The Way We Were: Reflections on the Comparative History of Comparative Economics
This paper examines the characteristics of comparative economics during the period 1977–1992, using computational tools to collect data on the character of publications. These data depict the distinctive characteristics of comparative economics, for example, whether it was neoclassical or new-institutional, and the balance between theory and empirics. Complete systems were a centerpiece of comparativists’ research, leading to an early focus on institutions, culture, and law. Consequently, the field chose a distinctive point on the trade-off between using advanced techniques and focusing on topics not amenable to study with those techniques. Possibly, this was why comparativists had a distinctive approach to transition.