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How much could economics gain from history: the contribution of cliometrics


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  • Jean Luc De Meulemeester
  • Claude Diebolt


Is cliometrics a discipline that could help economists to close the gap between theory and empirical analysis? For many authors, and certainly many of its protagonists, cliometrics appears to be first of all a new branch of history, using economic theories, tools and techniques to provide answers mainly to historiographical debates and not so much to economic debates per se. Could nevertheless this discipline help economists to come closer to physics by enabling them to discover true laws in economics? More modestly some recent work in cliometrics performed by economists (stricto sensu) reveals the possibility of cliometrics to be an auxiliary discipline of economics (and not solely of history). As such, it should form part of the basic toolkit of all properly educated economists. In this paper we give a survey on the key methodological issue of existence (and type) of laws in economics and the proper role that could be assigned to cliometrics to best serve the development of economics in this perspective.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/13500.

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Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in: Cliometrica (2007) v.1 n° 1
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/13500

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Cited by:
  1. Kyrtsou, Catherine & Vorlow, Costas, 2009. "Modelling non-linear comovements between time series," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 200-211, March.
  2. Antoine Parent, 2012. "A critical note on "This time is different"," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(2), pages 211-219, May.
  3. Dieter Bögenhold, 2008. "Economics, Sociology, History: Notes on Their Loss of Unity, Their Need for Re-integration and the Current Relevance of the Controversy between Carl Menger and Gustav Schmoller," Forum for Social Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 85-101, August.
  4. Jean Luc De Meulemeester & Claude Diebolt, 2011. "Education and Growth: What Links for which policy," ULB Institutional Repository, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles 2013/147669, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Marongiu, Federico, 2008. "La necesidad de teorías heterodoxas para el acercamiento entre historia y economía
    [The need of Heterodox theories for a marriage between history and economics]
    ," MPRA Paper 8746, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Charlotte Le Chapelain, 2013. "Cliométrie et Capital humain," Working Papers, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC) 01-13, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).


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