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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

Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • Jean Luc De Meulemeester & Claude Diebolt, 2007. "How much could economics gain from history: the contribution of cliometrics," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13500, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/13500
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    Cited by:

    1. Dieter Bögenhold, 2008. "„Social embeddedness”: how new economic sociology goes into the offensive and meets the own roots," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 2(1), pages 76-114, November.
    2. 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.
    3. Claude Diebolt, 2011. "The Stakes of Cliometrics in Ancient History," Historical Social Research (Section 'Cliometrics'), Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 36(3), pages 350-361.
    4. Antoine Parent, 2012. "A critical note on "This time is different"," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 6(2), pages 211-219, May.
    5. J-L.Demeulemeester & C.Diebolt, 2011. "New Institutional History of the Adaptive Efficiency of Higher Education Systems. Lessons from the Prussian Engineering Education: 1806-1914," Economies et Sociétés (Serie 'Histoire Economique Quantitative'), Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), issue 43, pages 33-63, January.
    6. Jean-Luc Demeulemeester & Claude Diebolt, 2011. "Education and Growth: What Links for Which Policy?," Historical Social Research (Section 'Cliometrics'), Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 36(4), pages 323-346.
    7. Claude Diebolt, 2015. "Comment appréhender les temporalités de l’histoire économique ? Plaidoyer pour une cliométrie des évènements rares," Working Papers 01-15, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).
    8. Jean Luc De Meulemeester, 2007. "L'économie de l'éducation fait-elle des progrès? Une perspective d'histoire de la pensée économique," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 50(1), pages 89-111.
    9. 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, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 85-101, January.
    10. Jean Luc De Meulemeester & Claude Diebolt, 2007. "Education et croissance: quel lien pour quelle politique?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13544, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    11. Charlotte Le Chapelain, 2013. "Cliométrie et Capital humain," Working Papers 01-13, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).
    12. Kyrtsou, Catherine & Vorlow, Costas, 2009. "Modelling non-linear comovements between time series," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 200-211, March.
    13. Comitato di Redazione, 2014. "Book reviews," HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT AND POLICY, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(1), pages 117-150.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A11 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Role of Economics; Role of Economists
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods

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