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Economic History and the Future of Economics 2
18 September
20:00 - 21:30

Economic History and the Future of Economics


Economists think it is done by historians. And historians think it is done by economists. But in truth, the study of economic history has fallen through the cracks. This is a sad state of nature. Our contention is that our economic past should play a far more central role in the education of economists and historians. With: Chris Colvin, Jarig van Sinderen, and more to be announced. Please note the event is in Dutch. Click the register button to go to the Dutch event page on the website of SPUI25.

About the talk

The problem is particularly prevalent in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, the study of economic history is almost absent from the curriculum. The problem is present, to a greater or lesser extent, in both history and economics. This event will focus mainly on the case of economists. Our aim is to make academic and professional economists – and, more broadly, the interested general public – aware of the key problems associated with the absence of historical learning. And then, once the problem is acknowledged and understood, to discuss possible solutions.

Economic history is vital to the study of economics and the economy. Lessons from economic history provide invaluable insight into the big global challenges of today’s world – whether it is trade wars, financial crises, migration pressures, climate change or extreme political uncertainty.

The absence of supply of economic historians is no excuse for not engaging with a field that is clearly in demand. With a little help, every economist has the potential to be an economic historian.


Oscar Gelderblom


Chris Colvin, Jarig van Sinderen, Esther-Mirjam Sent, Sam de Muijnck

About the Participants

Chris Colvin is Senior Lecturer in Economics at Queen’s University Belfast, and was a NIAS Fellow in 2019. Together with Matthias Blum, he co-edited An Economist’s Guide to Economic History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), a new teaching resource which demonstrates how economic history can be re-inserted into the economics curriculum.

Jarig van Sinderen is Professor of Economic Policy at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Since 2013 has also been the Chief Economist of the Authoriteit Consument en Markt, the Netherlands’ competition authority. He recently published on the history of cartels in the Netherlands.

Sam de Muijnck is a Research Master’s student in economics at the University of Amsterdam. He is one of the founders of Rethinking Economics NL, a student-led action group advocating the reform of the university-level economics curriculum in the Netherlands. He is currently writing a book on which provides practical advice on how universities can change the way they teach economics.

Oscar Gelderblom is Professor of Financial History at Utrecht University, and was a NIAS Fellow in 2012-2013. He has published widely on the economic and social history of the Netherlands, including on the origins of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, the world’s first corporation with limited liability.

Esther-Mirjam Sent is Professor in Economic Theory and Policy at the Radboud University Nijmegen, and a member of the Senate for the Partij van de Arbeid, the Netherlands’ labour party. A vocal advocate of pedagogical reform in economics, her research interests are in behavioural economics, economic policy and the history of economic thought. She is currently an editor of the Journal of Institutional Economics.


You can sign up for this program for free. If you subscribe for the program we count on your presence. If you are unable to attend, please let us know via spui25@uva.nl | T: +31 (0)20 525 8142.