|Karl-Gunnar Persson is
professor in Economic
history at University of
Realizing that the working paper series of the European Historical Economics Society is approaching its 100th publication makes me remember a fringe meeting at the International Economic History Association congress in Milan 1994.
A fairly small group, just about a significant fraction of 100, associated with the EHES met to discuss the possibility of launching a new journal devoted to European economic history. The group was evenly split in pessimists and optimists, those who argued that time was not ripe to fill a journal with good articles and those who believed that the creation of a new journal would attract young researchers to the subject and eventually fill the pages with good stuff. In the end the optimists prevailed, that is those who implicitly argued that there is a lot of endogeneity out there. The journal is now in its 20th year of publishing and has established a good reputation. (The formative years of our society and the European Review of Economic History is told here ).
I was not involved in the launching of the working paper series, but I believe there was some discussion whether it was a viable venture, that is, whether time was ripe or not. And even the optimists, I suppose, would be surprised by the instant success. With a society holding a congress every second year and with members actively organizing workshops, with so many research student being attracted to economic history during the last 10 to 15 years the preconditions, propelled by endogeneity, were present or were made present. With a twist of a famous quote (probably wrongly attributed to the historian Arnold Toynbee) the history of the EHES is just one damned good thing after another.
This blog post was written by Karl Gunnar Persson, professor in Economic History at University of Copenhagen.
The first hundered EHES working papers are found on this link: