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Journal Articles History and Theory Year : 2022

Putting Clio Back in Cliometrics


This paper makes the argument for renewed cliometrics that could serve history. History and economics have grown relying on each other over the past century, but a disconnect has appeared, whereby the range between history and economics has been occupied by the latter. As a consequence, historians have tended to shun these fields of inquiry. We begin our analysis with a discussion of the complex set of separate domains that lie between history and economics, and determine certain salient features that define them, in particular the search for nomothetic explanations. We examine the reception of economic method by historians and point out that it has suffered both from this nomothetic angle and from the implicit presumption that economics are only applicable to the economy. Stressing the distinction between understanding and explaining in the philosophy of history, we show that, for historians, explaining should remain in the realm of history. We then propose that economics be considered a methodological auxiliary for understanding, as new cliometrics, not attempting to offer explanations. We discuss some examples of using microeconomics as a critical methodology in the study of ancient Greece.
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Dates and versions

hal-03289608 , version 1 (17-07-2021)
hal-03289608 , version 2 (30-07-2021)


  • HAL Id : hal-03289608 , version 2


Laurent Gauthier. Putting Clio Back in Cliometrics. History and Theory, 2022, 61 (2), pp.289-311. ⟨hal-03289608v2⟩
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