As an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, I read two books that peaked my interest in economic history. The first was Robert Fogel’s Railroads and American Economic Growth: Essays in Econometric History, and the second was Doug North’s Structure and Change in Economic History. I thought Fogel’s methodology of counter-factual history was very innovative and gave a shocking answer to a big question. I wanted to imitate Fogel’s work. North’s books was inspiring in that it provided a perspective on the long-run and stimulated my thinking on the role of the state. I have been grappling with this issue ever since.
The European Review of Economic History will soon have two new editors – Dan Bogart (UC-Irvine) and Joan Rosés (LSE). They will work together with Nikoulas Wolf (Univ. Humboldt) who will remain in office. We managed to get quick interviews both with Dan Bogart and Joan Rosés. First one out is Dan Bogart:
How did you get interested in Economic history?
As new editor of the EREH, what role will you play in the journal?
My role as editor is three-fold. The first and most important is to ensure that the best papers get published. My second role is to encourage high quality submissions to EREH. Third, is to promote research in economic history more generally.
In general, what do you look for in a submission and how would you describe the perfect EREH article?
In my view the best papers tell us something new about economic history and are well executed. Novelty is important because the field of economic history needs to continually advance. Good execution is also important as we would like the results of published papers to be regarded as credible or believable long into the future. I should add that in terms of methodology, I don’t believe there is any ‘right’ approach to economic history. I am regularly surprised by new and informative approaches to research.
What important changes do you see happening in Economic History research right now? How do you think this will influence future contributions in the journal?
For the last decade, there has been a trend in economic history towards greater theoretical rigor and improved identification in econometrics. I see this trend as continuing for the foreseeable future. However, I would hope that scholars don’t focus exclusively on identification when choosing their research questions. Economic history has always focused on the big questions, like the sources of the Great Divergence, even if a precise answer cannot be given with current data or techniques. There will always be room in the field for more exploratory research.