Economic analysis has many limitations, and my interests are not constrained to questions for which economics is an adequate tool. Historical research is particularly complementary. History is a study of human behavior in environments that are ill-suited for quantitative analysis. Pertinent data is often impossible to attain and research questions pertain to social structure, power, and belief systems.
For example, my long-time mentor in history, Professor Louis Galambos, studied how societal norms and beliefs interacted with institutions to create the modern economic system. A project I worked on with Prof. Galambos argues that there exists an entrepreneurship multiplier. Through spillovers and social connections, innovative acts generate additional innovation. In short, human behavior, even economic behavior, depends on much more than observable inputs.
As an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins, I produced two independent research projects in History. Despite the undergraduate flavor, I am proud of the resulting products. I am happy to share this work with interested readers. The first project is a social history of tobacco use in Britain from 1500 to 1919. The second project is a developmental history of the Highland Park neighborhood of Pittsburgh’s East End. This project studies the dynamic social character of Highland Park. It focuses on the relationships between transportation infrastructure, physical development, population inflows, and long-term residents.
All of my undergraduate research can be found here. The Highland Park research can also be found via the East Liberty Valley Historical Society.