Vai al contenuto principale

The Fragmentation of Economics and the New Role of the History of Economic Thought

Progetti europei e internazionali
Ente finanziatore
ESHET - The European Society for the History of Economic Thought
Settore ERC
SH1_16 - Historical economics
SH6_14 - History of ideas, intellectual history, history of economic thought
10.000 Euro
01/01/2015 - 01/01/2018
Mario Aldo Cedrini

Aree / Gruppi di ricerca

Partecipanti al progetto

Descrizione del progetto

Topic modeling

“The Fragmentation of Economics and the New Role of the History of Economic Thought” is a small-scale, interactive international workshop funded by the European Society for the History of Economic Thought (ESHET, Eshet Grant 2015), to be held in Turin on September 14-15, 2017, at the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi.

The workshop is part of a research project – team members are Mario Cedrini, Università di Torino; John B. Davis, Marquette University and University of Amsterdam; Angela Ambrosino, Stefano Fiori, Università di Torino) – on the possible implications, for the history of economic thought, of the new wave of studies exploring the history of economics using quantitative techniques of various kinds[1].

The workshop’s general aim is to assess the possibility that the current era of fragmentation (with mainstream economics in particular experiencing a phase of accrued internal “diversity”, if not “pluralism”[2]) is widening the space for an original research program on the evolution of economics towards a possible post-foundational future. Roughly said, historians of economic thought could exploit the availability of both powerful quantitative techniques and new databases to reconstruct (by combining their traditional competencies with the history-of-economics-as-science perspective developed by economic methodologists, in a new, long invoked[3] alliance with these latter) the non-foundational foundations of current work in economics[4]. The ambition to produce significant developments in our knowledge about what economists do and how the discipline is orienting itself in the wider contexts of social sciences goes along with the attempt of indicating a possible strategy to rescue the history of economic thought from the oblivion to which mainstream economics would consign it[5].

Initial remarks by the institutions (ESHET; Despina – Big Data Lab, Università di Torino; Fondazione Luigi Einaudi npo) that supported the project are followed by some “technical” opening presentations.
Such presentations are intended to introduce the audience to the new quantitative historical studies of the evolution of the discipline, as well as to the new possibilities offered by recent developments in bibliometrics, network analysis, text-mining, and the original perspectives [6] that these latter bring into focus.
Then, a number of contributions by leading specialists in the history of economic thought and economic methodology will examine some of the issues that are currently being discussed regarding the possible evolution of the discipline. In particular:

  • the state of fragmentation and pluralism characterizing mainstream economics;
  • the possibility of post-foundational development in economics, also in view of the relationships between economics and other social sciences;
  • the possible new role of history of economic thought and economic methodology at an epoch when, as said, both new analytical techniques and the fragmented state of economics can help them regain a less peripheral position.


[1] See Cherrier B. (2015), “Is There a Quantitative Turn in the History of Economics (and How not to Screw It Up)”, The Undercover HistorianBeatrice Cherrier’s Blog.
[2] See Davis J.B. (2008), “The Turn in Recent Economics and Return of Orthodoxy”, Cambridge Journal of Economics, 32(3): 349-366; Davis J.B. (2008), “Heterodox Economics, the Fragmentation of the Mainstream, and Embedded Individual Analysis”, in J.T. Harvey and R.F. Garnett, Future Directions for Heterodox Economics, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press: 53-72; Davis J.B. (2006), “The Turn in Economics: Neoclassical Dominance to Mainstream Pluralism?”, Journal of Institutional Economics, 2(1): 1-20.
[3] See Schabas, M. (2002), “Coming Together: History of Economics as History of Science”, History of Political Economy, 34(Suppl 1): 208-225.
[4] See for instance Cedrini M., & Fontana, M. (2018), “Just Another Niche in the Wall? How Specialization Is Changing the Face of Mainstream Economics”, Cambridge Journal of Economics, 42(2): 427–451.
[5] Duarte P., & Giraud Y. (2016), “The Place of the History of Economic Thought in Mainstream Economics, 1991–2011, Viewed through a Bibliographic Survey”, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 38(4): 431-462.
[6] See Moretti, F. (2013), Distant Reading. London and New York: Verso.


(ESHET grants website:


Ultimo aggiornamento: 11/05/2023 11:04
Non cliccare qui!