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Priority Programme "Experience and Expectation: Historical Foundations of Economic Behaviour" (SPP 1859)
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
In 2015, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme "Experience and Expectation: Historical Foundations of Economic Behaviour" (SPP 1859). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the second three-year funding period.

While the Priority Programme focusses on economic history, its goals are best met by a broad collaboration involving researchers from different disciplines. We invite researchers from history, economics, law, and the social and behavioural sciences to submit proposals for research projects.
Research Questions
Economic decision-making takes place in a complex environment under uncertainty. To reduce uncertainty, economic actors rely on expectations about the future development of economic key variables. The central purpose of this Priority Programme is to investigate how these expectations are formed. The basic hypothesis is that the formation of expectation is not a uniform, standardised and time-invariant process but depends on specific historical factors and circumstances.
The Priority Programme aims at a close integration of historical and economic methods. Three questions dominate our research: First, how does historical experience shape expectations of the future? Second, do expectations change across space and/or time because of differences in culture, institutions, or technology? Third, how do expectations change in the short term due to economic crises or exogenous shocks? The common goal of our interdisciplinary approach is to contribute to the theory of economic expectations by studying historical processes of expectation formation. A central task of this programme is to identify new historical sources which will help us reconstruct empirically processes of expectation formation, and to implement new methods for their analysis.
Structure and Project Design
In this Priority Programme, scholars from different universities and research institutes work together to shed light on the historical dimension of the formation of economic expectations. Currently, the programme combines the expertise of economists, historians, economic sociologists, and legal historians. Workshops organised independently by joint projects serve to facilitate their cooperation on common methods and topics. International scholars are invited to foster cooperation with non-German universities.
In the first funding period, the programme consists of 14 projects. They explore questions regarding security and investment, financial institutions and debt markets, economic expertise and forecasting, and entrepreneurial expectations.
The core research areas for which the programme invites proposals include:
o financial markets, crises, and phenomena of speculation
o firms, innovation, and technological change
o households and consumer behaviour
o economic policy and regulation
o experts and scientific forecasting
o history of economic knowledge
Proposals for the second funding period should not only regard empirical research, but also state how they can contribute to the programme's theoretical and methodological sophistication. Theoretical conceptualisation and empirical research should have equal importance in the project design. We encourage projects in which researchers from different disciplines cooperate. Participants should be able and willing to forge links between the disciplines. We expect not only excellent research, but also the ability to connect to fellow researchers within and beyond the programme via workshops, conferences, fellowships, and other formats.
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