Economics and the Historian

Economics and the Historian

Economics and the Historian

Economics and the Historian


These essays provide a thorough introduction to economics for historians. The authors, all eminent scholars, show how to use economic thinking, economic models, and economic methods to enrich historical research. They examine such vital issues as long-term trends, institutions, labor--including an engaging dialogue between a labor historian and a labor economist--international affairs, and money and banking. Scholars and teachers of history will welcome this volume as an introduction and guide to economics, a springboard for their own research, and a lively and provocative source of collateral reading for students at every level.

The combined research experience of these authors encompasses many varieties of economics and covers a kaleidoscopic array of nations, subjects, and time periods. All are expert in presenting the insights and complexities of economics to nonspecialist audiences.


This volume evolved from papers and discussion at a workshop and conference, Economic Methods for Chinese Historical Research, sponsored by the Henry Luce Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Science Foundation and held in Honolulu, Hawaii in January 1987 and Oracle, Arizona in January 1988. In the 1987 workshop, a number of economists who specialize in economic history presented seminars on broad subjects: choice, long-term trends, macroeconomics, international issues, and economic institutions, for which the historian-participants had prepared by completing a series of readings. These materials formed the basis for the present volume.

The same group of historians and economists met again in 1988, with the historians presenting papers developed using the guidelines and suggestions of the first session, and the economists serving as discussants. Their papers were collected in a separate volume, Chinese History in Economic Perspective edited by Thomas G. Rawski and Lillian M. Li and published by the University of California Press.

The completion of a revised and expanded version of the initial economics presentations has benefited immensely from the contribution of many people whose names do not appear in the table of contents. They include Lynda S. Bell, Claudia Goldin, Van Beck Hall, Lillian M. Li, Susan Mann, Margaret Maurer-Fazio, Jack Ochs, Evelyn S. Rawski, Samantha Roberts, Julius Rubin, Werner Troesken, Jerome C. Wells, and . . .

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