Empirical-historical Economics

Professor Wolfgang Drechsler

The German Historical School of Economics (GHS), especially its younger and youngest part, whose eminence in Continental Europe can roughly be dated from 1860 to 1940, was in its time the main competitor to the neoclassical approach that seems to have won the day, in the form of Standard Textbook Economics (STE), today. However, precisely because it is an alternative, it is particularly attractive today to those who desire just that, i.e. an economic outlook that is less focused on quantitative-mathematical modeling (and irrelevance), but more on empiricism, on the one hand and on strict marketeerism on the other, than STE. Historically, the GHS also formed the basis of the Social Market Economy, arguably the foundation of the economic order of the EU, as well as of much of the thinking on Innovation (because static stability is not its goal), even though Schumpeter denied this. Likewise, its attention to institutions, social matters, and to technology is prominent indeed; neither is seen as a disturbance, but rather as a vital element of economics. In the context of Technology Governance, it is therefore particularly relevant to deal with this type of “Reality Economics”, which this course sets out to do. 

Drechsler, Wolfgang, ed. (forthcoming), Reality Economics: Texts of the German Historical School as Basis for Economic Reasoning and Policy Today, TAOCS, London – New York – Delhi: Anthem, forthcoming (as manuscript). Includes essays by Brentano, Bücher, Laspeyres, Lexis, Schmoller, Schumpeter, Sombart, and Wagner.
Chang, Ha-Joon (2002). Kicking Away the Ladder. Development Strategy in Historical Perspective. London: Anthem.
Backhaus, Jürgen G. (2000), ed. Karl Bücher: Theory - History - Anthropology - Non Market Economies. Marburg: Metropolis.
Hodgson, Geoffrey M. (2001). How economics forgot history. The problem of historical specificity in social science. London – New York: Routledge.

Credits: 2
Grade: pass/fail
Mandatory: No