The CLIO-Infra project will create a set of interconnected historical databases on worldwide social, economic and institutional indicators over the last five centuries, with special focus on the last 200 years. These indicators will enable historians to study the long term development of global inequality. The project is led by Jan Luiten van Zanden, who has formulated IISH's research programme on global economic history. CLIO-Infra will be hosted by the IISH.
Some countries have become quite rich in the (recent) past, others have remained poor. New theoretical insights in economics - such as new institutional economics, new economic geography and new growth theory - and the rise of global economic and labour history mean that these processes can and should be studied on a world scale. The issue of global inequality can only be tackled on the basis of global datasets for analyzing patterns of economic performance and their causes. For most necessary indicators, these datasets are lacking. Moreover, the data that are available are not always based on state of the art information of the countries and regions involved.
CLIO-infra will provide for this. Data sets will be improved or created on, for instance, standard of living, human capital formation, and cultural and political institutions. Economic and social historians from all over the world will work together in thematic collaboratories, to gather and share their knowledge on the most relevant measures of economic performance and its causes. The pooled data will be standardized, harmonized and preserved for future use. New indicators to study inequality will be developed. The data will also link up with data sets already developed at the IISH, like those on wages and prices and on labour relations.
These pooled resources form datasets that are accessible via a central portal, which will also provide visualisation tools to explore the data and map global diversity and convergence etc. The long term aim of the project - as developed by the International Economic History Association - is to change the 'rules of the academic game' in such a way that more efficient ways of cooperation are made possible and the exchange of data is facilitated. Applicants for the grant besides the IISH are Utrecht University, the Virtual Knowledge Studio (VKS) and Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS).
The project is subsidied by Dutch Science Funding organisation NWO for 1.423.000 Euro. The total project budget is 2.700.000 Euro.
For more information, see www.clio-infra.eu.