Economics Meets Discussion Series

Economics Meets History Online Reading Group

Wednesdays from September 22, 2021 to October 27, 2021
12:00 – 1:30 PM ET

Economics Meets Its Historiography Discussion Colloquium

April 29, 2022 – May 1, 2022
April 29,

Philadelphia, PA

This series of two programs is designed to showcase what economists can offer other disciplines as well as what we can gain from them. This series was developed in partnership with Dr. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde.

Economics Meets History covers a general overview of the field of economic history, with a focus on the process of long-term economic growth and its deep determinants. Emphasis will be placed on exploring how the analytical framework of economics can complement history’s detailed discussion of context, ideas, and sources. Our Discussion Leader will be Dr. Fernando Arteaga.

The group will meet weekly on Wednesdays using Zoom for 6 sessions starting on September 22 and ending on October 27. Session 1 will begin at 12:00 PM and close at 2:00 PM Eastern Time; the following sessions will run from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM Eastern Time.

Economics Meets its Historiography will be held in person in Philadelphia, PA on April 29th – May 1st. This program will focus on the history of economic thought and explore in-depth the approaches of past thinkers and theories of the firm, wages, prices, and trade.

This series of programs is open to graduate students and pre-tenure faculty in economics. This program is designed for economists whose training and research emphasizes quantitative methods but who are interested in how history and the history of economic thought might inform their work.

Co-hosted by IHS and the Penn Initiative for the Study of Markets at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Penn Initiative for the Study Markets (PISM) is a center hosted at the Department of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, whose aim is to raise awareness of the importance of markets and their philosophical foundations—based on facts, critical thinking, and non-partisan perspectives—with the goal of reaching a wide audience of scholars and students.

Economics Meets History Reading List

Session I: Why study economic history as an economist (42 pages)

Arrow, K. (1986). “History: The View from Economics.” In Parker, W., editor, Economic History and the Modern Economist, pages 13–20. 

McCloskey, D. (1976). “Does the Past Have a Useful Economics?” Journal of Economic Literature, 14(2):434–461

McCloskey, D. (1986). “Economics as a Historical Science.” In Parker, W., editor, Economic History and the Modern Economist, pages 63–69 

Solow, R. (1986). “Economics: Is Something Missing?” In Parker, W., editor, Economic History and the Modern Economist, pages 63–69

Session II: Economic development as the most important phenomena in social sciences (64 pages)

Broadberry, S. (2021). Accounting for the Great Divergence: Recent Findings from Historical National Accounting

Spolaore, E. and Wacziarg, R. (2013). “How Deep Are the Roots of Economic Development?” Journal of Economic Literature, 51(2)

Session III: Getting the facts right, accounting for trends in long-run development (67 pages)

Foreman-Peck, J. (2016). “Economic-Demographic Interactions in the Long-Run Growth.” In Handbook of Cliometrics, pages 237–261

Findlay, R. and Lundahl, M. (2006.) “Demographic Shocks and the Factor Proportions Model: From the Plague of Justinian to the Black Death” in Eli Heckscher, International Trade, and Economic History, pages 157–198

Session IV: How an institutional approach can better explain development (45 pages)

Greif, A. (2015). “Coercion and Exchange: How did Markets Evolve.” In Institutions, Innovation, and Industrialization: Essays in Economic History and Development, pages 71–96.

Shirley, M. M. (2008). “Institutions and Development.” In Handbook of New Institutional Economics, pages 611–638.

Session V: How markets have evolved throughout history as the engines of economic growth (52 pages)

Nye, J. (2007). In War, Wine, and Taxes: The Political Economy of Anglo-French Trade, 1689-1900.

  • Chapter 1: Problems of Perspective: The Myth of Free Trade Britain and Fortress France. pages 1–19.
  • Chapter 8 Trade and Taxes in Retrospect: Were British Fiscal Exceptionalism and Economic Success Linked? pages 110–120

Federico, G. (2021). “The economic history of commodity market development.” In Bisin, A. and Federico, G., editors, The Handbook of Historical Economics, pages 525–555 

Session VI: The role of the state in supporting or blocking markets (42 pages)

Alesina, A. and Spolaore, E. (2003). Chapter 11: The Size of Nations: A Historical Overview. In The Size of Nations, pages 175–201

Johnson, N. D. and Koyama, M. (2017). “States and economic growth: Capacity and constraints.” Explorations in Economic History.

Co-hosted by IHS and the Penn Initiative for the Study of Markets at the University of Pennsylvania.

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