Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät

Large Datasets in Economics and Economic History


  • Seminar
  • Tuesday 12-14 SPA1, 21b
  • Prof. N. Wolf
  • Moodle Link


Historical and long-run data in economic history often have specific features, such as structural breaks in the data (border changes, currency changes), a multitude of original sources, and idiosyncratic formats. This seminar deals with tools for the management and analysis of large, heterogeneous datasets on long-run economic change and economic history.

After a general introduction covering existing datasets, the techniques used for compilation of new data, basic analytical tools and existing data management solutions, students will work in small groups of 3-4 on projects based on a newly developed web-based software tool. The projects will involve aspects of data compilation, management, data analysis, and small programming tasks. Examples include data on the evolution of German Domestic Trade, Italian Foreign Trade 1862-2010, 1885-2010, Regional Employment data for Germany 1895-2010, Prussian Crime Statistics, 1882-1910, or the Economic Geography of Berlin 1936-2006.


  • Giovanni Federico and Nikolaus Wolf (2011) , Comparative Advantages in Italy: A Long-run Perspective, Banca D’Italia Economic History Woprking paper No. 9, October 2011

Organizational matters

  • MA: 3 SP, Modul: Economic History
  • Diplom: 2 KP, Wahlpflichtfach Wirtschaftsgeschichte


Your grade will be determined by your two presentations (25% each), your seminar project: data compilation and or programming (30%) and its description (20%).

Supplementary material