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About

Cliodynamics is a transdisciplinary area of research integrating historical macrosociology, cultural and social evolution, economic history/cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution is an international, peer-reviewed, open-access journal that publishes original articles advancing the state of theoretical knowledge in this transdisciplinary area. In the broadest sense, this theoretical knowledge includes general principles that explain the functioning, dynamics, and evolution of historical societies and specific models, usually formulated as mathematical equations or computer algorithms. Cliodynamics also has empirical content that deals with discovering general historical patterns, determining empirical adequacy of key assumptions made by models, and testing theoretical predictions with data from actual historical societies. A mature, or ‘developed theory’ thus integrates models with data; the main goal of Cliodynamics is to facilitate progress towards such theory in history and cultural evolution.

This journal is available for sharing and reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 International License which means that all content is freely available without charge to users and their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author.

Cliodynamics is a member of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and Scopus

Articles

An Abstract Model of Historical Processes

A theoretical model is presented which provides a way to simulate, at a very abstract level, power struggles in the social world. In the model, agents can benet or harm each other, to varying degrees and with diering levels of inuence. The agents interact over time, using the power they have to try to get more of it, while being constrained in their strategic choices by social inertia. The outcomes of the model are probabilistic. More research is needed to determine whether the model has any empirical validity.

Involvement of a Capitalist Crisis in the 1900-30 Inequality Trend Reversal

This paper proposes a supplemental secular cycle formulation for a modern capitalist society that employs financial, economic, and political metrics in place of population and sociopolitical violence. It makes use of Thomas Piketty’s (2014) hypothesis that excess investment return relative to economic growth causes inequality. In a capitalist society, the investing class can be considered as a proxy for elites. Inequality as measured by the ratio of financial to wage gains over time agrees with other economic measures. Rising inequality led to a reduction in capital productivity (output per person per unit of capital). This created instability in financial markets that generated the 1929 stock market crash. Application of a simplified version of the demographic structural theory to inequality trends shows political stress peaking in 1929. The depression that began with the stock market crash in that year resulted in a devastating political defeat for the ruling party in 1932 which brought in the political coalition that engineered the inequality trend reversal. This series of events can be considered as a modern version of the state collapse and reconstitution that was typically a key feature of premodern secular cycles.

  • 1 supplemental PDF

Reports

Trends in First Names Foreshadowed Hillary Clinton’s Electoral Defeat

I examine trends in the popularity of first names around the years of USA presidential elections, showing that the names 'Hillary' and 'Hilary' decreased abruptly by more than 90% in popularity following the 1992 election of Hillary Clinton's husband Bill. I show that this outcome is unique to the 1992 election, and argue that it may evidence a "dislike" for Hillary Clinton's public image among both Democratic and Republican voters, which may have eventually contributed to Hillary Clinton's losing the 2016 presidential election.

  • 1 supplemental PDF

Cultural Evolution of an Institution: The Sabbath

According to the biblical account the Sabbath has been commanded at Mount Sinai during the Exodus. Reasonably, there can be no archaeological evidence to confirm that. However, the archaeological evidence points to a rankless society in pre-monarchic Israel. Lack of social layers in settled societies does raise questions about controlling the lawlessness. Livni and Stone mathematically established that the Sabbath could keep unruliness under control and that later, starting with the Second Temple, it did so. This multi-disciplinary report portrays the history of the Sabbath in terms of socio-cultural evolution combining analyses of anthropologists, archaeologists, biblical scholars and computation methods. The report shows that the Sabbath is at least 3000 years old.

 

Databases

Seshat: Global History Databank Publishes First Set of Historical Data

This short report describes the publication of the first batch of historical data produced by Seshat: Global History Databank. The data is available as free, open access material here; see also our website for more information on the Seshat project as a whole.