Case Studies

  • Abe de Jong
  • Hugo van Driel
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Economic History book series (PEHS)


Case study methods are used to research individual units, such as an entrepreneur, a firm, an industry or a country. This chapter introduces three types of case studies: exploratory case studies, unique cases and cases that allow for explicit testing of a theory or hypothesis. The authors illustrate how each of these approaches can be used in economic history research using a series of examples.

JEL Classification

B41 N01 N80 

Reading List

  1. Bucheli, M., and R.D. Wadhwani, eds. 2014. Organizations in Time: History, Theory, Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Byrne, D., and C.C. Ragin. 2009. The SAGE Handbook of Case-Based Methods. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Carlos, A. 1992. Principle-Agent Problems in Early Trading Companies. A Tale of Two Firms. American Economic Review 82 (2): 140–145.Google Scholar
  4. Cusumano, M., Y. Mylonadis, and R. Rosenbloom. 1992. Strategic Manoeuvring and Mass-Market Dynamics: The Triumph of VHS over Beta. Business History Review 66 (1): 51–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. De Jong, A., D. Higgins, and H. Van Driel. 2015. Towards a New Business History? Business History 57 (1): 5–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. ———. 2017. A Citation Analysis of Business History and Related Discipline. In The Routledge Companion to Business History, ed. J. Wilson, S. Toms, A. de Jong, and E. Buchnea, 36–53. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Drelichman, M. and Voth, H.J. (2011). Lending to the Borrower from Hell: Debt and Default in the Age of Philip II. The Economic Journal 121 (Dec): 1205–1277.Google Scholar
  8. Freeland, R.F. 2000. Creating Holdup through Vertical Integration: Fisher Body Revisited. Journal of Law and Economics 43 (1): 33–66.Google Scholar
  9. Gelderblom, O., A. de Jong, and J. Jonker. 2013. The Formative Years of the Modern Corporation: The Dutch East India Company VOC, 1602–1623. The Journal of Economic History 73 (4): 1050–1076.Google Scholar
  10. Klein, B. 1991. Vertical Integration as Organizational Ownership: The Fisher Body–General Motors Relationship Revisited. In The Nature of the Firm: Origins, Evolution, and Development, ed. O. Williamson and S. Winter, 213–226. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Klein, B., R. Crawford, and A. Alchian. 1978. Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process. Journal of Law and Economics 21 (2): 297–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Larsson, R. 1993. Case Survey Methodology: Quantitative Analysis of Patterns across Case Studies. Academy of Management Journal 36 (6): 1515–1546.Google Scholar
  13. Mahoney, J., E. Kimball, and K.L. Koivu. 2009. The Logic of Historical Explanation in the Social Sciences. Comparative Political Studies 42 (1): 114–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Yin, R.K. 2014. Case Study Research: Design and Methods. 5th ed. London: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abe de Jong
    • 1
  • Hugo van Driel
    • 2
  1. 1.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Erasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations