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Event: 7th International Conference on Economic Philosophy

Event date May 29, 2024 - May 31, 2024
Submission deadline November 15, 2023
Location Reims, France
Host(s) University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, The REGARDS economics and management research center
Event website/information


The 7th International Conference Economic Philosophy will be held in Reims on May 29th-31st, 2024. It is organized at the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne by the REGARDS economics and management research center. As in the 2023 edition, on the eve of the conference (May 28th), a young scholars’ workshop will be held.

This 7th edition of the conference will focus on the theme “Market(s) and Democracy”. All contributions in economics and philosophy broadly conceived on this theme are especially welcome. We also invite contributions on any other topic related to economic philosophy.

Markets and democracy figure, at least in contemporary Western societies, as two of the most significant collective decision procedures. Markets have been at least since the 19th century the main device to allocate resources among members of society. Democracy as a general form of political regime is the main procedure to allocate political power, produce public goods, and, ultimately, choose public policies. Their articulation through a division of labor that aims to promote economic and political openness, competition, and accountability is often presented as a constitutive feature of “open access orders” as characterized by some economists and political scientists.

This simple and general view about the importance and complementary of markets and democracy hides however many interesting complexities. From an economic philosophy perspective, it invites us to explore at least three general sets of considerations:

First, there is a widespread tendency among economists and political scientists to endorse the analogy between markets and democracy. The analogy partly builds on notable a9empts to develop an economic analysis of democracy that identifies a “political market” where a political supply meets a political demand. This approach studies the political market with the traditional economic tools of rational choice and game theory. At the analytical level, it is also motivated by the observation that markets and democracy can be both interpreted as collectivedecision procedures of their own. Though they significantly differ regarding their specific mechanisms and objectives, they nonetheless share formal a9ributes that make them amenable to an analysis in terms of collective choice rules. The appeal of the analogy also has more normative roots. It builds in particular on the normative belief that both consumers and citizens should be sovereign. Some critics have however argued that the market/democracy analogy is not only misguided but has also had a detrimental performative effect by reinforcing a conception of democracy where citizens behave as passive consumers.

Second, a long-enduring concern has been that far from being complementary, markets and democracy are actually in conflict and that the development of the former ones is likely to undermine the other. This concern has taken many shapes and has been pushed in different directions. Libertarians for instance tend to regard democracy as an illegitimate substitute of markets to allocate resources and make collective choices, even in the case of public goods. On the other hand, many social scientists have entertained the idea that the development of markets has weakened traditional norms but also the civic and political values that sustain any healthy democracy. It is not uncommon to find a version of this thesis according to which
markets (e.g., financial markets) are stripping citizens of their legitimate right to collectively decide their fate. This view of the relationship between markets and democracy is in striking contrast with more optimistic accounts that single out their complementary as part of the “inclusive institutions” that favor economic development.

Third, the prevalence of markets and democracy in contemporary Western societies echoes Francis Fukuyama’s largely discussed thesis that the fall of the Soviet Union meant the triumph of market-based capitalism and liberal democracies. More than thirty years after this proclamation, economic and political developments urge us to reconsider the possibility that neither markets nor democracy – at least in its liberal version – may be the ultimate social institutions making it possible for us to live together. Amid the 2007-2009 financial crisis and the rise of economic inequalities, there is growing discontent with the market-based economy and the public policies that are promoting it. But this discontent is also directed toward democracy, at least under its representative form. On the one hand, more and more citizens are calling for more popular, direct, and inclusive forms of democracy. On the other hand, polls suggest that, especially in Western European and North American countries, the support for democratic values and institutions is weakening in favor of more authoritarian forms of government. Finally, some indicators strongly suggest that the combination of market-based economic and democratic political institutions characteristic of liberal democracies is losing ground worldwide.

These three sets of considerations revolve around the same general twofold question of (i) the distinctive nature of societies that rely on markets and democracy to make collective choices and (ii) what makes these societies normatively appealing (or not). This question is broad and can be explored from a large range of theoretical perspectives and empirical methods that are constitutive of the diversity of approaches at the intersection of economics and philosophy. We welcome in particular contributions about the relationship between markets and democracy that use formal tools and models from the social sciences (game theory, social choice theory, agent-based modeling, …); that mobilize the history of ideas; that adopt an
interdisciplinary approach combining political or social philosophy with normative economics or political economy; and that take a feminist perspective.

Contributions can therefore tackle a large range of themes, among which figures for instance:
The contemporary relevance of “elitist” views of democracy (e.g., Schumpeter).
The articulation between the “liberty of the moderns” and the “liberties of the ancient” in market-based societies.
The relevance of formal models and results from the social sciences (impossibility theorems, aggregation theorems) to the study and justification of democracy.
The relationship between economic liberties and civic/political liberties.
The role of democratic values in economic development.
The relevance of the account of populism as “illiberal” democracy.
Markets and democracy in non-capitalist societies.
The relationship between activities held outside the market (e.g., care work) with democratic and market-based processes of allocation of political power and resources.
The study of interdisciplinary ventures between economics and political sciences.
The comparison of consumer sovereignty and citizen sovereignty.
The place of deliberative democratic decision processes in a market economy.
The issue of the consistency between markets and capitalism.

We also invite submissions of full sessions on any topic falling into the scope of economics and philosophy. A proposal should provide a title, a short (about 500 words) description of the session, and a list of three contributions, indicating authors’ names, affiliations, and the title of the contributions. Each contribution should be submi9ed separately on the website along the same procedure as simple contributions. The full session proposal and each of its contribution will be evaluated by the scientific committee.

The timeline for submission of full sessions and their contributions is the same as for simple contributions.

A fair number of parallel sessions will be held in English, so that participants will
always have an open choice between sessions in English or in French. Part of the staff will be bilingual.

The young scholars’ workshop will take place over a whole day (May 28th), including both lectures by senior scholars and presentations by young scholars. Senior scholars will participate not just as speakers but also as discussants. The intention is to foster extensive debates among all participants and to foster the conditions for young scholars to make the most of the conference.

Prospective participants must qualify as young scholars in a broad sense (Master students, PhD candidates, Post-Docs, Junior professors, etc.). Partial funding for young scholars to a9end the workshop and the conference will be available.
An independent call for participation will be posted in the forthcoming months.

Submissions of contributions and full sessions will be open from the beginning of September until November 15th, 2023. Submissions of contributions should take the form of a 1000-word long abstract with 3-5 keywords. Submissions of full sessions should include a 500-word long abstract as well as a list of the three individual contributions. All contributions (including those belonging to full sessions) and full sessions should be submi9ed through the website of the conference (to be opened in September). Submissions can be wri9en either in English or French.

Aurane Aparicio (University of Reims, REGARDS)
Sina Badiei (University of Lausanne, Centre Walras Pareto)
Alexandre Chirat (University of Nanterre, ÉconomiX)
Nathanaël Colin-Jaeger (University of Fribourg)
Florence Gallois (University of Reims, REGARDS)
Jean-Sébastien Gharbi (University of Reims, REGARDS)
Cyril Hédoin (University of Reims, REGARDS)
Dorian Jullien (University Paris 1, Centre d’Économie de la Sorbonne)
Nestor Lovera Nieto (University of Reims, REGARDS)
Camila Orozco Espinel (University of Reims, REGARDS)
Fabien Tarrit (University of Reims, REGARDS)

Additional information about the keynote speakers, the scientific committee, the
venue, fees, and social activities will be communicated in September 2023. The
website of the conference will be opened around the same period.
For any questions or more information, please contact Cyril Hédoin

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