Kevin O'Rourke (2013): Why economics needs economic history: "In a recent Humanitas Lecture in Oxford, Stan Fischer said that 'I think I’ve learned as much from studying the history of central banking as I have from knowing the theory of central banking and I advise all of you who want to be central bankers to read the history books'...

...Knowledge of economic and financial history... forces students to recognise that major discontinuities in economic performance and economic policy regimes have occurred many times... often coincided with economic and financial crises, which therefore cannot be assumed away as theoretically impossible. A historical training would immunise students from the complacency that characterised the “Great Moderation”.... Economic history teaches students the importance of context.... History is replete with examples of institutions which developed to solve the problems of one era, but which later became problems in their own right.... Economic history is an unapologetically empirical field, exclusively dedicated to understanding the real world... forces students to add to the technical rigor of their programs an extra dimension of rigor: asking whether their explanations for historical events actually fit the facts or not. Which emphatically does not mean cherry-picking selected facts that fit your thesis and ignoring all the ones that don't: the world is a complicated place, and economists should be trained to recognise this...


#shouldread

Comments