Tuesday, 6 May 2014

EREH new editor: Joan Rosés

Joan Rosés is professor in Economic
History at London School of Economics and
new editor of the EREH
We continue to present the new editors of the European Review of Economic History with an interview with Joan Rosés:


How did you get interested in Economic history?
My interest in History began relatively earlier, during the last years of the primary school. Later, when I was about 16 years old, I discovered economics by chance. I was enthusiastic about two TV series: "Free to Choose" of Milton Friedman and “The Age of Uncertainty” of John Kenneth Galbraith. During my bachelor in History, my favorite subject was, indeed, economic history. Then, it was obvious for me to try to pursue an academic career in the discipline.

Could you describe your carrier briefly?
I finished my bachelor in History and Geography in 1990 at the University of Barcelona. Then, I spent four years as assistant in the Department of Economics at Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, while I studied a two-year master in Economic History at University of Barcelona. In 1995-96, I moved to the European University Institute, in Florence, where I finished my dissertation in 1998. My supervisor was Jaime Reis. In the same 1998, I published my first article at EREH. After a short stage at UC Berkeley, I came back to Spain and get a post at Universidad Carlos III of Madrid. I was at Carlos III for about 15 years (until September 2013). Since then, I’m professor of Economic History at LSE. From mid-1990s, I published many articles in all major economic history journals. My research interest covers many topics but now I’m most interested in historical economic geography. Typically, I work with a myriad of co-authors and I’m engaged in several projects at the same time.

In general, what do you look for in a submission and why?
It is difficult to say because each submission is special and unique. Broadly speaking, a good submission in economic history should contain good ideas and substantial evidence. Economic history is an applied discipline and we need historical evidence to sustain our arguments. However, we cannot write economic history in isolation. We should know what other disciplines (particularly Economics and History) have already said about our research topic. We cannot accept ahistorical articles or research which ignores the basics of economics or statistics.      

How would you describe the perfect EREH article?
This is certainly a harsh question and I haven’t the definitive answer. From the point of view of the Review, the perfect article is an article that gets many citations. Unfortunately, editors cannot predict ex-ante the amount of citations of any article. Then, the perfect article is an article that combines an original contribution with good scholarship.  Typically, these articles open new avenues for research.

What important changes do you see happening in Economic History research right now? How do you think this will influence future contributions in the journal? 
It seems that the Cliometric Revolution has been firmly established in the profession. Also, in the last five years, a new generation of economists seems increasingly interested in the field and economic history is expanding in many economics departments. Obviously, this opens a new window of opportunity for the profession but also represents a new challenge for us. We need to make the discipline more interdisciplinary and relevant. I expect that the field will interact, even more, with other fields particularly Development Economics and Economic Geography.

If you ask me for the hot topics over the next years I expect to receive more submissions in Historical Economic Geography, inequality and financial-monetary history (particularly articles about crises and failed/successful monetary experiments). Another area which should expand rapidly is economic history of developing countries. We need urgently more research in Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean countries.  

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