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

  • Jean-Luc Demeulemeester


    (DULBEA, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Bruxelles, Belgium & SKOPE, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK)

  • Claude Diebolt


    (BETA/CNRS, Faculty of Economics, Université Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg, France & Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany)

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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Article provided by Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC) in its journal Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History.

Volume (Year): 1 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 7-17

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Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:1:y:2007:i:1:p:7-17
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