The Contributions of Robert Fogel to Cliometrics
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Type of Work31 pages
Citation of Original PublicationDavid Mitch, The Contributions of Robert Fogel to Cliometrics, Handbook of Cliometrics pp 1-27, 2018, https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-642-40458-0_49-1
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Robert Fogel was one of the earliest and most forceful advocates for the use of quantitative methods and economic theory in the study of economic history and long-term economic change. He demonstrated through his work on the economic impact of the railroads and the economic history of US slavery that the cliometric approach had the potential to challenge and overturn long-standing views based on narrative approaches to economic history. The volume he edited with Stanley Engerman, The Reinterpretation of American Economic History, published in 1971 provided an early manifestation to economists and historians alike of the wide range of applications the cliometric approach could offer to various fields of economic history. Throughout his career, Fogel advocated for the cliometric approach to history more generally, not just to economic history. His contributions were recognized when he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics with Douglass North in 1993. In the subsequent 20 years until his death in 2013, Fogel pursued an interdisciplinary research project focused on long-run changes in the interaction between technological advance, nutrition, human health, and mortality culminating in The Changing Body (co-authored with Roderick Floud, Bernard Harris, and Sok Chul Hong).