Is it possible to apply present-day standards to historical research? What needs to be done with the available material in order to enable long-term analyses up until the present? Discussing these particular topics, Prof. Giovanni Vecchi has presented the HHB Project at the Expert Workshop on Household-Level Datasets, hosted in Amsterdam on February 12 by the International Institute of Social History.
The IISH is home to the CLIO-Infra project, a collaborative website which aims to bring together historical research on global inequality since 1500, by facilitating a digital infrastructure for individual researchers and research teams that aim to bring together data on global inequality. The presentation has taken place during session 1 on "Ongoing research on global household budgets" and has focused on the added values of the project, especially regarding historical and geographical harmonization.
Widely known and esteemed statistician and economist, Prof. Giovannini has served as Chief Statistician and Director of the Statistics Directorate of the OECD from 2001 to 2009, when he was first nominated President of the Italian Statistical Institute (Istat) and then, from 2013 to 2014, Minister of labour and social policies in the Italian Government.
Among other positions, he is currently Co-chair of the "Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development" established by the Secretary General of the UN, Co-Chair (with prof. T. Atkinson) of the Statistical Advisory Panel for the Human Development Report of the UN, and Co-chair (with prof. J. E. Stiglitz) of the Strategic Forum on the measurement of well-being.
He is author of more than ninety articles on economic and statistical topics, and in 2014 was published the last of his four books: “Choosing the Future: Knowledge and Policy in the Time of Big Data” (Il Mulino).
His research focuses on the theory and application of Dynamic General Equilibrium models. He has written on economic growth, business cycles, asset pricing, the welfare system, innovation theory and technological progress, search theory, the labor market, intellectual property, fertility, and international trade.
His last book, Against Intellectual Monopoly, written in cooperation with David K. Levine, was published in 2008. He is currently Research Fellow of CEPR (London) and FEDEA (Madrid), and an economic advisor to the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis and to the Bank of Japan.
HHB welcomes Agar Brugiavini - Professor of Economics at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Director of the Collegio Internazionale Ca'Foscari and Dean of the Venice International University (VIU) - as a HHB Fellow.
Prof. Brugiavini holds a PhD from LSE (1990), with a thesis titled “Longevity Risk and the Life Cycle”. Since then, she has widely investigated the behaviour of individuals and household both in the area of consumption and saving and in the area of labour supply. In particular, she is interested in the effects of pension reforms on household’s saving decisions, in retirement choices and in the insurance aspects of pension arrangements. More recently she has looked at the relationship between health conditions and economic behaviour. She is currently member of the Core Management Group of the SHARE project, funded by the EU.
Prof. Peter Scott (University of Reading), who has just joined the HHB community as a Researcher, and Prof. James T. Walker (University of Reading), co-authors of the article Demonstrating distinction at ‘the lowest edge of the black-coated class’: The family expenditures of Edwardian railway clerks, have provided the HHB Database with their data about British railway clerks.
Described by Lord Rosebery as ‘men in the lowest edge, of the black-coated class... most to be considered for their narrowness of means’, railway clerks families faced one of the hardest struggles of all white-collar groups to maintain ‘respectable’ standards of housing, dress and other publicly-observable consumption markers. Railway clerks were also the only group of white-collar workers to leave a substantial volume of pre-1914 household budget data, compiled on a uniform basis, in a series of surveys conducted by the Railway Clerks Association (RCA) from 1910–1912. In the article, the authors utilise aggregate data from 611 household budgets for male railway clerks, together with over 200 surviving budget summaries. They are now part of the HHB Database, while supplementary data used in the publication are drawn from a sample of 100 households headed by railway clerks, from the 1911 Census.
Featured image: Southampton clerical staff at the beginning of the 19th century.