Working Paper BETA #2019-10

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Title : How Cliometrics has Infiltrated Economics – and Helped to Improve the Discipline

Author(s) : Claude Diebolt, Michael Haupert

Abstract : Fenoaltea (2019) argues that cliometricians have failed as economists, historians, and economic historians. His argument is based on what he sees as a failure to appreciate the fine art of data gathering and what he perceives to be the lax attitude towards measurement. He embodies these complaints in the history of the creation of national income statistics, and the unforgiveable sin of economic historians who attempt to take those measurements backward in time. He concludes his polemic with his dream, that “cliometricians can take history and the humanities as seriously as we take economics, and lead us to the promised land.” (2019: 12) We are unsure of exactly what the “promised land” might be, but argue that any recent issue of Cliometrica, and any article in the Handbook of Cliometrics will provide ample evidence that cliometrics is alive and well, takes both history and economics very seriously, and does so with a careful and critical eye toward context (clio) and measurement (metrics). Herewith we defend the accomplishments and current robust health of cliometrics.

Key-words : Cliometrics, Economic History, Economics, History.

JEL Classification : A12, B00, N00, N01.