Why Bother Studying Economic History?
Among other things, it might get you a job! From an interview with Diane Coyle, editor of the recent volume, “What’s the Use of Economics?”
Employers, including people in investment banking, were saying: “We don’t find that we can get the kind of graduates that we need in economics. We find that people have too narrow a perspective, and in particular at that time they were saying that young economists don’t have any understanding that there had been a depression in the 1930s, that there had been recessions before, because all their experience had been that very long boom that we had. We had a 13- or 15-year expansion, which was historically unprecedented, so people who’d been trained during that period just had no experience of things going wrong.
One of the strong themes to emerge from the book, and one of the triggers for arranging the conference, was this lack of appreciation of history, of the way in which context changes the way you think about economics.