We are writing to invite you to submit a paper to the Big Counterfactuals of Macro-political History conference which will take place at the University of Manchester, Friday 24 March 2023. This is part of the CEPR Economic History programme with generous support from the Hallsworth Conference Fund, University of Manchester.

Keynote speakers:

James Robinson (University of Chicago and CEPR) and Walter Scheidel (Stanford University) 

Conference organisers:

Guillaume Blanc, Nicholas Gachet and Nuno Palma, University of Manchester.

Conference theme:

We plan to accept papers that cover macro/political historical counterfactuals. This will be an interdisciplinary conference aims to bring together a mix of early-career researchers and senior scholars who specialized in the intersection between comparative development and historical political economy. One of the main challenges of these topics is to find or construct credible counterfactuals to compare and contrast how different events of macro-political history has affected certain economic, political and social outcomes.

The disentanglement of causal effects has brought together, probably more than ever, different fields within social science. In this conference, we will reflect on the different methodologies and understanding of causality, within the context of macro-political history, and considering the applied work of the different researchers.

The keynote speakers, Professor James Robinson (University of Chicago and CEPR) and Professor Walter Scheidel (Stanford), are two major scholars in the field and will provide state-of-the-art addresses.

Costs and funding:

There will be no conference fee. We have secured funding which will cover catering costs and dinner, in addition to travel and accommodation costs (2 nights) for graduate students who do not have funds from their own institutions. We expect presenters to be a mix of junior and senior scholars. It is unlikely that we will be able to fund full travel and accommodation costs for all participants. Tenured faculty, in particular, will be expected to cover their travel and accommodation costs.


We suggest Hyatt Regency as the accommodation in-campus. For those looking for budget accommodation, we suggest Luther King House.

Social visit

On the day after the conference, there will be an optional visit to Ancoats, followed by lunch at the Curry Mile.


February 6 – deadline to send us a paper proposal
February 13 – we will communicate the accepted proposals (and possibly a waiting list)
February 24 – programme will be posted

For applications, please email a paper proposal to both Guillaume Blanc and Nuno Palma.

Note: the conference is expected to take place offline only.