My paper (with Mary Eschelbach Hansen) “The historian’s craft and economics” is now available on First View at the Journal of Institutional Economics:
History refers both to the past and to the systematic study of the past. Attempts to make a case for history in economics generally emphasize the first definition. There are benefits from increased attention to the past. This paper argues that significant benefits can be gained from increased attention to the systematic study of the past, the historian's craft. The essence of the historian's craft is the critical evaluation of sources. Failure to critically evaluate sources has the potential to lead to erroneous conclusions, whether one is using historical documents or more recently created data.