Call for papers: Big counterfactuals of macro-political history

Conference to be held at the University of Manchester

Part of the CEPR Economic History programme (see also here.)

With generous support from the Hallsworth Conference Fund, University of Manchester

Arthur Lewis Lab Conference #2


Friday March 24, 2023

Note: This conference is expected to take place offline only.

Conference title:

Big counterfactuals of macro-political history

Keynote speakers:

James A. Robinson (University of Chicago) and Walter Scheidel (Stanford University)

Conference organizers:

Guillaume Blanc, Nicholas Gachet, and Nuno Palma, Unversity of Manchester.

Conference theme:

We plan to accept papers that cover macro/political historical counterfactuals. This will be an interdisciplinary conference aims to bring together a mix of early-career researchers and senior scholars who specialized in the intersection between comparative development and historical political economy. One of the main challenges of these topics is to find or construct credible counterfactuals to compare and contrast how different events of macro-political history has affected certain economic, political and social outcomes.

The disentanglement of causal effects has brought together, probably more than ever, different fields within social science. In this conference, we will reflect on the different methodologies and understanding of causality, within the context of macro-political history, and considering the applied work of the different researchers.

The keynote speakers, Professor James Robinson (University of Chicago) and Professor Walter Scheidel (Stanford), are two major scholars in the field and will provide state-of-the-art addresses.

Costs and funding:

There will be no conference fee. We have secured funding which will cover catering costs and dinner, in addition to travel and accommodation costs (2 nights) for graduate students who do not have funds from their own institutions. We expect presenters to be a mix of junior and senior scholars. It is unlikely that we will be able to fund full travel and accommodation costs for all participants.


We suggest Hyatt Regency as the accommodation in-campus. For those looking for budget accommodation, we suggest Luther King House.

Social visit

On the day after the conference, there will be an optional visit to Ancoats, followed by lunch at the Curry Mile.


February 6 – deadline to send us a paper proposal

February 13 – we will communicate the accepted proposals (and possibly a waiting list)

February 24 – program will be posted

For applications, please email a paper proposal to Guillaume Blanc and Nuno Palma. You can apply with only a title and abstract, but complete manuscripts have a higher chance to get accepted into the program. A poster session is likely to also take place.

The University of Manchester

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