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Social Networks in Economic History: Opportunities and Challenges

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  • Esteves, Rui
  • Geisler Mesevage, Gabriel

Abstract

In this paper we survey the study of social networks and their application to economic history. We take the perspective of the applied researcher and focus on empirical methods, leaving out structural models and the literature on strategic network formation (games on networks). Our aim is to assist economic historians in identifying whether networks may be useful frameworks for their research agendas. We highlight the main challenges in using social network methods, namely, measurement error, data completeness, and the usual threats to identification of causal effects. We also review the burgeoning literature in economic history that applies network methods, organized along four main themes: markets, financial intermediation, politics and knowledge diffusion.

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  • Esteves, Rui & Geisler Mesevage, Gabriel, 2019. "Social Networks in Economic History: Opportunities and Challenges," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:74:y:2019:i:c:s0014498318301682
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2019.101299
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    Cited by:

    1. Sascha O. Becker & Jared Rubin & Ludger Woessmann, 2020. "Religion in Economic History: A Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 8365, CESifo.
    2. Sascha O. Becker & Jared Rubin & Ludger Woessmann, 2020. "Religion in Economic History: A Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 8365, CESifo.
    3. Schneider, Eric B., 2020. "Collider bias in economic history research," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    4. Vincent Delabastita & Sebastiaan Maes, 2020. "The Feudal Origins of Manorial Prosperity in 11th-century England," Working Papers 0190, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social networks; Empirical methods; Economic history;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods

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