Economic history

history studies focused on economics

Economic history is the study of economies or economic phenomena of the past.

Quotes edit

  • History affects the present – not simply because it is what came before the present but also because it (or, rather, what people think they know about it) informs people’s decisions. … History also forces us to question some assumptions that are taken for granted. … History is useful in highlighting the limits of economic theory. Life is often stranger than fiction, and history provides many successful economic experiences (at all levels – nations, companies, individuals) that cannot be tidily explained by any single economic theory.
    • Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: The User's Guide (2014), Ch. 3 : How Have We Got Here?
  • To find a substitute for laboratory experiments, economists pay close attention to the natural experiments offered by history.
    • N. Gregory Mankiw, Principles of Economics (7th ed., 2015), Ch. 2. Thinking Like an Economist
  • Well, I'd say, and this is probably a change from what I would have said when I was younger: Have a very healthy respect for the study of economic history, because that's the raw material out of which any of your conjectures or testings will come. And I think the recent period has illustrated that. The governor of the Bank of England seems to have forgotten or not known that there was no bank insurance in England, so when Northern Rock got a run, he was surprised. Well, he shouldn't have been.
    But history doesn't tell its own story. You've got to bring to it all the statistical testings that are possible. And we have a lot more information now than we used to.
    • Paul Samuelson, in Conor Clarke. "An Interview With Paul Samuelson, Part Two". The Atlantic (June 18, 2009)
  • Robert Fogel and Douglass North have been awarded this year's Prize in Economics for having renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change.