Douglas Puffert
Personal Homepage


Douglas Puffert
Ludwigstr. 33 IV
D-80539 München
Tel. ++49/ 89/ 2180-3035
Fax. ++49/ 89/ 339233
Research Interests

Economic History, Economics of Technological Change, International Trade, Social Security Finance. A particular focus of research is how technical standards lead to path-dependent processes of economic allocation, both in historical network industries and in modern "high-tech" industries. 


Ph.D., Economics, Stanford University, 1991 

B.A., Economics, and B.A., History, University of Washington, 1981 

Professional Experience:

1996-98, 1999-current Research and Teaching Fellow ( wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) in Economic History, Faculty of Economics, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany

Winter 1998-99 Visiting Professor in Economic History, Faculty of Economics, Humboldt University of Berlin

1990-96 International Trade Analyst / Economist, U.S. International Trade Commission, Washington, D.C.

1989-90 Visiting Assistant Professor, Economics, Swarthmore College

1988-89 Visiting Instructor, Economics, University of Connecticut

1987-88 Consultant, World Bank

Working Papers in PDF format

"The Standardization of Track Gauge on North American Railways, 1830-1890," forthcoming in the Journal of Economic
 History. Click here. (It was not possible to include figures and map in this version.)

"Path Dependence in Spatial Networks: The Standardization of Railway Track Gauge," a model applied to the worldwide history of railway track gauge. Click here

"Path Dependence, Network Form, and Technological Change," an extended discussion of the conditions under which processes of economic allocation are path dependent. Click here.

For the English version of my entry on "Path Dependence in Economic History"
in the forthcoming Handbuch zur evolutorischen Oekonomik, click here.

Für die deutsche Version dieses Beitrags über "Pfadabhängigkeit in der
Wirtschaftsgeschichte", klicken Sie hier

Publications on economic history and technical standards:
"Chemicals, Strategy, and Tariffs: Tariff Policy and the Soda Industry in
Imperial Germany," with Wolfgang Krause, European Review of Economic History,

"Technical Standards and Access to the Japanese Cellular Communications Equipment Market," in John McIntyre, ed., Strategies for Technology-Based Competition, Westport, CT: Greenwood Publ. Group, 1996.

"L'Integration Technique du Reseau Ferroviaire Europeen," in Michele Merger, ed., Les Reseaux Europeens Transnationaux XIXe-XXe Siecles: Quels Enjeux?, Nantes: Ouest Editions, 1995.

"Standards as Institutions: Problems with Creating All-European Standards for Terminal Equipment," with Claes-Fredrik Helgesson and Staffan Hulten, in John Groenewegen, Christos Pitelis, and Sven-Erik Sjostrand, ed., On Economic Institutions: Theory and Applications, Aldershot, England: Edgar Elgar, 1995.

"The Technical Integration of the European Railway Network," in Albert Carreras, Andrea Giuntini, and Michele Merger, ed., European Networks, 19th-20th Centuries: Approaches to the Formation of a Transnational Transport and Communications System, Proceedings, Eleventh International Economic History Congress, Milan, Italy: Universita Bocconi, Sept. 1994.

"Technical Diversity and the Integration of the European High-Speed Train Network," in John Whitelegg, Staffan Hulten, and Torbjorn Flink, ed., High Speed Trains: Fast Tracks to the Future, Hawes, North Yorkshire: Leading Edge, 1993. 

The Economics of Spatial Network Externalities and the Dynamics of Railway Gauge Standardization, Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, March 1991. 

Other publications include 

  • reports for the U.S. International Trade Commission on international competitiveness in high-technology industries 
  • reports for the World Bank on social-security finance in developing countries 
  • articles written with Michael J. Boskin and others on U.S. social security finance 
  • one poem