NYU Abu Dhabi has accumulated a great array of talent in social science history. Social science history is the study of the past using the tools of social science, be these from economics, political science, sociology, or other disciplines including anthropology, demography, geography, and history itself. It can be either qualitative or quantitative, but is analytical in nature, and is usually informed by social science theory – while remaining as faithful as possible to the complexity of the historical record.

Selected Current Research

Bob Allen is working on the following projects:

  • “The Collapse of Civilisation in Southern Mesopotamia” (with Leander Heldring), revise and resubmit to Cliometrica
  • “The Economic Origins of Government,” (with Leander Heldring and Mattia Bertazzini) October 2020, submitted to American Economic Review.
  • “Slavery in Arabia” drafted.
  • “The Interplay between technical change, globalization, and the labour market in Britain, 1850-2020" drafted and to be presented to an IFS conference on the Deaton Inquiry on Inequality on 1 February, 2021.
  • “Wages, Technology, and Globalization in History,” Ellen McArthur Lectures, Cambridge University, 2022, continuing to extend research in previous two papers

Elisabeth Anderson is collecting data from published governmental reports and news articles with the aim of tracing the bureaucratization of state factory inspection departments in the late 19th/early 20th century U.S. The question is, in what ways did they manage to bureaucratize (based on Weber's multidimensional ideal type), in what ways didn't they, and why?

Javier Mejia Cubillos is working on how non-market interactions have shaped economic outcomes in the long-term, focussing on Latin America and the Middle East in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Giovanni Federico is working on a revision of his historical database of world trade (with Antonio Tena), and a new historical world population database.

Jeffrey Jensen, Giuliana Pardelli, and Jeffrey Timmons: In a book project under contract with Cambridge University Press, Jeffrey Jensen, Giuliana Pardelli, and Jeffrey Timmons are exploring the relationship between changes in political representation and the incidence of taxation across American states in the 19th Century. The project includes original historical data collection on state-level tax rates and revenues.

Kevin O’Rourke is working on the economic history of the 1930s, with a special emphasis on trade and trade policy. Working with disaggregated data on trade flows, tariffs, and non-tariff barriers to trade, he and his co-authors are quantifying the impact of interwar protectionism in a range of rich and poor countries.

Zeynep Ozgen is currently working on an article that studies the emergence of Sunni revivalist movements in Turkey and the Middle East during the twentieth century and on another article that focuses on the diffusion of global minority scripts and multiculturalism. 

Giuliana Pardelli and Heitor Pellegrina are collecting, systematizing, and digitizing historical data from Brazil to examine different aspects of its economic and political evolution. Their two main products will be: (i) a municipal-level panel dataset with socio-economic variables since the first census of 1872, and (ii) a port-level panel dataset with trade information since 1850. Exploiting these data, they plan to study how different trade, institutional, and climatic shocks shaped fiscal and economic outcomes in Brazil. In particular, they are interested in exploring the effects of Brazil's transition from the Empire to the Republic, the implementation of extensive land reforms, and mass immigration from Europe at the end of the 19th century.

Melanie Xue is working on the rise of women, the self-perpetuation of authoritarian regimes, and the evolution of antisocial behavior in imperial and modern China. More recently, she has begun a project on the impact of the expansion of mental asylums on women. She is also tracing out the historical component of cultural values by studying oral traditions.