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Tobias Lunde

Tobias Lunde

PhD Candidate in Economic History

Member of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure


Biography:

I am a PhD candidate in history at Fitzwilliam College. Prior to this, I studied economics for both my MA at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh (2012-16), and MSc at the University of Edinburgh (2016-17). 

Within economics I focused on econometrics, research design and the identification of causal effects, looking at what theoretical and statistical results can (and cannot) tell us about the state of the world and how we got here, focusing on questions relating to inequality between people and regions, long-term trends in economic development and the causes of economic change. Somewhat accidentally I got involved as a research assistant on a project using the Statistical Accounts of Scotland to study the Scottish Industrial Revolution, and quickly realised that history was very well suited for me to continue asking such questions.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the Scottish Industrial Revolution, which I approach using a combination of exploratory and confirmatory data analysis applied to large historical datasets.

We speak of a British Industrial Revolution and we know that Scotland was at the heart of early industrialisation, transforming from a poor agrarian society to a global leader in textiles, chemicals and heavy industry, and with Glasgow emerging as the Second City of the Empire. But while our understanding of the Industrial Revolution more generally has been transformed by large-scale studies of historical data – such as Wrigley and Schofield's Population History of England and Robert Allen and Stephen Broadberry et. a's historical macroeconomic series on wages and national income – have been almost exclusively focused on England and Wales, and the treatment of Scotland only cursory.

It is argued part of the reason for this is a lack of sources covering Scotland, but I would argue that there is instead a lack of sources suitable to the common regression approaches of economic history. Aiming to partly rectifying this, I am currently working on systematically studying large amounts of qualitative data on nineteenth century Scotland’s society and economy in the form of the 30,000-page Statistical Accounts of Scotland. They are parish-by-parish accounts of the state of Scotland in the 1790s and 1830s, a sort of qualitative national accounting exercise, but its sheer size and idiosyncrasies has meant it’s only been used anecdotally as a source. Using a combination of text mining and correspondence analysis and related methods - which can systematically study both quantitative and qualitative data - I hope to explore and visualise patterns relating to industrialisation that the Accounts likely contain, but that are inaccessible to us as humans with limited cognition and capacities.

More generally, I am interested problems pertaining to the statistical study of historical sources, and especially methods inspired by the French school of data analysis that allow for the exploration and visualization of large amounts of (historical) information without being restricted by having hypotheses to test and theories to confirm or falsify. I am also interested in regional socio-economic differences and dynamics, such as the appropriateness of the – often implicit – treatment of Scotland as just another region of Britain.

Keywords

  • Economic, Social History
  • British social history c.1600-1850
  • Modern British History