Introduction: theory and econometrics in historical analysis




Cliometrics, Cliodynamics, Economic History, Theory, Historical Analysis, Data Revolution


This article introduces the special issue of the Revista de Historia Industrial – Industrial History Review on theory and econometrics in historical analysis. First, it briefly reviews the literature on the evolution of economic history since the so-called cliometric revolution, i.e., the growing use of theory to frame historical evidence and the increasing use of quantitative techniques, particularly to study causality. Secondly, it provides an overview of how a potential data revolution – prompted by technological progress in historical-data collection and processing – may be affecting the field. Lastly, the introduction provides a succinct summary of the articles included in the special issue, which highlight how economic theory and new quantitative analysis can be used to explore a range of issues within economic history, spanning different countries and time periods.


Download data is not yet available.


Abr amitzky, Ran. 2015. ‘Economics and the Modern Economic Historian’, The Journal of Economic History, 75 (4): 1240-1251.

Acemoglu, Daron, Simon Johnson, and James A. Robinson. 2001. ‘The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation’, American Economic Review, 91 (5): 1369-1401.

A’Hearn, Brian, Jörg Baten, and Dorothee Crayen. 2009. ‘Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital’, The Journal of Economic History, 69 (3): 783-808.

Alexopoulou, Kleoniki, and Joerg Baten. 2023. ‘Gender (in)equality, maritime economies, and numeracy development in Greece during the 19th and 20th century’, Revista de Historia Industrial – Industrial History Review, 33 (89): 27-64.

Angr ist, Joshua D., and Jörn-Steffen Pisch ke. 2010. ‘The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design Is Taking the Con out of Econometrics’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24 (2): 3-30.

Austin, Gareth. 2008. ‘The “Reversal of Fortune” Thesis and the Compression of History: Perspectives from African and Comparative Economic History’, Journal of International Development, 20 (8): 996-1027.

Arvanitidis, Paschalis, and Charalampos Sofiadis. 2023. ‘The Byzantine Monastery As A Commons’, Revista de Historia Industrial – Industrial History Review, 33 (89): 107-142.

Baten, Joerg, Michiel de Haas, Elisabeth Kempter, and Felix Meier zu Selhausen. 2021. ‘Educational Gender Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Long-Term Perspective’, Population and Development Review, 47 (3): 813-49.

Baten, Jörg, and Alexandra de Pleijt. 2018. ‘Female Autonomy Generates Superstars in Long-Term Development: Evidence from 15th to 19th Century Europe’. CEPR Discussion Papers. CEPR Discussion Paper no. 13348.

Blasco-i-Piles, Guillem, and Federico Tadei. 2023. ‘From Sickle to Hammer: The Decline of Production Frictions and the Industrialization of Russia’, Revista de Historia Industrial – Industrial History Review, 33 (89): 65-106.

Blum, Matthias, and Christopher L. Colvin. 2018. An Economist’s Guide to Economic History. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Boldizzoni, Francesco. 2011. The Poverty of Clio: Resurrecting Economic History. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Bolt, Jutta, and Jan Luiten van Zanden. 2020. ‘Maddison style estimates of the evolution of the world economy. A new 2020 update’. Maddison-Project Working Paper WP-15.

Brown, John C. 2008. ‘From the workshop of Alexander Gerschenkron, economic historian’. In Reflections on the Cliometrics Revolution: conversations with economic historians, edited by John S. Lyons, Louis P. Cain, and Samuel H. Williamson. New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 365-436.

Brownlow, Graham. 2012. ‘Review of The Poverty of Clio: Resurrecting Economic History (Princeton: Princeton University Press)’, The Economic History Review, 65 (3): 1169-1215.

Carmichael, Sarah G., Alexandra de Pleijt, Jan Luiten van Zanden, and Tine De Moor. 2016. ‘The European Marriage Pattern and Its Measurement’, The Journal of Economic History, 76 (1): 196-204.

Cheremukhin, Anton, Mikhail Golosov, Sergei Guriev, and Aleh Tsyvinski. 2017. ‘The Industrialization and Economic Development of Russia through the Lens of a Neoclassical Growth Model’, The Review of Economic Studies, 84 (2): 613-49.

Cioni, Martina, Giovanni Federico, and Michelangelo Vasta. 2021. ‘Chapter 2 - The Two Revolutions in Economic History’. In The Handbook of Historical Economics, edited by Alberto Bisin and Giovanni Federico. Cambridge (MA): Academic Press, pp. 17-40.

Cioni, Martina, Giovanni Federico, and Michelangelo Vasta. 2022. ‘Persistence studies: a new kind of economic history?’, Review of Regional Research, 42: 227-248.

Clay, Karen, Joshua Lewis, and Edson Severnini. 2018. ‘Pollution, Infectious Disease, and Mortality: Evidence from the 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic’, The Journal of Economic History, 78 (4): 1179-1209.

