Working Paper BETA #2023-09

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Title : Economic History and Cliometrics: the Stand of the last Samurai

Author(s) : Claude Diebolt, Michael Haupert

Abstract : The job of an army is to wage war. The ancient samurai warrior and a modern soldier do the same job using different approaches. The job of an economic historian is to tell stories about the past. The old guard of the economic history discipline and the new wave of practitioners, referred to as “cliometricians,” do the same job in different ways and have at times clashed with one another over these differences. In the same way, the Satsuma Rebellion was a clash between the samurai and the modern army. This is the story of the evolution of economic history, the revolution that sparked a divide, and how the strengths of each party make the discipline stronger. It is told against the backdrop of the Satsuma rebellion, popularized in the film The Last Samurai.

Key-words : Economic history, cliometrics, history, theory.

JEL Classification : A1, A2, A32, N01