Historians and Economic Theory

ECOINT-Workshop, 18 March 2022

EUI, Sala degli Stemmi and Via Zoom


Economic historians often struggle to use economic theory for historical research. Since we are all influenced by present innovations and events, new economic theories and insights are appealing to apply in historical research. However, economists often have different methods, questions, and theoretical frameworks, which makes their work inaccessible for economic historians. Especially for early career scholars this difficulty often results in a disinterest for economics and its theories. How can we overcome this polarity and use innovations in economics in a constructive way? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using recent work of economists? What are common experiences and difficulties for translating research of economists for a historian? In sum, why should economic historians care about developments in economics?

The relation between the historian and the economist is an exciting but sometimes troubled one. This workshop will focus on both the personal experiences of the participants and their views on the interdisciplinary approach. Sharing personal experiences gives us insights in the specific difficulties and barriers other historians encountered and how they handled them. In addition, this workshop aims to spark debate on how historians should approach the work of economists. Should they criticise, adapt, supplement, or apply economic theory? Is there a difference between different schools of thought in economics when we consider their historical sensitivity?


14:00-14:15    Opening and Welcome by Brecht Rogissart

14:15-14:45    Stefano Ugolini (University of Toulouse)

14:45-15:15    Johanna Gautier Morin (ERC/EUI ECOINT Project Research Fellow)

15:15-15:30    Break

15:30-16:00    Grace Ballor (Bocconi University, Milano)

16:00-16:30    Wrap up with Glenda Sluga (ERC/EUI Ecoint Principal Investigator)