5 June 2006 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

| Peter Klein |

We already have Econometrica and Psychometrika, so it was only a matter of time before the economic historians — whose Cliometric Society has been around since 1983 — started a new quantitative economic history journal, Cliometrica. I received an announcement today, which included this description:

The journal encourages the methodological debate, the use of economic theory in general and model building in particular, the reliance upon quantification to buttress the models with historical data, the use of the more standard historical knowledge to broaden the understanding and suggesting new avenues of research, and the use of statistical theory and econometrics to combine models with data in a single consistent explanation.

I'm not sure how this is supposed to distinguish the journal from the Journal of Economic History or Explorations in Economic History; perhaps they are not quantitative enough? 

I'm reminded of this remark by the distinguished American historian Forrest McDonald, from his Recovering the Past: A Historian's Memoir (University Press of Kansas, 2004), p. 119:

So enamored did historians become [after Fogel and Engerman's Time on the Cross appeared in 1974] with the riches to be mined through cliometrics that a generation experimented with the technique. Little of consequence was learned as a result, and happily, the profession largely abandoned the approach. Unfortunately, our sister discipline, political science, has become almost wholly converted to it.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Methods/Methodology/Theory of Science.

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