Crafts, Nicholas. 2012. ‘Economic History Matters’, Economic History of Developing Regions, 27 (sup1): S3-15.

De Moor, Tine, and Jan Luiten van Zanden. 2010. ‘Girl Power: The European Marriage Pattern and Labour Markets in the North Sea Region in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period’, The Economic History Review, 63 (1): 1-33.

Diebolt, Claude, and Michael Haupert. 2018. ‘A Cliometric Counterfactual: What If There Had Been Neither Fogel nor North?’, Cliometrica, 12 (3): 407-434.

Diebolt, Claude, and Michael Haupert, eds. 2019. Handbook of Cliometrics, 2nd edition. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Fernández-de-Pinedo, Nadia, Alvaro La Parr a-Perez, and Félix-Fernando Muñoz. 2023. ‘Recent Trends in Publications of Economic Historians in Europe and North America (1980–2019): An Empirical Analysis’, CliometricaI< 17 (1): 1-22.

Fourie, Johan. 2016. ‘The Data Revolution in African Economic History’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 47 (2): 193-212.

Grinin, Leonid, Alexander Markov, and Andrey Korotoyev. 2013. ‘On Similarities between Biological and Social Evolutionary Mechanisms: Mathematical Modeling’, Cliodynamics, 4: 185-228.

Gutmann, Myron P., Emily Klancher Merch ant, and Evan Roberts. 2018. ‘“Big Data” in Economic History’, The Journal of Economic History, 78 (1): 268-99.

Haupert, Michael. 2019. ‘History of Cliometrics’. In Handbook of Cliometrics, 2nd edition, edited by Claude Diebolt and Michael Haupert. Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 3-32.

Jedwab, Remi, Felix Meier zu Selhausen, and Alexander Moradi. 2022. ‘The Economics of Missionary Expansion: Evidence from Africa and Implications for Development’, Journal of Economic Growth, 27 (2): 149-92.

Li, Zhongjin. 2023. ‘Beyond State and Market: the Role of Labor Regimes and Class Dynamics in the East Asian Miracle’, Revista de Historia Industrial – Industrial History Review, 33 (89): 143-172.

Jordà, Òscar, Katharina Knoll, Dmitry Kuvshinov, Moritz Schularick, and Alan M. Taylor. 2019. ‘The Rate of Return on Everything, 1870–2015’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 134 (3): 1225-1298.

Jordà, Òscar, Björn Rich ter, Moritz Sch ularick, and Alan M. Taylor. 2021. ‘Bank capital redux: solvency, liquidity, and crisis’, The Review of Economic Studies, 88 (1): 260-286.

Kerby, Edward, Alexander Moradi, and Hanjo Odendaal. 2022. ‘African Time Travellers: What Can We Learn from 500 Years of Written Accounts?’. Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers. Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers no. 2022/201.

Koschnick, Julius. 2023. ‘Breaking Tradition: Teacher-Student Effects during the Scientific Revolution’. Paper presented at the Economic History Society Annual Conference 2023 (Warwick).

Margo, Robert A. 2018. ‘The Integration of Economic History into Economics’, Cliometrica, 12 (3): 377-406.

— 2021. ‘Chapter 1 - The Economic History of Economic History: The Evolution of a Field in Economics’. In The Handbook of Historical Economics, edited by Alberto Bisin and Giovanni Federico. Cambridge (MA): Academic Press, pp. 3-16.

McCloskey, Deirdre Nansen. 2018. ‘Getting over Naïve Scientism c. 1950: What Fogel and North Got Wrong’, Cliometrica, 12 (3): 435-449.

Mejia, Javier. 2015. ‘The Evolution of Economic History Since 1950: From Cliometrics to Cliodynamics’, Revista tiempo & economía, 2 (2): 79-103.

OECD. 2014. How Was Life? Volume I: How Was Life? Global Well-Being Since 1820. Paris: OECD Publishing.

OECD. 2021. How Was Life? Volume II: New Perspectives on Well-being and Global Inequality since 1820. Paris: OECD Publishing.

Rönnbäck, Klas. 2014. ‘Climate, Conflicts, and Variations in Prices on Pre-Colonial West African Markets for Staple Crops’, The Economic History Review, 67 (4): 1065-1088.

Turchin, Peter, Harvey Whitehouse, Pieter François, Edward Slingerland, and Mark Collard. 2012. ‘A Historical Database of Sociocultural Evolution’, Cliodynamics, 3: 271-293.

Velde, François R. 2022. ‘What Happened to the U.S. Economy during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic? A View Through High-Frequency Data’, The Journal of Economic History, 82 (1): 284-326.



How to Cite

Cappelli, Gabriele, Nikos Benos, and Yorgos Goletsis. 2023. “Introduction: Theory and Econometrics in Historical Analysis”. Revista De Historia Industrial — Industrial History Review 32 (89):11-26.