The research at the Unit for Economic History has roots in history and social sciences and provides long-term perspectives on social development. The department has a professorship in Economic History (held by Christer Lundh) and a professorship in Business History with support from Torsten and Ragnar Söderberg's foundations (held by Susanna Fellman). The research in Economic and Social history deals with themes such as wages, productivity, migration, living standards and health / mortality, while research in Business History and Business History focuses on themes such as companies and markets.
The department has two visiting professors within the Visiting Professors Programme. These two are Deborah Oxley (Oxford, period 2016-2019) and Andrew Popp (Liverpool, 2015-2018). In addition, there are professors emeriti, associate professors, doctoral researchers and doctoral students, as well as international guest researchers. The total number of researchers amounts to about 25 people.
One profile area within the subject of Business History here in Gothenburg is the study of cartels and competition policy in a historical perspective. Other topics that have been focused on in recent years are the changing conditions of the Swedish advertising market, press historical research, society's financialization, networks in business and the business elite. Another important theme has been early credit markets in Gothenburg, and in particular the demarcation between formal and informal credit markets. The Gothenburg commercial houses have also been the subject of extensive research.
A new project analyzes digitalisation in the steel industry. In a comparative project, small companies and self-employed people in Finland and Sweden are studied during the post-war period and especially as part of regional policy measures. One area that is being established is history methodological issues, focusing on debates that are ongoing within the subject of Business History and especially the role of the business archive.
Economic and Social History
A profile area for research in economic and social history has during the last ten years been labour market history studies of, for example, wages, living standards, mobility and institutions. Studies of productivity and emigration have also been conducted. Some of the more recent projects relate to labour market and productivity issues, while others open new fields: socio-economic differences in diet and health, selection and migration and historical mortality in pre-colonial West Africa.