5. Diskurs, Narrativ, Sonderweg, Hitler, Turn. Konjunkturen geschichtswissenschaftlicher Begriffe im „Clio Viewer“ (2020)

In: Working Papers of the Priority Programme 1859 “Experience and Expectation. Historical Foundations of Economic Behaviour” No 27 (October 2020). With Tobias Jopp and Mark Spoerer (in German, Link. Forthcoming in: Historische Zeitschrift)

At the suggestion of a (non-representative) Twitter survey among historians, we would like to present in this article a corpus of essays from eleven German historiographical journals and illustrate how the use of various historical terms has changed since 1950. The aim is not to present a “digital conceptual history” of various terms or even to draw conclusions about the development of the discipline. Rather, our aim is to present several terms and their “business cycles” in order to lay the foundation for a more in-depth discussion of digital historical methods and the use of a “Clio Viewer”. We pay special attention to discussing the methodological pitfalls associated with the use of simple keyword searches.

4. Zur Konjunktur des Zählens – oder wie man Quantifizierung quantifiziert. Eine empirische Analyse der Anwendung quantitativer Methoden in der deutschen Geschichtswissenschaft (2020)

In: Historische Zeitschrift, Issue 310, No. 3, p. 580–621. With Michael Buchner, Tobias Jopp, and Mark Spoerer (in German, Link. For an English version, see here

The establishment of social history as ‘historical social science’ during the 1970s added quantitative-statistical methods to historians’ methodological toolbox, complementing existing qualitative-hermeneutical approaches. Since the days of the ‘Bielefeld school’, technological progress has provided ever more powerful and user-friendly software tools principally facilitating quantitative analyses. However, quantitative approaches towards historical research questions seem to be applied mainly in few sub-disciplines such as economic history. A reason for this methodological restraint might be widespread skepticism towards quantitative methods among the many supporters of the ‘new cultural history’. Yet, the question as to how intensively quantitative methods have been used in German-speaking historiography has attracted only little empirical research. We aim at filling this gap by exploring a text corpus consisting of more than 7,600 articles published in ten German historical journals, among others the HZ, and covering the period 1951-2016. Our approach is both qualitative and quantitative in nature, combining the counting of tables and figures with a lexicographical inquiry and an extensive discussion. Our results confirm the hypothesis that the cultural turn largely reversed the growing trend towards application of quantitative methods in many parts of historiography. However, the ‘quantification of quantification’ holds some surprises.

3. What’s in the news? (Erfolgs-) Rezepte für das wissenschaftliche Arbeiten mit digitalisierten Zeitungen (Panel at the DHd conference 2020 in Paderborn)

In: Schöch, Christof. (2020). DHd 2020 Spielräume: Digital Humanities zwischen Modellierung und Interpretation. Konferenzabstracts, p. 70-72. With Bernhard Liebl, Sarah Oberbichler, Torsten Roeder, Jana Keck, Estelle Bunout, and Marten Düring. (Link)

2. Von Wirtschaftsweisen und Topic Models: 50 Jahre ökonomische Expertise aus einer Text Mining Perspektive (2019)

In: Patrick Sahle (Hg.): DHd 2019 Digital Humanities: multimedial & multimodal. Konferenzabstracts. Frankfurt, p. 240–245. (In German, Link)

The increase in the availability of digital texts presents new challenges and opportunities for research in the fields of contemporary and economic history. The present article examines how automated content analysis using Topic Modelling can be used to study a historically significant corpus: the annual reports of the German Council of Economic Experts, one of the most prominent bodies in economic policy advice. The aim is to show how text mining methods in general and topic models in particular open up new approaches to the historical analysis of the work of the Councisl, often referred to as the “Olympus of Economists”, and how the Council’s more than 50 years of work can be viewed in its entirety. To this end, the topics of all the reports published between 1965 and 2015, a corpus of about seven million words, are presented with the help of a topic model. The results are beeing compared to actual economic developments, and further possibilities of the Topic Modeling approach are illustrated.

1. Economic History Goes Digital: Topic Modeling the Journal of Economic History (2019)

In: Cliometrica 13 (1), p. 83–125. (Link)

Digitization and computer science have established a completely new set of methods with which to analyze large collections of texts. One of these methods is particularly promising for economic historians: topic models, i.e., statistical algorithms that automatically infer the content from large collections of texts. In this article, I present an introduction to topic modeling and give an initial review of the research using topic models. I illustrate their capacity by applying them to 2675 articles published in the Journal of Economic History between 1941 and 2016. By comparing the results to traditional research on the JEH and to recent studies on the cliometric revolution, I aim to demonstrate how topic models can enrich economic historians’ methodological toolboxes.

Work in progress

– Im Olymp der Ökonomen. Eine digitale Geschichte der Resonanz wirtschaftspolitischer Experten in Deutschland 1965 bis 2015

The „Olympus“ of Economic Policy Advice. A Digital History of Economic Policy Experts in Germany 1965-2015, Doctoral dissertation, defended at University of Regensburg in November 2020; see here

– Turn, turn, turn. A Digital History of German Historiography, 1950-2019

– The Sound of Silence. Economists in Public Discourse

Newspaper articles (selection)

Experten im politischen Sturm (Süddeutsche Zeitung 22.03.2021)
– Aus der Geschichte lernen (Börsen-Zeitung 09.12.2014)
– 500 Jahre Bank- und Geldgeschichte (Börsen-Zeitung 23.08.2014)
– Yoga für den ,,Büro-Krieger‘‘ (Börsen-Zeitung 23.08.2014)
– Trend zur Nachhaltigkeit bei Kunden ungebrochen (Börsen-Zeitung 05.04.2014)
– Dubai baut wieder in den Himmel (Börsen-Zeitung 15.03.2014)
– Renzis Pläne fallen durch (Börsen-Zeitung 27.02.2014)