Table of Contents

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Heterodox Economics

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Heterodox Economics

Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series

Edited by Frederic S. Lee and Bruce Cronin

Despite the important critiques of the mainstream offered by heterodox economics, the dominant method remains econometrics. This major new Handbook provides an invaluable introduction to a range of alternative research methods better suited for analysing the social data prominent in heterodox research projects, including survey, historical, ethnographic, experimental, and mixed approaches, together with factor, cluster, complex, and social network analytics. Introductions to each method are complemented by descriptions of applications in practice.

Chapter 5: Historical method and data

Natalia Bracarense and A. Reeves Johnson

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought, methodology of economics, post-keynesian economics, radical and feminist economics, research methods, research methods in economics


According to Frederic Lee, heterodox economics studies the social provisioning process. As a process implies movement through time, an understanding of history and historical change would seem necessary to study social provisioning. Living up to this claim, however, has proven to be difficult in practice. As a step towards overcoming these challenges, the present chapter argues that the agency–structure framework espoused by critical realists permits the use of genuinely historical methods and data. With the support of this argument, this chapter is devoted to an evaluation of research methods for an economics informed by history, and one that understands social change as the interaction between agents and social structures.

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