IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

History of economics: Learning from the past


  • Alexander Dow

    (Stirling Centre for Economic Methodology)

  • Sheila Dow

    (University of Stirling)


The premise on which this paper builds is that modern economists unduly neglect history. The paper aims to support the argument that this is undesirable by looking at past episodes in the development of economic thought where economics has benefited from a historical approach. The first example to be explored is the staples approach of Harold Innis of the University of Toronto. He drew on the history of staples industries in Canada in order to formulate a theory of economic development. The second example is the stages approach as put forward in the Scottish Enlightenment and developed by later writers, whereby different episodes of economic history are categorised according to different stages of economic organisation.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Dow & Sheila Dow, 2009. "History of economics: Learning from the past," SCEME Working Papers: Advances in Economic Methodology 029/2009, SCEME.
  • Handle: RePEc:sti:wpaper:029/2009

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    history of economics; methodology of economics;

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sti:wpaper:029/2009. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Matthias Klaes) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Matthias Klaes to update the entry or send us the correct email address. General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.