This is a guidebook on economic history and business history research for the undergraduate students who are interested in going to graduate schools, as well as for first year graduate students. Currently, unlike for other fields in economics, there is no standard textbook on economic history and business history, either in Japanese or in English, for graduate students. Hence, the students who intend to conduct research in these fields, usually acquire research skills through on-the-job training (OJT), with individual instructions by advisors.
Considering that, this book intends to provide the basic knowledge and skills that are necessary for studies on economic history and business history, by standardizing them as much as possible. First, it provides knowledge on the basic literature. In chapters 1-3, the authors survey the literature on the economic histories of Japan, Asia and the West. The readers acquire an overview of the issues addressed by researchers, how they have been studied, and the insights obtained from the research. Second, chapters 4-6 explain how the main fields of economics, i.e., microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics, relate to economic and business history. Economic history and business history are sub-fields of history that address, respectively, the history of economies and businesses, in a sense. However, as their objects are economies and businesses of the past, economics and management science provide useful insights and tools for research. Third, chapters 7-12 explain how researchers collect and use historical materials and data, with reference to material on large as well as small and medium-sized firms in Japan, material on firms and industrial associations in Europe, material on rural communities in Japan, oral history, and micro-data. The readers can obtain useful knowledge and information that could directly contribute to their own research.
As summarized above, this book is a unique guidebook for research on economic history and business history, unique not only in Japan but also in the world. At the same time, the readers would see a part of everyday works of researchers in these fields. We are happy if reader can understand a fun of studying economic history and business history as well as the knowledge and skills on these fields.
(Written by OKAZAKI Tetsuji, Professor, Graduate School of Economics / 2023)