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  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: July 2009

7 - Scandinavian Business History at the End of the 1990s: Its Prior Development, Present Situation, and Future



In the Scandinavian countries, business history has its roots in economic history. The relationship between the two has developed into a true symbiosis. Today business history is recognized as an important branch of economic history, and the old controversies of the 1960s and 1970s between “macro” and “micro” approaches, between econometric model-oriented, “aggregative” economic historians and the more inductive, qualitatively oriented business historians, appear to have disappeared. The incorporation of business history as a recognized subdiscipline of economic history has not yet resulted in any business history independence movement, in contrast to developments in the United States and Britain. In fact, business historians have not raised any demands for upgrading their discipline by establishing academic chairs or departments of their own.

There are at least two main reasons for the accommodative relationship between business history and economic history in the Scandinavian countries. To begin with, developments in the social sciences, especially in economics, during the past two decades have weakened the methodological boundaries between macro- and microanalyses. The removal of these walls has had an obvious connection with the changes that have taken place in economic science since the 1970s. Stagflation and crises, as well as the absence of enduring growth in the underdeveloped countries despite massive capital transfers, caused many economists of the late 1970s to doubt the ability of Keynesian theory to provide the relevant analytical tools.

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