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Charles P. Kindleberger

“This book is an essay in what is derogatorily called "literary economics," as opposed to mathematical economics, econometrics, or (embracing them both) the "new economic history." A man does what he can, and in the more elegant - one is tempted to say "fancier" - techniques I am, as one who received his formation in the 1930s, untutored. A colleague has offered to provide a mathematical model to decorate the work. It might be useful to some readers, but not to me. Catastrophe mathematics, dealing with such events as falling off a height, is a new branch of the discipline, I am told, which has yet to demonstrate its rigor or usefulness. I had better wait. Econometricians among my friends tell me that rare events such as panics cannot be dealt with by the normal techniques of regression, but have to be introduced exogenously as "dummy variables." The real choice open to me was whether to follow relatively simple statistical procedures, with an abundance of charts and tables, or not. In the event, I decided against it. For those who yearn for numbers, standard series on bank reserves, foreign trade, commodity prices, money supply, security prices, rate of interest, and the like are fairly readily available in the historical statistics.”


Charles P. Kindleberger, Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises
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