Reflections on the Cliometrics Revolution

Conversations with Economic Historians

Edited by John S. Lyons, Louis P. Cain, Samuel H. Williamson

© 2008 – Routledge

512 pages | 25 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415748384
pub: 2013-11-11
US Dollars$59.95
Hardback: 9780415700917
pub: 2007-12-13
US Dollars$160.00

About the Book

This volume marks fifty years of an innovative approach to writing economic history often called "The Cliometrics Revolution." The book presents memoirs of personal development, intellectual lives and influences, new lines of historical research, long-standing debates, a growing international scholarly community, and the contingencies that guide and re-direct academic careers. In conversation with cliometricians of the next generation, 25 pioneering scholars reflect on changes in the practice of economic history they have observed and have helped to bring about, examining the rise of Western economies and their economic interrelationships, and the impact of modern economic growth on human health, mortality and even happiness. The conversations presented here are engaging, informative and – more often than one might expect – humorous. Together with a framework provided by the editors, they tell a tale of how cliometricians, their allies and their critics, have helped to transform what we know about the economic past.


"This book contains interviews with 25 academics who 'participated directly or indirectly' in the development of what was known as the 'new economic history' or the 'cliometrics revolution' of the late 1960s and 1970s… In the introduction the editors do a fine job of placing the methodological innovations in relation to various personalities and their works, career developments and institutions… this is a thought provoking book about the history of our discipline that is also an engaging read."

Pat Hudson, Cardiff University

Economic History Review 62 3 (2009)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Economic History and Cliometrics 1. Anglo-American Economic History to World War II 2. Before the New Economic History 3. New Economic History in North America 4. Historical Economics in Britain 5. Controversy: Or, One Thing Leads to Another 6. Cliometrics over 50 Years: Retrospect and Prospect Part 1: Before the New Economic History - North America Moses Abramovitz, interviewed by Alexander J. Field, Malcolm C. Urquhart, interviewed by R. Marvin McInnis,Anna J. Schwartz, interviewed by Eugene N. White, Walt W. Rostow, interviewed by John V.C. Nye, Stanley Lebergott, interviewed by Fred Carstensen Part 2: Before the New Economic History - Great Britain H. J. (Sir John) Habakkuk, interviewed by Mark Thomas, Phyllis Deane, interviewed by Nicholas F.R. Crafts, W A. (Max) Cole, interviewed by A. J. H. Latham, R.C.O. (Robin) Matthews, interviewed by Nicholas von Tunzelmann and Mark Thomas Part 3: New Economic Historians: The Elders William N. Parker, interviewed by Paul Rhode, Douglass C. North, interviewed by Gary D. Libecap, John S. Lyons and Samuel H. Williamson, Further Reflections, Part 4: La Loi Lafayette - Cliometrics at Purdue Lance Davis, interviewed by Samuel H. Williamson and John S. Lyons, Jonathan Hughes, interviewed by Charles Calomiris, Nathan Rosenberg, interviewed by William A. Sundstrom Part 5: The Expatriates R. M. (Max) Hartwell, interviewed by Mark Thomas, Eric Jones, interviewed by Nancy Folbre and Michael Huberman, Further Reflections, Charles H. Feinstein, interviewed by Mark Thomas Part 6: From the Workshop of Simon Kuznets, Economist Richard A. Easterlin, interviewed by Kenneth L. Sokoloff, Robert E. Gallman, interviewed by William K. Hutchinson, Robert William Fogel, interviewed by Samuel H. Williamson and John S. Lyons, Further Reflections (with Mark Guglielmo), Stanley Engerman, interviewed by Anthony Patrick O’Brien, Further Reflections Part 7: From the Workshop of Alexander Gerschenkron, Economic Historian John R. Meyer, interviewed by John C. Brown, Albert Fishlow, interviewed by Eugene N. White, Further Reflections, Paul A. David, interviewed by Susan B. Carter, Peter Temin, interviewed by John C. Brown, Further Reflections. Afterword, The Shock, Achievements and Disappointments of the New Patrick Karl O'Brien

About the Editors

John S. Lyons teaches at the Department of Economics at Miami University.

Louis P. Cain is Professor of Economics at Loyola University Chicago.

Samuel H. Williamson is Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at Miami University.

About the Series

Routledge Explorations in Economic History

This long established series provides a platform for books which break new ground in the understanding of the development of the modern world economy. Equally rooted in economics and history, the series is not limited to any particular period or region. Individual titles focus on particular countries, key industries, themes, or international economic relations.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economic History
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General