Marc Flandreau, Stefano Ugolini, 23 July 2011

Has the global financial crisis been bad news for the world’s reserve currency? This column argues that it needn’t be, citing the rise of sterling as a global currency after the financial crisis of 1866.

Tony Wrigley, 22 July 2011

Before the industrial revolution, economists considered output to be fundamentally constrained by the limited supply of land. This column explores how the industrial revolution managed to break free from these shackles. It describes the important innovations that made the industrial revolution an energy revolution.

Peter Lindert, Jeffrey Williamson, 15 July 2011

When did America begin its gallop towards economic supremacy? Was it only after the American civil war? Did it start earlier during the antebellum period or even before 1776? This column digs up new evidence from the archives to find out.

Alberto Alesina, Paola Giuliano, Nathan Nunn, 02 July 2011

Gender inequality is an old story. This column presents new evidence to suggest it may be as old as the horse and plough. It says there is a robust negative relationship between historical plough-use and unequal gender roles today. Traditional plough-use is positively correlated with attitudes reflecting gender inequality and negatively correlated with female labour force participation, female firm ownership, and female participation in politics.

Anne Murphy, 22 May 2011

Working 9 to 5, Monday to Friday is the typical grind in Anglo-Saxon economies. In some professions, longer hours and low pay for junior workers is justified by the end reward of much better pay and a better work-life balance as they gain seniority. This column examines the workings of the Bank of England in 1783 to show the beginnings of this working culture.

Nicholas Crafts, 24 February 2011

What started as a subprime crisis in the US soon spread to a global crisis resulting in what some have called the Great Recession. This column argues that economists spectacularly failed to take the prevention of financial crises seriously. But since then, economists have heeded the lessons from past crises and have helped avoid the worst.

Jeremiah Dittmar, 11 February 2011

Despite the revolutionary technological advance of the printing press in the 15th century, there is precious little economic evidence of its benefits. Using data on 200 European cities between 1450 and 1600, this column finds that economic growth was higher by as much as 60 percentage points in cities that adopted the technology.

Jan Luiten van Zanden, 26 January 2011

China has been one of the world’s most dynamic economies in recent decades, but how did it fall so far behind? This column argues that the industrial revolution occurred in Europe rather than China because European entrepreneurs were eager to adopt machines to cut down on high labour costs. China didn’t “miss” the industrial revolution – it didn’t need it.

Adrian Bell, Chris Brooks, Tony Moore, 13 May 2009

It is widely believed that the current credit squeeze, leading to bank failures, is a modern phenomenon arising from the interplay of a historically unique set of circumstances that could not have been foreseen. But a team of academics – a finance professor and two medieval historians – at the University of Reading’s ICMA Centre has documented a medieval credit crunch that bears remarkable parallels with the current crisis.

Hans-Joachim Voth, 18 September 2008

Around the globe, politically connected firms are more valuable. Nazi Germany was no different, though historians have lacked convincing evidence to prove that claim. This column shows that Nazi-linked firms reaped astoundingly large returns when Adolf Hitler came to power.

Hans-Joachim Voth, 05 September 2008

From Indonesia and Malaysia to Italy, politically connected firms are more valuable than their less fortunate competitors. Yet a key event in the history of the twentieth century has not been examined in terms of the value of political connections: the Nazi rise to power. In an interview recorded at the annual congress of the European Economic Association in Budapest in August 2007, Joachim Voth talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his research with Thomas Ferguson on this question.

Maarten Bosker, Eltjo Buringh, Jan Luiten van Zanden, 28 June 2008

Baghdad was a wonder of the world in the year 800 while London was an economic backwater. By 1800, London was the largest city in the world while Arab cities languished. Recent research attributes this ‘trading places’ to institutional differences: Arab cities were tied to the fate of the state while European cities were independent growth poles.

Thorvaldur Gylfason, 25 January 2008

Are some African economies poised for prolonged growth and human development? This article assesses African development prospects using Iceland’s economic ascent over the last century as a benchmark.

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