Understanding European Economic History: Knowledge, Institutions, and Growth


This book review provides a multi-dimensional discussion on how the text (two editions) delivers not only factual information regarding European economic history, but focuses on the relevance and constructive uses of economic concepts, theories, and statistical analyses on issues regarding industrial economics. One major concern within industrial economics is the failure to recognize past experiences (the importance of history). Accordingly, the book contains a considerable amount of discussion about the problems and changes in the history of economic distribution associated with specific locations of economic activities, income, resources, production, international economic integration, and spatial economic activities in Europe. Furthermore, economic issues related to the international relationship between Europe and some developing countries are also elaborated. This book review serves as more than a summary: it highlights several intellectual and research-oriented aspects of the book that may benefit studies of economic industrialization and the humanities and social sciences more broadly. In particular, several aspects are evaluated, suggesting the extent of its comprehensiveness and the important data provided in the book. Finally, certain differences observed between the first and second editions of the book are also acknowledged and explained.

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  1. Persson, Karl Gunnar. 2010. An economic history of Europe: Knowledge, institutions and growth, 600 to the present, 1st ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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  2. Persson, Karl Gunnar, and Paul Sharp. 2015. An economic history of Europe: Knowledge, institutions and growth, 600 to the present, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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The author would like to thank the editors and reviewers for providing useful comments.


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This paper is single-authored and the review was implemented entirely by the author.

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Correspondence to Enn Lun Yong.

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Yong, E.L. Understanding European Economic History: Knowledge, Institutions, and Growth. Fudan J. Hum. Soc. Sci. 14, 143–148 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40647-020-00287-2

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  • Division of labor
  • Economic growth
  • Globalization
  • Industrial Revolution
  • Technological progress