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A Bit More about Theory in Historical Political Economy

Cross-posted from Broadstreet, a blog devoted to historical political economy. As Volha mentioned in her post on Monday, she, Eugene Finkel, and I are working on something—a review of the field of historical political economy for an audience of political scientists. As part of that process, I have been thinking about the role of theory in HPE. Sean Gailmard’s recent...

State Power and the Power Law

Cross-posted from Broadstreet, a blog devoted to historical political economy. Pavi had a great post recently on the different ways that historical political economists have conceptualized and measured state capacity. I want to follow up with a small point that doesn’t have anything directly to do with historical political economy, but that I believe is important for historical political economists...

What Did Stalinist Industrialization Accomplish?

Cross-posted from Broadstreet, a blog devoted to historical political economy. The spring quarter at Chicago starts in a week. I will be teaching a course on the political economy of communism and the postcommunist transition. I love this class, which I taught at Wisconsin for many years, and not just because it is an opportunity to subject a captive audience...

What Joe Biden Could Learn About Reform from Tsar Alexander II

Joint with Eugene (Evgeny) Finkel. Cross-posted from Broadstreet, a blog devoted to historical political economy. Climate change, racial equity, immigration, healthcare: Joe Biden has a lot on his plate beyond bringing the pandemic to an end. In possession of the narrowest of majorities in the House and a ten-seat deficit in the Senate on all business that can be filibustered,...

Novyi god

Cross-posted from Broadstreet, a blog devoted to historical political economy. What is the New Year’s holiday? For many Americans, it is an opportunity to stay up late, to take a day off work, to watch some football, to resolve to do better. And that’s in a good year. It is no surprise that a 2011 poll found that few ranked...

The (Limited) Power of Persuasion

Cross-posted from Broadstreet, a new blog devoted to historical political economy. Among the numerous consequences of COVID for everyday life, there is this: Many Americans will not venture beyond their own dining rooms for Thanksgiving this year, and so will miss out on the opportunity to speak with someone whose political views differ from their own. I confess to enjoying...

Life and Death During the Transition Depression

Cross-posted from Broadstreet, a new blog devoted to historical political economy. The New York Times published an interesting pair of reports on Tuesday. The first related a recent study in Health Affairs that documents a staggering, and unexpected, decline in hospital admissions since the arrival of COVID in the United States earlier this year. With the important exception of those...

Navigating the Frontier between History and Social Science

Cross-posted from Broadstreet, a new blog devoted to historical political economy. The hottest debate in academia the past week has concerned the appropriateness of a new article on “Frontier Culture” by Samuel Bazzi, Martin Fiszbein, and Mesay Gebresilasse. In his post on Monday, Jared unpacked the paper’s argument and summarized the diverse evidence the authors bring to bear on one...

An Interdisciplinary Conversation

A conversation with Tracy Dennison, cross-posted from Broadstreet, a new blog devoted to historical political economy. Scott: Tracy, this is the first post at Broadstreet for both of us. Welcome! Tracy: And welcome to you! It feels a bit like cheating to make the first post a shared effort, but it’s very much in the interdisciplinary spirit of the blog itself. Scott:...

Leaving Paris

On a warm summer day in late August 2019, we moved into a third-floor apartment in Paris’s residential 15th arrondissement. Standing on our balcony and looking to the left, we could see the district’s mairie—its town hall—and behind it the Eiffel Tower. Directly across the small park in front of us was a row of apartment buildings and a...