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Cliometrics and complexity

Cliometrics and Complexity

The interdisciplinary team "Cliometrics and Complexity" (CAC) born in September 2014 aims to advance the analysis of time series in economics and finance. By combining the skills of economists, historians, signal theorists and physicists, this team will work on the modeling of macroeconomic and financial data. We believe that methodological exchanges between different academic fields are beneficial for a renewed understanding of the underlying dynamics of social systems. A strong impulse for the creation of this team comes from the social and political importance of economic analyses, as evidenced by recent controversies on Reinhart and Rogoff over the effects of government debt on growth, or the success of Piketty and colleagues' work on historical data about income inequality. Currently, the integrated modeling of epidemic and macroeconomic dynamics is another example of the intersection of complex systems methods and macroeconomic analysis with a historical or even anthropological dimension.



The team CAC is an attempt to bring together active researchers and professors from interdisciplinary fields. More specifically, the goal of this initiative is to

  1. advance research in the domain of Cliometrics by using dynamic modeling and complex systems analysis;
  2. highlight the benefits of their application for policy making;
  3. build a network promoting synergy between different disciplines such as Cliometrics, Econometrics, Physics, Mathematics, and Biology.


We are very pleased to announce the creation of the Team “Cliometrics and Complexity” (CAC) hosted by IXXI – ENS Lyon, the Complex Systems Institute in Rhône-Alpes ( The IXXI “Complex System Institute” has already a practice of interdisciplinary collaboration in the modeling of complex systems since it hosts several research fields, currently Mathematics, Computer sciences, Biology and Physics.

CAC is not intended to be a Lab but a research project within IXXI – ENS Lyon, aiming at bringing together complex systems modeling and the new discipline of Cliometrics, which aims at modeling long historical macroeconomic and financial data.  More specifically, our main goal is to stimulate new approaches to Economic History by drawing inspiration from other disciplines, notably complex systems modeling in Biology, Mathematics and Physics.

We think that the methodological exchanges between different academic fields are fundamentally beneficial for a renewed understanding of the underlying dynamics of historical and social systems and will enrich our knowledge of the past. Symmetrically, methods for modeling complex systems, which are largely cross-disciplinary, can be enriched by a better understanding of the conditions of their application to long-term economic and financial data.

The recent burst in the study of non-linear dynamics has led to a significant number of innovative approaches attempting to explain observed deviations from normality.

The idea is that chaotic processes and multiple regimes on financial and real markets emphasize the need of reconsidering the conventional economic and financial analysis. The amalgam of persistent endogenous changes, due to the heterogeneous nature of economic agents’ beliefs, and high levels of exogenous noise seems to address adequately the occurrence of complex dynamics, such as cycles or even chaotic fluctuations, in modern economies. In this line, attempting an interdisciplinary investigation of potential synergies between Economic History and the modeling of complex systems is the challenge that we want to raise: indeed, real world processes are highly complex, noisy, non-stationary and associated to non-linear phenomena. Nevertheless, many linear and classical methods in statistics and time series analysis require normally distributed and stationary data.

Among the tools that can help to deal with more complex historical data, recurrence analysis, for example (originally employed in non-linear physics, time-series analysis, physiology and neurosciences) is a powerful multipurpose approach for studying non-stationary variables, employing the fundamental property of recurrence in dynamical systems. The presence of recurrences is crucial in Economic History but too rare are the attempts in the literature to apply the relevant methodological tools of Recurrence plots (RP) and recurrence quantification analysis (RQA) to historical time series. Hopefully, CAC would like to start filling this gap. The following relevant research axes are of special interest for CAC:

  • Complex Systems and Invariant Measures: Feedback, path-dependency, connectivity, concentration, degree, betweenness, bifurcation, correlation dimension, Lyapunov exponent.
  • Complex Networks: Network structure, complex dynamics, stability/instability examination, percolation,  scale-free and small-world networks, Multiplex, dynamic graphs.
  • Quantifying Financial/Economic Complexity, Uncertainty: Measures of criticality, power-law, random matrix theory, information theory, econophysics, rescale-range analysis, out-of-equilibrium dynamics, agents’ heterogeneity, nonlinear trading rules, knightian uncertainty, Signal processing, denosing models.
  • Nonlinear Techniques, Causality, Contagion: Copulas, Granger causality, direct causality, neglected nonlinearity methods, transfer entropy, dynamic correlation, univariate and cross-recurrence plots.


