Report from the Economic History Society in Columbus, Ohio, September 12-14, 2014.

This year’s Economic History Association meeting took place in Columbus, Ohio. It followed the usual format of short presentations, and designated discussants on each paper, as well as poster displays from graduate students.

There were many excellent presentations, including some from European scholars or on European topics. Of particular interest to EHES members might be the session on Political Economy in Europe, with papers presented by Noel Johnsson at George Mason University, Rui Esteves at Oxford, and Mark Dincecco at  Michigan, and one on trade with Michael Huberman from Montréal, Alan de Bromhead from Queen’s Belfast, and Jules Hugot from CEPII. I particularly enjoyed Alan’s talk on the effect of the granting of female suffrage in the UK on the movement towards protectionism, which generated a lively debate.

In one of the sessions, Ahmed Rahman, USNA, talked about naval economic history

After an entertaining introduction, the Presidential Address was by Philip Hoffman, who argued against the traditional definition of the national state as laid down years ago by Max Weber. He demonstrated that many entities which we would certainly consider states did not enjoy a ‘monopoly of violence’.

The Gerschenkron Prize for the best PhD dissertation on topics other than American economic history was won by Tyler Beck Goodspeed on ‘Essays in British Financial History’. He received his PhD from Harvard, so no luck for the Europeans this year. He is however currently at Oxford, so we can be optimistic that European universities continue to attract many of the best economic historians – even from the United States.

The dissertation session

Otherwise, the Friday night reception at the Ohio Statehouse was a great chance to visit this impressive building. The Saturday night dinner was, on the other hand, in the view of your correspondant, something of a let down!

This blog post was written by Paul Sharp, professor in Economic History at University of Southern Denmark