Economic history is a broad social scientific subject. The creation, use and allocation of resources are studied in a long-term perspective, as well as historical transitions and their causes. Important also are society’s formal and informal rules – its institutions – and their role for maintaining stability in patterns of subsistence and living conditions.
Research in economic history in Uppsala falls mainly within three broad themes: Swedish and international economic history; work life, welfare and labour market history; and research on business and financial history. In the case of general economic history we are particularly strong in the areas of industry, commerce and consumption and agrarian history. The department has also developed a broad competence within the areas of the history of economic thought and development economics. Much of our research originates in an institutional economic perspective based on a political economic perspective. Our research regarding work life and labour markets, as well as commerce, consumption, and business and financial history, is based on an understanding of time as an important component in social scientific analysis. Many of the process that shape modern society are formed by what is termed path dependence in social scientific research.
The department collaborates closely with other social scientific disciplines as well as with researchers from the Faculty of Arts. National and international research contacts have grown stronger in later years. A research center with a multi-disciplinary approach, Uppsala Center for Business History (UCBH), is located at the department. Uppsala Science & Technology Studies Center (Uppsala STS) was located at the department 2010-2015, but closed down due to lack of funding. The research environment from Uppsala STS, however, remains nit the least manifest in a veru active seminar. Members of the department also head the editorial board of the international referee publication Economic and Industrial Democracy.