Next week I will be heading to the USA for a few different things economic history-related. I am very excited!
The History of Capitalism
First, I will be taking part in a workshop at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia organised by Francesca Trivellatto.
The workshop's title is "Economic Questions - Multiple Methods" and brings together economists and historians working on the history of capitalism. You can see the full programme here. I am looking forward to reading and discussing the other contributions, which I understand will all have a pedagogy theme.
My paper, which I have co-authored with Queen's University Belfast colleagues Michael Aldous and David Paulson, makes the argument that the history of capitalism should be an essential component of business school teaching, especially in MBA programmes. We have called our paper "Teaching Capitalism to Capitalists", and in it we set out how taking a historical perspective on the idea that the corporation is the principal institution of modern capitalism brings a more nuanced understanding of its efficacy as an organisational form. I hope to post the paper here in the near future, once we have presented it in a few places and incorporated feedback.
Francesca co-edits a new journal called Capitalism: A Journal of History and Economics. The inaugural issue is now available online, and has an excellent articles, one of which is by Barry Eichengreen. Read his paper, and the other interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary/postdisciplinary contributions, here.
Then, I will be heading to Washington DC to hang out with Paul Winfree, an economist based at the Heritage Foundation. Paul, who helped us launch An Economist's Guide to Economic History in Belfast back at the start of 2019, has recently published a book of his own, on the history of budgetary policymaking by the US executive branch of government. You can read more about his book over at the publisher's website.
Paul and I recently had a co-authored paper accepted for publication in another new journal, the Journal of Applied History. The paper is all about how the new tribe of scholars who call themselves "applied historians" can learn from past successes and mistakes of researchers and practitioners of other applied fields. In particular, we focus on how economic history can be used to improve modern economic policymaking. You can download the article here from the journal's Early View page, or read an earlier working paper version here.
Paul will be joining Queen's University Belfast to work on PhD research in economic history, with John Turner and myself. We are very excited to have him on board.
Finally, I will be visiting the Federal Reserve Board to hang out with Nathan Foley-Fisher, a macroeconomist who also dabbles in economic history research. I will be presenting my paper on the Dutch interwar gold standard to Nathan and some of his central banking colleagues.
This macroeconomic history paper, which I co-authored with my Queen's University Belfast colleague Philip Fliers, explores monetary policy formation, implementation and impact in the 1920s and 1930s. We are particularly interested in explaining why the Dutch stayed on the gold standard for so much longer than other countries. You can read an earlier version of our paper here.
Nathan and I were PhD students together at LSE and UPF, and I very much look forward to finding out more from him about the real world of modern central banking. I wonder how similar central banking today is to the 1930s?
Chris Colvin is an economic historian based at Queen’s University Belfast, UK.