The Spring 2018 term begins at GMU today. We have some exciting speakers coming to our Workshop in PPE. The CSPC Wed seminar schedule has also been posted, as well as the schedule for the ICES seminar. So lots of economic ideas bouncing around at GMU and I haven't even mentioned Conversations with Tyler, which includes a conversation with Martina Naratilova -- who is much more than one of the greatest female athletes of all time.
I am teaching 2 graduate classes this term -- Comparative Economic Systems (Econ 676) and Constitutional Political Economy (Econ 828). These are actually the courses that I came back to GMU in 1998 to teach and have loved the experience with them each time. In both classes, a critical aspect is to discover how to engage or operationalize the insights from the theoretical perspectives explored into an empirical research strategy. How to do Theory & History. And, though I don't assign the book, the students are getting in some sense my spin on Mises's masterpiece on this -- Theory and History, which was originally published by Yale in 1957.
In my recent Liggio Lecture, I try to argue that in this age of scientism among economic historians, and post-modernism among historians of capitalism, it may be more important than at any time for economists to rise to the challenge and find the appropriate way to engage in theory & history. Economic historians who forget history in their professional striving to be economists, and historians who produce histories of economies without any working knowledge of economics both are doing the field of political economy a disservice that must be corrected.
Given prevailing biases this is a great challenge, but with all great challenges there is also great opportunities. My colleague Mark Koyama has had good success at cracking in decent professional journals with strong economic history contributions, but he has also written some brilliant essays on Medium that should not be overlooked. Mark practices theory & history. As does my close colleague Pete Leeson. So read them, read Mises, and ... read also my close colleagues Chris Coyne, Virgil Storr, Ben Powell, Ed Stringham and David Skarbek and you will get a good glimpse of what a comparative historical political economy research program can provide. And, yea, I guess I would recommend that you read me as well.