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Thursday, April 09, 2015

'Economic History is Dead; Long Live Economic History?'

I really hope The Economist is right about this, but I'm a bit more pessimistic:

Economic history is dead; long live economic history?: Two years ago, in a very interesting paper, Peter Temin bemoaned the decline of economic history as a research topic at universities. He took the example of what happened at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to prove his point. There, the subject reached its peak in the 1970s, when three members of the faculty taught economic history. But from then it declined until economic history vanished both from the faculty and the graduate programme around 2010.
But is economic history really dead? Last weekend, Britain's Economic History Society hosted its annual three-day conference in Telford, attempting to show the subject was still alive and kicking. The economic historians present at the gathering were bullish about the future. Although the subject's woes at MIT have been echoed across research universities in both America and Europe, since the financial crisis there has been something of a minor revival.

What revival does the article have in mind?:

renewed vigour can be most clearly seen in the debates economists are now having with each other

The conclusion:

Economic history may well be dead as a subject studied in independent academic departments, as it was at universities in the 1970s. But as a subject that is needed as part of the study of economics and the making of public policy, economic history is—and should be—very much alive.

    Posted by on Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 01:46 AM in Economics, History of Thought, Universities | Permalink  Comments (13)


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