DP14192 Three different tribes: how the relationship between economics and economic history has evolved in the 21st century

Author(s): Martina Cioni, Giovanni Federico, Michelangelo Vasta
Publication Date: December 2019
Keyword(s): economic history, economics journals
JEL(s): N01
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14192

Economic history is back in fashion among economists, both in its traditional version, focusing on the economics of the past, and in a new version, dealing with the persistent effect of events in the past upon the present. Economic history is said to be increasingly integrated into economics. We systematically explore this issue with a comprehensive database of 3,286 economic history articles published from 2001 to 2018 in top economic history journals and in thirteen leading economics journals. We argue, however, that this integration is more limited than is widely assumed. The share of economic history articles in economics journals has increased very little, cross-citations are limited and only a small minority of authors publish in both economics and economic history journals. Furthermore, we show that many economists adopt a radically different approach, dealing with the persistent effect of events of the past up to the present rather than looking at the economic life in the past. In the second part of the paper, we measure the citational success of articles by publication outlet (economic history vs. economics journals) and by the nature of the work ("traditional" economic history vs. "persistence studies"). We show that publishing in the top five economics journals, when compared to publishing in economic history journals, substantially increases the number of citations, while the gap between the latter and other economics journals is much smaller. Finally, we speculate about the possible future evolution of the field.