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What Time Is the "Great Divergence"?: And Why Economic Historians Think It Matters

What Time Is the "Great Divergence"?: And Why Economic Historians Think It Matters China Review International: Vol. , No. , Walter Scheidel, editor. Rome and China: Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. xii, 240 pp. Hardcover $59.20, isbn 0-195-3369-09. Tommy Bengtsson, Cameron Campbell, and James Z. Lee. Life under Pressure: Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700­1900. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009. xiv, 531 pp. Paperback $23.00, isbn-13 978-0-262-51243-5. In a 1965 article titled "The State of Economic History," Douglass North suggested that improvements in economic organization might have been "as important as technological change in the development of the Western world between 1500 and 1830." Although students of American economic history had drawn "broad inferences from scraps of evidence [about] the relationship between the money supply, price levels, and specie flows," most economic historians working at the time were oblivious to incidence theory, and in some cases spurned systematic quantitative analysis altogether. On the whole, North castigated much of the research in the field--then still heavily weighted toward the West--as much less rigorous than the work done by economists.1 Over the next four decades, a "new economic history" emerged, whereby one segment of the field has championed "cliometrics" in order to keep http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

What Time Is the "Great Divergence"?: And Why Economic Historians Think It Matters

China Review International , Volume 16 (1) – Sep 15, 2009

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Abstract

China Review International: Vol. , No. , Walter Scheidel, editor. Rome and China: Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. xii, 240 pp. Hardcover $59.20, isbn 0-195-3369-09. Tommy Bengtsson, Cameron Campbell, and James Z. Lee. Life under Pressure: Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700­1900. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009. xiv, 531 pp. Paperback $23.00, isbn-13 978-0-262-51243-5. In a 1965 article titled "The State of Economic History," Douglass North suggested that improvements in economic organization might have been "as important as technological change in the development of the Western world between 1500 and 1830." Although students of American economic history had drawn "broad inferences from scraps of evidence [about] the relationship between the money supply, price levels, and specie flows," most economic historians working at the time were oblivious to incidence theory, and in some cases spurned systematic quantitative analysis altogether. On the whole, North castigated much of the research in the field--then still heavily weighted toward the West--as much less rigorous than the work done by economists.1 Over the next four decades, a "new economic history" emerged, whereby one segment of the field has championed "cliometrics" in order to keep

Journal

China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Sep 15, 2009

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