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Specification and structure in economic history

Taylor Jaworski

Explorations in Economic History, 2020, vol. 77, issue C

Abstract: Structural approaches to empirical analysis involve the explicit use of economic theory to inform measurement and identification with observational data. These approaches are widely used in many areas of economics. In this article, I discuss the relationship between the use of structural approaches in economics more recently and early motivations for quantitative economic history. These include matching theory and empirics to the economic environment, accounting for data quality in measurement, and conducting counterfactuals. I then use examples from a growing literature to illustrate how these approaches have been used to make progress on questions in economic history related to market power and competition, the role of institutions, and economic geography and transportation infrastructure. I conclude by briefly highlighting areas for future research.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2020.101343

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