Comparative Economic Studies

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 489–505 | Cite as

The Way We Were: Reflections on the Comparative History of Comparative Economics

  • Peter Murrell
Presidential Address


This paper examines the characteristics of comparative economics during the period 1977–1992, using computational tools to collect data on the character of publications. These data depict the distinctive characteristics of comparative economics, for example, whether it was neoclassical or new-institutional, and the balance between theory and empirics. Complete systems were a centerpiece of comparativists’ research, leading to an early focus on institutions, culture, and law. Consequently, the field chose a distinctive point on the trade-off between using advanced techniques and focusing on topics not amenable to study with those techniques. Possibly, this was why comparativists had a distinctive approach to transition.


comparative economics intellectual history culturomics socialism institutions transition 

JEL Classifications

B20 B40 C80 P00 P50 


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Copyright information

© Association for Comparative Economics 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Murrell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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