Historians and social scientists inhabit increasingly separate academic worlds. At the same time, history is assuming a more prominent role in quantitative social science, especially among researchers interested in economic growth and development over the long run. In this paper I argue that those who employ historical arguments, especially about the role of institutions and their long-term effects, must engage more actively with the findings of historians. Failing to incorporate historical research leads to models that mischaracterize the constraint structure faced by individuals and groups in the societies they seek to explain. Examples from the social science and history literatures are adduced to reinforce this point.
Journal of Historical Political Economy, Volume 1, Issue 1 Special Issue - Theory and Method in HPE: Articles Overview
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