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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin -

Think Links - Food for Thought


"The only thing we owe to history is to rewrite it." (Oscar Wilde)



There are many essays, among others by Schumpeter and Solow, which neatly summarize why research in economic history benefits economic theory as well as empirical economics.


"What distinguishes the ‘scientific’ economist from all the other people who think, talk, and write about economic topics is a command of techniques that we class under three heads: history, statistics, and ‘theory’. (...). Of these fundamental fields, economic history (...) is by far the most important." (Joseph A. Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, 1954, p. 12)

Read the whole part of chapter II ("The Techniques of Economic Analysis").

 

"To my way of thinking, the true functions of analytical economics are best described informally: to organize our necessarily incomplete perceptions about the economy, to see connections that the untutored eye would miss, to tell plausible- sometimes even convincing -causal stories with the help of a few central principles, and to make rough quantitative judgments about the consequences of economic policy and other exogenous events. In this scheme of things, the end product of economic analysis is likely to be a collection of models contingent on society's circumstances -on the historical context, you might say (...)." (Robert Solow, 1985)

Read the full article ("Economic History and Economics").


Die beste Staatsverfassung: "Diese nur kann ich dafür erkennen, die jedem erleichtert, Gut zu denken, doch nie, dass er so denke, bedarf" (Friedrich Schiller)