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Futures Past. Economic Forecasting in the 20th and 21st Century


Edited By Ulrich Fritsche, Roman Köster and Laetitia Lenel

Few areas in economics are as controversial as economic forecasting. While the field has sparked great hopes for the prediction of economic trends and events throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, economic forecasts have often proved inaccurate or unreliable, thus provoking severe criticism in times of unpredicted crisis. Despite these failures, economic forecasting has not lost its importance. Futures Past considers the history and present state of economic forecasting, giving a fascinating account of the changing practices involved, their origins, records, and their implications. By bringing together economists, historians, and sociologists, this volume offers fresh perspectives on the place of forecasting in modern industrial societies, thereby making a broader claim for greater interdisciplinary cooperation in the history of economics.

Ulrich Fritsche is an economist and full professor of economics, especially applied economics, at Universität Hamburg, Germany. His research interests include forecasting methods, macroeconomic expectation formation of households, and experts and time series econometrics.

Roman Köster is an economic historian and a currently visiting professor at the Bundeswehr University in Munich. His research interests include the history of economic crises and the history of economic thought.

Laetitia Lenel is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of history at Humboldt-Universität, Berlin. Her research project explores the history of business forecasting in Europe and the USA in the 20th century.