The two revolutions in economic history

Martina Cioni, Giovanni Federico, Michelangelo Vasta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter compares the Cliometric Revolution of the 1960s with the current developments in the field with a quantitative analysis based on two databases, totalling more than 3,500 articles. First, we outline the slow diffusion of the Cliometric Revolution in the top economic history journals. Then we focus on the subset of economic history articles in thirteen major economics journals which put forward a revolutionary change in their research questions. The persistence studies look for the historical origins of current outcomes, the ‘non-economic outcomes studies’ extend the issues beyond the traditional boundaries of economics, towards sociology, anthropology, and political science. This Second Revolution started in few top American universities and it still is a niche movement, although quite successful in terms of citations. We end with some musings about the future. There might be a new synthesis, with scholars integrating a wider range of research questions or perhaps the field will splinter in three independent research streams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Historical Economics
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780128158746
ISBN (Print)9780128162682
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Citational success
  • Cliometric Revolution
  • Economic history journals
  • Economics journals
  • Non-economic outcomes studies
  • Persistence studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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