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Quantitative and Digital Methods of Research in Economic History

Quantitative and Digital Methods of Research in Economic History

Journal of Institutional Studies, , Vol. 11 (no. 1),

This article analyzes new methods and approaches used in the literature on economic history at the present stage. Introduction of digital technologies in the economic history in the second decade of the 21st century, faces new challenges and new opportunities. Reducing the cost of digitizing information, leading to the accumulation of huge amounts of digitized data, leads to the emergence of new research methods and a number of specialists are already talking about a new methodological revolution. The authors show that in recent decades, as more and more historical texts such as periodicals, letters, diaries, personal archives, books, etc. are digitized, new methods for analyzing the data are emerging. The article describes some of the most interesting historical information resources that form the basis for numerous projects in the field of economic history, both at the macro and micro levels. In these projects data on prices and incomes from all over the world are investigated, including data for real and nominal GDP, wages, price indices, Dow Jones fluctuations since 1885, interest rates and exchange rates, and much more. The article shows how modern research uses mathematical, economic and digital methods that allow, firstly, to clarify existing theories, analyze much larger amounts of data and, in addition, contribute to the creation of new theoretical concepts.

Keywords: cliometrics; new economic history; quantitative analysis methods; natural experiment; counterfactual model; Markov chains; geographic information system

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