Prof. Dr. Jörg Baten:
Three broad themes characterize my research during the last years: the econometric history of firms, the study of welfare development and growth in economies around the world, and the long-run development of education and human capital in global perspective. The first area of research is based on the idea of creating the world’s largest database on the econometric history of firms, 1870-1920. It contains data on profits, capital stocks and other variables of some 19,000 firms (in many cases observed over time). Matched with a sample of 39,000 important patents, we studied the firm creation process and the management strategies that led to innovative and entrepreneurial success.
In the second area of research, I have made extensive use of new anthropometric techniques that allow the study of phenomena, periods and countries that were not previously studied because of insufficient data. Important questions that could be answered include the impact of globalization and market integration on inequality and human capital formation. Such questions have important policy implications for today. Recent studies expand the database to countries in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and other world regions.
Thirdly, and most recently, I am writing a global history of human capital, with a special focus on numeracy. For this end, I am making use of the age heaping strategy to approximate numeracy, including many countries in the Middle East, Africa, East Asia, and Latin America. For many of those world regions we can get back into the 18th century, for Europe even into the ancient economies. All those three research projects are undertaken jointly with my colleagues both in Tuebingen and elsewhere.