While methodological issues have increased in importance in the social sciences, not least in economic research, economics as a discipline tend tends to focus less on issues concerning the history of economic thought. As knowledge of theories and theoretical foundations must accompany methodological advances this unit was created by Professor Carl-Axel Olsson with the intention to bring forward the necessity of both methodology and the history of economic thought.
“The social sciences, not least Economic History and Economics, have recently shown an increasing interest in methodological issues. For Economic History the advent of the so-called New Economic History (otherwise known as the cliometric school) has made a substantial contribution to this increased awareness of the significance of methodology. Further development by Douglass North et al, towards what is today called the New Institutional Economics, has meant that theoretical and methodological questions have been brought to the very forefront of the discipline. Another issue being given a new lease of life, indeed one that has existed since the establishment of Economic History as a separate discipline, is the relationship between Economic History and its closely related disciplines, Economics and History. Several internal "methodological battles" amply illustrate the extent to which interpretations have varied over time.
The history of economic thought, long regarded as an interesting feature of Economics, has been relegated to a position of lesser importance within the discipline. In stark contrast, however, it has become an intrinsic part of Economic History research and teaching.”
As the history of economic thought is a necessary part of economics and economic history we continue this legacy at the Department today. Our research is well embedded in international research communities. Broadly we are focusing on European Economic Thought from the seventeenth century until today on issues such as: The Impact of Intellectual Economic Schools of Thought, Intellectual Controversies, History of Monetary Thought and Population in the History of Economic Thought. We are currently providing one elective PhD course in the History of Economic Thought.