fred”) S. Lee’s theoretical contribution to institutional-heterodox economics, I make the case that the neoclassical price mechanism is not only flawed, but also irrelevant for the study of actual coordination mechanisms, hence the price mechanism — as a theory as well as a way of thinking — should be discarded. While this position was addressed by early institutionalists, starting with Thorstein Veblen, later institutionalists have not completely rejected the price mechanism. The sympathy for the price mechanism has prevented institutionalists (and other heterodox economists) from fully developing an alternative theoretical framework concerning how actual economic activities are organized. I, therefore, provide an institutionalist-heterodox framework of the provisioning process focusing on business enterprise activities. This framework shows how institutional economics becomes more refined and useful when it is married to other traditions in heterodox economics, in particular, Marxian, social, and post-Keynesian economics. Such an integrative approach is what Fred Lee showed through his work toward producing a better theory and policy for the underlying population.

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BPE: Financing Investment under Fundamental Uncertainty and Instability: A Heterodox Microeconomic View

Tae-Hee Jo. 2015. “Financing Investment under Fundamental Uncertainty and Instability: A Heterodox Microeconomic View,” Bulletin of Political Economy, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 33-54.


This study inquires into investment and finance decisions as they are related to other decisions within the going business enterprise embedded in the monetary social provisioning process. When it comes to investment and finance, business enterprises’ strategic decisions often escape notice by heterodox macroeconomists. In place of strategic decisions, financing and investment are mainly looked at through the operation of the financial market in which the supply of and demand for investment funds are coordinated by the prices of funds. Consequently, heterodox macroeconomic theory of investment and finance deals mainly with external financing. In this article I argue that the strategically generated internal means of finance is the main source of fixed investment, especially when the economy is in recession or economic instability is increasing. The positive empirical relationship between external finance and fixed investment is hardly discerned. Even the financialization of non-financial corporations in recent decades has not reduced the importance of internal financing over external financing.

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Dr. Tae-Hee Jo

Economics and Finance Department
SUNY Buffalo State
1300 Elmwood Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14222

o: Classroom Building B333
t: 716-878-3374
e: taeheejo [at] gmail.com
e: joth [at] buffalostate.edu

Recent Posts
Essays in Honor of Frederic S. Lee

Advancing the Frontiers of Heterodox Economics: Essays in Honor of Frederic S. Lee (2015)

Marx, Veblen, and Foundations of Heterodox Economics

Marx, Veblen, and the Foundations of Heterodox Economics: Essays in Honor of John F. Henry (2015)