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Economic History

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Inside Russia's 1998 Default

In 1998, President Boris Yeltsin’s government defaulted on Russia’s debts and the country experienced a financial meltdown that brought its people to the brink of disaster. In No Precedent, No Plan, Martin Gilman offers an insider’s view of Russia’s financial crisis. As the senior representative of the International Monetary Fund in Moscow beginning in 1996, Gilman was in the eye of the storm. Now, he tells the dramatic story of Russia’s economic evolution following the collapse of the Soviet Union and analyzes the 1998 crisis and its aftermath.

Reproduction and Human Agency in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900

This pioneering study reconceptualizes the impact of social organizations, economic conditions, and human agency on human reproduction in preindustrial communities in Europe and Asia. Unlike previous studies, in which Asia is meeasured by European standards, Prudence and Pressure develops a Eurasian perspective.

Twenty-three Nobel Economists

Lives of the Laureates offers readers an informal history of modern economic thought as told through autobiographical essays by twenty-three winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics. The essays not only provide unique insights into major economic ideas of our time but also shed light on the processes of intellectual discovery and creativity. This fifth edition adds five recent Nobel laureates to its list of contributors: Vernon L. Smith (2002), Clive W. J. Granger (2003), Edward C. Prescott (2004), Thomas C. Schelling (2005) and Edmund S. Phelps (2006).

Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren

In 1931 distinguished economist John Maynard Keynes published a short essay, Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren, in his collection Essays in Persuasion. In the essay, he expressed optimism for the economic future despite the doldrums of the post-World War I years and the onset of the Great Depression. Keynes imagined that by 2030 the standard of living would be dramatically higher; people, liberated from want (and without the desire to consume for the sake of consumption), would work no more than fifteen hours a week, devoting the rest of their time to leisure and culture.

Currency boards, more so than other exchange rate regimes, have come in and out of fashion. Defined by a fixed exchange rate with full convertibility, central bank liabilities backed with foreign exchange reserves, and a high cost of exiting the regime, currency boards were common in colonial times--until most were cast off as countries gained independence after World War II.

Essays in Honor of Jeffrey G. Williamson

The innovative approach to economic history known as the New Comparative Economic History represents a distinct change in the way that many economic historians view their role, do their work, and interact with the broader economics profession. The New Comparative Economic History reflects a belief that economic processes can best be understood by systematically comparing experiences across time, regions, and, above all, countries.

Although technological change is vital for economic growth, the interaction of finance and technological innovation is rarely studied. This pioneering volume examines the ways in which innovation is funded in the United States. In case studies and theoretical discussions, leading economists and economic historians analyze how inventors and technologically creative entrepreneurs have raised funds for their projects at different stages of U.S. economic development, beginning with the post-Civil War period of the Second Industrial Revolution.

Irregular Memoirs of an Intellectual Journey

János Kornai, a distinguished Hungarian economist, began his adult life as an ardent believer in socialism and then became a critic of the communist political and economic system. He lost family members in the Holocaust, contributed to the ideological preparation for the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, and became an influential theorist of the post-Soviet economic transition. He has been a journalist, a researcher prohibited from teaching in his home country, and a tenured professor at Harvard.

This startlingly original (and sure to be controversial) account of the evolution of Christianity shows that the economics of religion has little to do with counting the money in the collection basket and much to do with understanding the background of today's religious and political divisions. Since religion is a set of organized beliefs, and a church is an organized body of worshippers, it's natural to use a science that seeks to explain the behavior of organizations--economics--to understand the development of organized religion.

In Global Imbalances and the Lessons of Bretton Woods, Barry Eichengreen takes issue with the argument that today's international financial system is largely analogous to the Bretton Woods System of the period 1958 to 1973. Then, as now, it has been argued, the United States ran balance of payment deficits, provided international reserves to other countries, and acted as export market of last resort for the rest of the world.

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