Economics, innovation and history: perspectives in honour of Nick von Tunzelmann

Maria Savona, Jonathan Sapsed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This introductory article raises a methodological challenge for scholars of technical change and innovation, on the one hand, and historians of technical change, on the other. We ask to what extent have economists and historians of technical change engaged in cross-fertilization with regards to methods and the identification of relevant questions. We then provide an overview on the use and methods of history within the field of Economics of Technical Change and Innovation Studies (ETIS), which is traditionally considered as ‘history-friendly’. We locate the work and intellectual heritage of Nick von Tunzelmann among that of a small group of scholars in which history and economics of technical change have co-habited happily. We reflect on the variety of historical methods proposed by the contributors to this Special Issue, who were invited to respond to the above methodological challenge. Finally, we propose a way ahead in terms of the identification of relevant questions and pertinent methodological approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1695-1705
Number of pages11
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


  • Economics of technical change
  • Innovation studies
  • History
  • History of technology
  • Cliometrics
  • Economic history


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