Economic history

Economic history

Economic history is the study of how economic phenomena evolved in the past. Analysis in economic history is undertaken using a combination of historical methods, statistical methods and by applying economic theory to historical situations. The topic includes business history and overlaps with areas of social history such as demographic history and labor history. Quantitative economic history is also referred to as cliometrics.


Practitioners and advocates of the first approach, which was for a long time dominant in the United Kingdom, generally regarded economic history as being either an independent discipline or a subfield of history. Practitioners of the second approach, which is more influential in the United States, usually regard economic history as a subfield of economics. In France, economic theory and demographics was early integrated into mainstream historiography due to the large impact of the "Annales School" of history from the 1920s and onwards.

Economic history has been a contentious issue in the United Kingdom for many years. The London School of Economics and Oxbridge had numerous duels over the separation of economics and economic theory. Oxbridge believed that pure economics involved a component of economic history and that the two were inseparably entangled. The relative newcomer, the London School of Economics (LSE), believed that economic history warranted its own course, program, study and research apart from pure economics. The Economic History Society had its inauguration at LSE in 1926. Eventually, the LSE position seems to have won out and now many schools in the UK and the US have now developed programs in economic history which have their roots in the LSE model of separating economics and economic history. Often, economic historians such as Robert Fogel and Douglass North, both Nobel laureates in economics, and Nicholas Crafts, of LSE fame, are called upon to advise for some of the world foremost economic institutions: WEF, WTO, OECD and others.


"Cliometrics" refers to the systematic use of economic theory and econometrics techniques to study "economic history". The term was originally coined by Jonathan R.T. Hughes and Stanley Reiter in 1960 and refers to Clio, who was the muse of history and heroic poetry in Greek mythology. This term is also sometimes used referring to counterfactual history.

Notable economic historians

* Ram Sharan Sharma
* Moses Abramovitz
* Dudley Baines
* Maxine Berg
* Stephen Broadberry
* Rondo Cameron
* Greg Clark
* Thomas C. Cochran
* Nicholas Crafts
* Barry Eichengreen
* Stanley Engerman
* Charles Feinstein
* Roderick Floud
* Robert Fogel
* Claudia Goldin
* John Habakkuk
* Eric Hobsbawm
* Leo Huberman
* Edward Hunt
* Paul Johnson
* Charles P. Kindleberger
* Timothy Leunig
* Peter Lindert
* Deirdre McCloskey
* Joel Mokyr
* Larry Neal
* Douglass North
* Karl Polanyi
* Amartya Sen
* Graeme Snooks
* Peter Temin
* Adam Tooze

ee also

* Price revolution
* Great Depression
* The Great Moderation
* History of economic thought
* History of international trade
* Anthropometric history
* List of recessions
* List of countries by past GDP (PPP) - For historical gross domestic product (GDP) (purchasing power parity) figures from 1 AD to 1998
* List of countries by past GDP (nominal) - For historical GDP (nominal) figures from 1998 to 2003


* Rondo Cameron and Larry Neal (2003, 4th ed.) "A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Times to the Present",480 pp., including annotated bibliography, Oxford. [ Table of Contents,]
* N.F.R. Crafts (1987). "economic history," "", v. 2, pp. 37-42.
* Joel Mokyr, ed. (2003), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 5 vols.
* Graeme Snooks (1993), Economics without Time. A Science Blind to the Forces of Historical Change.

External links

Articles and lectures

* [ On global economic history] by Jan Luiten van Zanden. Explores the idea of the inevitability of the Industrial Revolution.

Economic History Services (EHS)

* [ Economic History Society] Economic History Society (EHS), publisher of the "Economic History Review"
* [ EH.Net] Economic History Services - Includes Economic History Encyclopedia, Ask the Professor, Book Reviews, databases, directories, bibliographies, mailing lists, and an inflation calculator.
* [ International Economic History Association (IEHA)]
* [ Economic History Association]


* [ Flandreau: Global Finance data series]
* [] - Links to historical economic statistics for different countries and regions.
* [ Maddison (2006), "The World Economy", OECD, Paris.]
* [ Angus Maddison's Historical Dataseries] -Series on GDP, Population and GDP per capita from the year 0 up to 2003
* [ Groningen Growth and Development Centre Total Economy Database] -Series on GDP, Population, Employment, Hours worked, GDP per capita and productivity (per person and per hour) from 1950 up to 2006

Other EHS

* [ XIV International Economic History Conference] (2006)
* [ International Economic History Association]
* [ The European Association for Banking and Financial History e. V.]

EHS By country

* [ EH.Net Encyclopedia] :
** [ Australia]
** [ Hawaii]
** [ Hong Kong]
** [ Indonesia]
** [ Israel]
** [ Japan]
** [ Korea]
** [ Malaysia]
** [ New Zealand]
** [ Norway]
** [ Portugal]
** [ Sweden]
** [ Taiwan]
** [ Uruguay]

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