Here are some research projects I’m currently pursuing.

History of empirical macroeconomics

The aim of this project is to write an alternative history of macroeconomics from the 1930s to the 1980s, taking the empirical practices of macroeconomists seriously into account. We argue that these practices are central to any history of macroeconomics and that taking them into account will allow for replacing a picture of macroeconomics as comprising two monolithic opposed camps, Keynesianism and Monetarism, in which only abstract theoretical economic and econometric ideas matter. Instead, we provide a picture of macroeconomics as a messy and complex discipline, characterized by a wide array of views on macroeconomic theory, applied practices, and policy positions, in which macroeconometric model building becomes the primary objective of every macroeconomist, whether Keynesian or Monetarist. Ten internationally renowned researchers will participate in this project, including Kevin D. Hoover (Duke University), Roger Backhouse (University of Birmingham), Marcel Boumans (Utrecht University), Béatrice Cherrier (University of Caen), and Pedro Duarte (University of São Paulo). The project will result in the publication of two collectively-coauthored volumes.

For more information about the project visit the following website.

Economics as a “tooled” discipline: Lawrence R. Klein and the making of macroeconometric modeling, 1939-1959

My Ph.D. dissertation focused on the effects that the introduction of mathematical and statistical modeling had on the production of economic knowledge in the mid-20th century. Taking Lawrence R. Klein as a focal point, I study the intersection between the history of macroeconomics and the history of econometrics, and provide a new understanding of 20th-century economics as a “tooled” discipline, in which theory and application become embedded within one scientific tool: a macroeconometric model. In particular, this new understanding presents the history of macroeconomics not as the product of ideological issues, but rather of divergent epistemological views and modeling strategies that go back to the debates between Walrasian and Marshallian approaches to empirical macroeconomics. I claim that my approach is not only innovative but also more informative for contemporary economists to understand the present state of their discipline.

Sources, data, and archives: the empirical work of historians and economists

I’ve also participated in another large project characterized by an almost unprecedented collaboration between more than twenty economists, historians, and historians of economics in Paris. The objective of the project was to reflect on the use that economists and historians make of different sources of information in their daily practices. We studied methodological, epistemological, and practical difficulties of analyzing sources as distinct as Mesopotamian clay tablets, Medieval manuscripts, data of the French national train company produced during the German WWII occupation, data produced through an economic experiment to understand discrimination, or juridical documents used to understand the institutional behavior of courts, among others.

The project showed that sources of information like data or archives are neither neutral nor “given.” They are necessarily constructed. Yet, our aim was

not to advice economists or historians about the limits and scope of their sources of information; it was rather to show that histories about these sources can result in fascinating accounts about the conditions of production of these sources, as well as about the people and institutions involved in their creation.

The project resulted in the production of a volume that will be published in 2018/19. In particular, I wrote a paper with a historian, Tristan Jacques (Paris 1 University), about the construction of a statistical system to produce data on retail trade in France between 1945 and the 1970s. There, we illustrated how the political priorities of the country, those of the institutional and professional actors, as well as the technical tools available at the time, were determinant in the construction of a statistical system that produced a given image of the commercial sector in France, favoring the emerging industry of large-scale commerce.