Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Social and Economic History

M.A. Laetitia Lenel

M.A. Laetitia Lenel
laetitialenel (at)

Philosophische Fakultät → Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften → Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte
Visiting address
Friedrichstraße 191-193 , Room 5049
Phone number
(030) 2093-70615


Laetitia Lenel is a research assistant (wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) at the Chair of Social and Economic History. Her dissertation on the transatlantic history of business forecasting was funded by the DFG, the DAAD, and the Stiftung Bildung und Wissenschaft (2016-2021). 2017-2018 Visiting Student Research Collaborator at Princeton University. After completing her PhD project in June 2021, she is currently preparing her new research project.

Her research interests include the history of economic practices and ideas, the history of capitalism, and the theory and history of historiography.

Dissertation: "The Hopeful Science. A Transatlantic History of Business Forecasting, 1920-1960“

How is it possible that most people agree that economists generally fail to foresee recessions and that forecasting has nevertheless not lost its appeal and importance? This paradox has formed the starting point of The Hopeful Science. By tracing the transatlantic history of business forecasting between 1920 and 1960 and its implications for economic and political decision-making until the late 1980s, this dissertation looks for an answer. In five chapters that focus on the origins and the transnational and, in some cases, global circulation of five different forecasting tools and techniques, this dissertation investigates how the role of business forecasting has changed over the course of the twentieth century, and how this was both a factor and an indicator of a changed conception of economic change and economics’ place in it that, in turn, shaped economic and political decision-making. As The Hopeful Science argues, business forecasting has produced several, often unforeseen and unintended effects, and in the process turned into an indispensable tool to reduce economic uncertainty and stabilize the capitalist order.


- Laetitia Lenel, "Geschichte ohne Libretto", in: H-Soz-Kult, Forum: Zeiterfahrung, 5.12.2020 Link

- Laetitia Lenel, "Gezeiten der Wirtschaft. Konjunkturprognosen und ihre Inszenierung", in: Geschichte der Gegenwart, 22.11.2020 Link

- Laetitia Lenel, „Alles schon mal dagewesen?“, in: Playbill to the play „Einer gegen alle“ after the novel by Oskar Maria Graf at the Residenztheater München, Oktober 2020, S. 14-18,

- Laetitia Lenel, "Public and Scientific Uncertainty in the Time of COVID-19“, 13. Mai 2020,

- Laetitia Lenel, „Alles neu macht das Coronavirus?“, 12. April 2020,

- "Futures Past. Economic Forecasting in the 20th and 21st Century“, published by Laetitia Lenel together with Ulrich Fritsche and Roman Köster, supported through Open-Access-funding of the Humboldt-University. Link

Curriculum Vitae & Publications

Twitter @LaetitiaLenel