History and Economic Life : A Student’s Guide to Approaching Economic and Social History Sources book cover
1st Edition

History and Economic Life
A Student’s Guide to Approaching Economic and Social History Sources

ISBN 9781138581234
Published March 6, 2020 by Routledge
268 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $42.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

History and Economic Life offers students a wide-ranging introduction to both quantitative and qualitative approaches to interpreting economic history sources from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century.

Having identified an ever-widening gap between the use of qualitative sources by cultural historians and quantitative sources by economic historians, the book aims to bridge the divide by making economic history sources more accessible to students and the wider public, and highlighting the need for a complementary rather than exclusive approach. Divided into two parts, the book begins by equipping students with a toolbox to approach economic history sources, considering the range of sources that might be of use and introducing different ways of approaching them. The second part consists of case studies that examine how economic historians use such sources, helping readers to gain a sense of context and understanding of how these sources can be used. The book thereby sheds light on important debates both within and beyond the field, and highlights the benefits gained when combining qualitative and quantitative approaches to source analysis.

Introducing sources often avoided in culturally-minded history or statistically-minded economic history courses respectively, and advocating a combined quantitative and qualitative approach, it is an essential resource for students undertaking source analysis within the field.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Contributors


Introduction: Why and how do we read economic history sources?

Georg Christ and Philipp R. Roessner

Part 1: Toolbox

1 The Study of Economic History Methods and Sources

Chris Godden

2 What do we analyse - typology of sources

Catherine Casson, Georg Christ, Christopher Godden, John S. Lee, Sarah Roddy, Philipp R. Roessner, Edmond Smith

3 How to read economic history sources quantitatively

Georg Christ, Nuno Palma, Edmond Smith, Aashish Velkar

4 How do we analyse sources: Source analysis – the qualitative method

Georg Christ

Part 2: Case Studies

5 Origins of Capitalism: Transcultural Trade or Pepper Travelling from India to England

Georg Christ

6 Origins of Capitalism II: Medieval urban property markets: Thirteenth-century Coventry revisited

Catherine Casson and Mark Casson

7 Counting cows and coins: Monitoring the economy through port records, and trade statistics in the early modern period

Philipp R. Rössner

8 Historical account books as a source for quantitative history

Nuno Palma

9 History through objects: The Example of Coins

Philipp R. Rössner

10 The news and numbers: A guide to using digitized newspapers

Sarah Roddy

11 Monsieur le Directeur: Letters and ‘Ordinary’ Investors in Modern France

Alexia Yates


View More



Georg Christ is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern History at the University of Manchester, UK. His research focuses on the late medieval eastern Mediterranean and Veneto-Mamluk trade and political relations, the history of knowledge management and the late medieval socio-economic transition.

Philipp R. Rössner is a Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Manchester, UK, and Member of the Young Academy, Saxon Academy of Sciences. His publications and research interests are in late medieval and early modern German cultural and monetary history, history of capitalism, history of the Reformation, eighteenth-century Scotland, history of political economy and pre-classical economic reasoning (Cameralism, ‘mercantilism’).


'A valuable and very welcome introduction to the rich variety of approaches to research in economic history'.

Martin Chick, Professor of Economic History, University of Edinburgh, UK