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German economic history in the industrial age has classically formed an important basis for the study of economic growth and industrialisation more generally. This book aims to introduce English-language readers to modern German economic history based on a selection of work by one of Germany's leading economic and business historians, Werner Plumpe, who places particular emphasis on the institutional structure of the economy. Plumpe's work demonstrates that the country's economic evolution can only be understood by paying close attention to institutional peculiarities, such as the shape of industrial relations and the dynamics of corporate decision-making. It also emphasises the importance of the interconnectedness of capital and labour in the German coordinated market economy and draws attention to individual events and decisions that may have driven long-term economic development, but are rarely considered in approaches that deal primarily with macroeconomic growth.
German Economic and Business History in the 19th and 20th Century shows that Germany's economic history still warrants the application of an institutional view of economic transformation that is slightly different from the more formal perspectives dominant in the UK and the US. The book serves as a practical demonstration of a historicist approach to economic history introduced by the German Historical School a century ago, which still inspires large parts of German economic historiography.