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History of economics: Learning from the past

Listed author(s):
  • 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.

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Paper provided by SCEME in its series SCEME Working Papers: Advances in Economic Methodology with number 029/2009.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Handle: RePEc:sti:wpaper:029/2009
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