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Economic History As an Academic Discipline

Economics is a compelling force that has helped shaped countries and empires as far back as history records. Economic trends have had diverse effects which include triggering World War Two, the collapse of the Soviet Economy, the democratisation of South Korea and Japan and many others. The story of successful economies cannot be told with a mention of their respective histories.

Economic History studies the evolution of the phenomena from a historical standpoint. The analysis is taken using a combination of statistical and historical methods and applying theories to historical situations.

Economic historians argued that the two are split into distinct parts:

1.Economic History: The study of how economic phenomena evolved in the past
2.Historical Economics: Testing the generality of theory using historical episodes

This explained in lay terms could be an attempt at a distinction between Arts and Science -the former being primarily an economic history and the latter primarily an economic science.

Renowned economic historians have disputed over the separation of economic phenomena and economic theory in the inter-war era. Some propose that two were inseparable since, pure economics involved a significant component of economic history. Others believe that the study of Economic, which has research and academic branches, should be separated from mainstream economics.

Quantitative (econometric) economic history also known as cliometrics which was popular in the 1960s and 1970s argued that the inclusion of history is very paramount to formulating substantive theory.

The 21st century has however witnessed the closure of the separate programmes and has seeded the discipline into either economics or history departments respectively.

The study incorporates business history and financial history and also relates to social history in terms of demographics and labour. It is now regarded as a form of applied economics and is taught as a special field component of regular economics Ph.D. programmes therefore, there is no specialised graduate programme on the discipline.