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Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte ist ein genuin interdisziplinäres Forschungsgebiet, dessen Erforschung sowohl als Teildisziplin der Geschichtswissenschaft verstanden werden kann als auch disziplinübergreifend als Historische Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaft.

Als letztere zeichnet sie sich durch die kritische Verwendung und Reflektion der Methoden und Theorien der Volkswirtschaftslehre, der Demographie, der Soziologie und vieler Teilbereiche der Betriebswirtschaftslehre zur Erforschung der ökonomischen und sozialen Dimension der Vergangenheit aus und kann als Zentrum eines sozioökonomischen Lehr- und Forschungsprogramms verstanden werden. Am Institut widmen wir uns dabei in Forschung und Lehre besonders der langfristigen Entwicklungen der Weltwirtschaft und einzelner Volkswirtschaften sowie der Banken- und Finanzgeschichte.

Der Unternehmensgeschichte ist eine eigene Abteilung gewidmet, die eng mit dem übrigen Institut kooperiert. Unsere Philosophy Division geht über das interdisziplinäre Programm der Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte hinaus, und beschäftigt sich, unter anderem, mit den Grundlagen und Grenzen der Erkenntnis an sich.  Und das Cluster zur Erforschung der Universitätsgeschichte setzt sich in enger Zusammenarbeit mit dem Universitätsarchiv und in Auseinandersetzung mit aktuellen Fragestellungen der universitätshistorischen Forschung mit der Vergangenheit der WU auseinander.

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Die aktuellsten Meldungen aus dem Institut


Cover Schumpeter - Buch

Michael Peneder & Andreas Resch
Schumpeter’s Venture Money
Oxford UK: Oxford University Press 2021  
ISBN 978-0-19-880438-3

  • Presents the first comprehensive interpretation of the development of Schumpeter's venture theory of finance based on his early works, personal experiences as a venture investor, and his later years at Harvard

  • Offers a solid reconstruction of Schumpeter's unfinished monetary theory which is unduly neglected in comparison to his popular notions of entrepreneurship, creative destruction, innovation, and growth

  • Based on a diligent analysis of sources in German language and new found sources in the Austrian State Archives


Distinctively tying history with theory, political economist Joseph A. Schumpeter reached far back in time to understand what drives economic development and determines its course. Historical and empirical research provided a laboratory for learning. At the same time, he reached for a long-term vision through theoretical inspection and utmost abstraction, seeking to distil a phenomenon's essential nature and function. He believed that good theory can indicate where the economy is headed in the future.

Schumpeter's attention to history and theory also informed the plan for this book. Part I trails the historical stream of financial innovations and the scholarly struggle to assimilate them in monetary thought, while Part II focuses on Schumpeter's own monetary theory. Its deliberate reconstruction from scattered sources reveals a strikingly original and still modern conception. Drawing from the detailed study of documents at various archives in Austria, Part III then concentrates on the business history of Schumpeter's failed personal endeavours in banking and as a proto-venture capitalist. Finally, Part IV casts light on the legacy of Schumpeter's monetary ideas on contemporary thought. It depicts how monetary theory initially left them behind, yet has more recently set out to return to his ideas on money, financial innovation, and growth. Overall, a surprisingly coherent picture emerges from the study of Schumpeter's neglected monetary theory, his personal history, and his intellectual legacy on the present day.

Research Seminar

Seminar for Economic and Social History/Socioeconomics Research Seminar am
1. Juni 2021, 18.00-19.30h mit

Javier Mejía Cubillos (NYU Abu Dhabi, zum Thema
"Social networks and entrepreneurship in historical context ".

Das Seminar findet online via zoom statt. Schreiben Sie bitte an, um den Link zu erhalten.

This paper explores the relationship between social networks and entrepreneurship by constructing a dynamic social network from archival records. The network corresponds to the elite of a society in transition to modernity, late 19th- and early 20th-century Antioquia (Colombia). I exploit the timing of unexpected deaths as a source of exogenous variation of individuals' network position. I find that individuals better connected at a global level (i.e. more important as bridges in the entire network) were more involved in entrepreneurship. However, I do not find individuals better locally connected (i.e. with a denser immediate network) to be more involved in entrepreneurship. I provide quantitative evidence on the performance of the firms and narratives on the behavior of the entrepreneurs who created them to indicate that these results can be explained by the requirement of complementary resources that entrepreneurship had. These resources were spread in society and markets worked poorly enough to canalize them to entrepreneurs. Thus, networks operated as substitutes for markets in the acquisition of resources. In particular, individuals with network positions that favored the combination of a broad set of resources had a comparative advantage in entrepreneurship. 

Javier Mejía Cubillos is Postdoctoral Associate at the Social Science division of New York University Abu Dhabi. He holds a PhD from Los Andes University in Bogotá and has been visiting researcher at Stanford University and University of Bordeaux. His work concentrates on social networks, social mobility and entrepreneurship in historical perspective, with main geographical focus on Latin America and the Middle East. Two of his working papers that relate to today's talk are Social Interactions and Modern Economic Growth and Social Networks and Entrepreneurship: Evidence from Antioquian Industrialization. He has also published a biographical dictionary of Antioquías elites. Other projects include "Social mobility in an industrializing economy" (with Camilo García-Jimeno and James Robinson), "Committing not to build a state" (with Leopoldo Fergusson, Santiago Torres and James Robinson) and "Information transmission in traditional societies: Evidence from Sufism in early Islam" (with Jeremy Farrell). As you can learn from his home page, apart from his academic achievements he also runs a small private investment fund and is an avid reader and book collector in the history of economic thought. He also has an insightful twitter account (

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