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Economic History

Our subject guide will help you find the best resources for your studies.

Find books and journals in the Library, search for articles online, learn about the best online resources for your subject and get help with using our resources and services.

Use the list of contents to skip to the relevant part of this guide. 



News and policy

Specialist resources

If you need any help you can get in touch with your librarian for advice or to arrange a consultation. You can find their details on the Academic Support Librarian web page.   



Learn the location of relevant collections and useful resources for your studies.  

Economic history collections

Some key classmarks and locations for your subject are:

  • Auxiliary sciences of history: C-CT (3rd floor)
  • History: general and old world: D-DU (3rd floor)
  • History: Americas: E-F (3rd floor)
  • History: economic: HC (2nd floor)
  • History: social: HN (2nd floor)

There are many other books in the Library which will be useful for your research. To locate these enter keywords in Library Search.

Browse the Library floor plans [PDF].

Locating books in other libraries

  • Use COPAC to find books located in the major UK research libraries.
  • Use Search25 to find books located in the libraries of universities in the London area.
  • Use KVK and Worldcat to find virtually all the books published on your topic worldwide.
  • Use interlending services for books that you cannot easily get to yourself. This is done using the Interlending link on Library Search.


How to find journals and some of the key journal databases to use. 

Finding journal articles

Most of the time you should be able to find and access the articles you need through Library Search. However, we also provide access to powerful databases that can help you discover articles that are not available through Library Search, or even search engines like Google.

When we don't provide access to the full text of the articles you need you can request them through interlending services

Top social science and economic history databases

News and policy

Find out about popular newspapers, policy sites and streaming media services.


Many newspaper websites offer free access. We provide you with additional access to searchable back files via the following subscription services:

  • Nexis  - contains the full text of a large number of UK and foreign newspapers from 1980 onwards. Updated daily.
  • Factiva  - has extensive English language and foreign coverage content. Emphasis upon business and trade news.
  •  - register with your LSE credentials and benefit from our institutional access.

Historical newspapers

Policy and legislation

The Library is strongest in publications published by the British government and the United States Federal government.

The main electronic resources for the above governments are:

Audiovisual material

Box of Broadcasts (UK Access only)  - a streaming TV service. Access TV and radio programmes from over 60 channels. Includes BBC TV and radio plus 10 foreign language channels. Content is from 2007 onwards. Transcripts are available for TV and radio news programmes. You can also search for TV Listings using the TRILT database.

Specialist resources

Find out about archives and special collections, theses, data and current research. 

Archives and special collections


  • Dissertations & Theses Global - an online database containing the full text of thousands of PhD from universities worldwide. It includes references to all UK and Irish doctoral theses produced since 1715 with full text content where available. If an item you need is not available online you can place a request for it through Interlending services
  • LSE Theses Online - contains many full text LSE PhD theses. Older items that are not available online are available in the Library.

Online resources

We have many online resources relating to Economic History.  Below are a few collections of particular note: 

  • Global Commodities documents the trade in 15 major commodities around the world from c1500 to the present day.
  • Empire Online is a collection of primary source materials including diaries and travel logs relating to Empire Studies.
  • Mass Observation Online provides a unique insight into life in Britain between 1937 and 1950.
  • Historical Annual Reports is a database comprising over 150 years worth of annual reports from North American companies.
  • Mergent Annual Reports holds similarities with Historical Annual Reports, with a broader international scope.

Data collections

The data and statistics collection contains a wide range of data and statistics from across the globe. Access is usually available online or in print. In some cases it is only available from specific machines in the Library itself whilst other data is held offline and needs to be required from the Data Library. The Moodle course called the Library Companion for Data Users provides a good introduction to our resources and will help you locate material. 

Online and offline data provided by the Data Library can only be used by current LSE staff and students in pursuit of LSE related academic research.  It cannot be used for commercial purposes.

Two of the most commonly used datasets within Economic History are shown below:

  • Global Financial Data provides access to long-term historic financial and economic data with some series going back to the 1200s.
  • Cross National Time Series provides data on 194 economic, political and demographic variables since 1815.

The Data Library team is also available to assist with any queries you may have about finding data or using individual resources.

Current research

  •  Zetoc - use this service to set up alerts and receive tables of contents from your favourite journals. 
  • LSE Research Online - check for recent research from your academic department.  

Special collections

The Library has a large collection of microfilm and microfiche.  Items held on this medium include the archives of the Trades Union Congress and the Labour Party.  Further information about this collection can be obtained directly from the Library contact for the Department of Economic History, Paul Horsler.

Coll ED is a specialist collection of historic trade union material dating from the 19th Century.  This includes material such as the rules of a particular trade union and monthly newsletter. 

Of specific interest to Economic Historians is a collection of books we received from the estate of Professor Epstein. The books were collected in connection with a project on the role of technology in the pre-industrial world.  Emphasis is on the history of technology in Europe but there is additional material on non-European topics and on the development of technology generally. Much of the material is related to specific branches of interest such as building, ship construction, textiles, glass and metal working.

Contact your librarian for further guidance and support. You can find their details on the Academic Support Librarian web page.