In the effort to communicate the joint research activity of the Team CAC and encourage original and interdisciplinary papers in the field of Economic History in collaboration with other researchers using complex systems modeling (for instance, mathematicians, physicists, biologists, econo-physicists), a seminar will be held every year and an international conference will be held every 2 years under the auspices of IXXI at the ENS Lyon. The first seminar took place 27 November 2015, and the first international conference took place 9-10 June 2016. Since its creation in September 2014, CAC already organized 2 international symposiums, 1 satellite workshop within the Annual Conference on Complex System (CCS2021), 6 seminars, 2 joint-seminars with the CERDI of UCA. The link to these events can be found below:

International Symposiums:

Seminars :

Seminar “Cliometrics and Complexity”: 23rd of November 2020, 10a.m-11a.m., Session “Cliometrics and Complexity” CAC – CERDI – IDREC, 12th International Conference on the Chinese Economy, UCA, France and CCES, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, Clermont-Ferrand, 24-25 October, 2019. 1st workshop CAC – CERDI – IDREC on ‘Cliometrics, Complexity and Development Economics’, UCA, School of Economics, 23 November 2018.


Antoine PARENT (Director/Coordinator of CAC). Patrice ABRY (Director of IXXI). Pierre BORGNAT (Former Director of IXXI). Pablo JENSEN (Former Director of IXXI). Cécile BASTIDON (Deputy Director of CAC). Fredj JAWADI (Deputy Director of CAC). Catherine KYRTSOU (Deputy Director of CAC).


Membership list

  • Antoine PARENT, Professor of Economics - Director of CAC

     Université Paris 8, LED ; OFCE - SciencesPo ; -;; Webpage:

  •  Patrice ABRY, Research Director CNRS in Physics – Director of IXXI

 Complex System Institute, ENS Lyon & Laboratoire de Physique, ENS de Lyon - /

  •  Fredj JAWADI, Professor of Finance, Deputy Director of CAC, IXXI-ENS Lyon & IAE Lille University School of Management.
  • Catherine KYRTSOU, Professor of MacroFinance and quantitative methods - Deputy Director of CAC, IXXI-ENS Lyon & Universities of Macedonia, of Paris 10 & of Strasbourg,  - /

 Members of CAC:  


PhD Students:

  • Christina MIKROPOULOU (Post-doctoral Researcher in MacroFinance and quantitative methods, University of Macedonia),
  • Beatrice ZANI (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of East-Asian Studies, McGill University (Montreal, CA),,
  • Laurent GAUTHIER (Université Paris 8, LED, PhD Student in cliometrics): “Compétition et stratégie: Aux fondements de la Grèce ancienne”, (since October 2020).
  • Constant VARLET (Université Paris 8, LED, PhD Student in cliometrics): “Réponses et comportements face aux guerres et aux pandémies dans l’histoire: Une analyse en Cliométrie et Complexité”, (since October 2020). constant.varlet@
  • Kué Gilles GABA (LSAF ISFA, Université Lyon 1, PhD Student in Cliometrics), “Cliométrie de l’histoire globale des transitions anthropologique, cognitive, institutionnelle, démographique et économique”, defended 3rd February 2021.,
  • Bastien BONIJOLY (Associate project manager, JP Morgan Chase, Edimburgh), PhD "Effets d'annonces de tapering par la Fed sur les pays d'Afrique du Nord et MENA et leur intégration au sein du système financier international", Université de Toulon, defended 17 december 2019
  • Maqsud ASLAM (Université de Lille, PhD Student in Economics), From Mid-December 2021, Assistant Professor, School of Economics, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan. PhD “Essays on the effects of natural and geo-political shocks on decision-making and preferences”, Doctoral School SESAM, University of Lille, Defended 12th December 2019.
  • Pierre LEVIAUX (LAET CNRS, Université Lyon 2, PhD Student in Cliometrics), “Three essays on the biological hypothesis in evolutionary cliometrics”, University of Lyon, defended 2nd December 2019.
  • Recep KURT (Marmara University, Faculty of Economics, Department of Economics, Istanbul, Turkey, PhD Student in cliometrics), /
  • Cécile EDLINGER (Université de Lorraine, BETA CNRS, PhD Student in Cliometrics), “Paris Stock Exchange, 1870 - 1914: Financial Information and Portfolio Choices”, University of Lorraine, defended 20th June 2016.