Monday, July 18, 2005

Sources on Economic History

It wasn't until I was in my mid-30s that I realized what a sexy field economic history is. Most people get excited by issues such as globalization and politics. It turns out that, in order to have intelligent understandings of these topics, one really must first study real economic history. In the last thirty years economic historians have shown that most of our common misunderstandings of the Industrial Revolution are false.

The following list was supplied to me by the illustrious economic historian Deidre McCloskey:

Fogel, Robert W. 1999. The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Fogel, Robert W. 2004. The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700-2100. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fogel, Robert W. 2005 "Reconsidering Expectations of Economic Growth after World War II from the Perspective of 2004." National Bureau of Economic Research. Working paper No. W11125.
Hayek, F.A., Capitalism and the Historians (1954)
McCloskey, Diedre, ed., Second Thoughts: Myths and Morals of U.S. Economic History. Oxford University Press, 1992. Paperback 1994.
Mokyr, Joel, The Lever of Riches
Mokyr, Joel, Gifts of Athena

A work that is not economic history, but which does a beautiful job of reminding us of the extraordinary opportunities for working class social mobility in the early Industrial Revolution, Paul Johnson's The Birth of the Modern, 1815-1830.


Anonymous Michael Vassar said...

I really think that Smith's Wealth of Nations should be considered serious economic history. The amount of quantitative research is about as great as is possible without archeology.

9:34 AM  

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