Dr Gerben Bakker

Associate Professor, Economic History

Gerben Bakker is an economic historian specialised in the long-run analysis of innovation within firms and industries. He has completed four award-winning research programmes on the history of the live entertainment, motion picture and music industries and on the trade in news. He is currently working on the long-run evolution of firms’ research and development outlays and on the role of particular industries in aggregate economic growth.

Research interests

  • The historical analysis of the interaction between markets, industries, firms and strategies and their impact on economic growth and development.
  • Applied industrial economics
  • strategic management
  • history of multinational enterprise
  • innovation and productivity growth in services
  • creative industries
  • motion pictures
  • music
  • pharmaceuticals
  • software
  • methodology
  • philosophy of history.



Current Teaching

  • EH326 Finance and Innovation in the 19th and 20th centuries



  • Entertainment Industrialised: The Emergence of the International Film Industry, 1890-1940 (Cambridge University Press, 2008, Cambridge Studies in Economic History).

Other articles

  • Gerben Bakker, ‘How Motion Pictures Industrialized Entertainment,‘ Journal of Economic History, Vol. 72 No. 4 (Dec. 2012), 1036-1063.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘Adopting the Rights-Based Model: Music Multinationals and Local Music Industries since 1945’, Journal of Popular Music History, Vol. 6 No. 3 (2012), 311-349.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘Soft Power: The Media and Creative Industries in Britain since 1870’ in Roderick Floud, Jane Humphries and Paul Johnson eds., The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 4th edition, 2013, forthcoming).
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘Sunk Costs and the Evolution of the Creative Industries’, in Candace Jones, Mark Lorenzen and Jonathan Sapsed eds., The Oxford Handbook of the Creative and Cultural Industries (Oxford University Press, 2013, forthcoming).
  • Gerben Bakker, “The Quality Race: Feature Films and Market Dominance in the United States and Europe in the 1910s” in Steve Neal ed., The Classical Hollywood Reader(Routledge, 2012).
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘Trade Follows the Film: Europe versus Hollywood in the Interwar Years’ in Christiane Eisenberg and Andreas Gestrich eds., Cultural Industries in Britain and Germany: Sport, Music and Entertainment from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century (Wissner Verlag, Augsburg, 2012).
  • Gerben Bakker, “Trading Facts: Arrow’s Fundamental Paradox and the Origins of Global News Networks” in: Peter Putnis, Chandrika Kaul and Juergen Wilke eds.,Communication, News and Globlisation: Historical Studies (Hampton Press / International Association of Media and Communication Research, 2011), 9-54.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘Leisure Time and the Structure of Household Entertainment Expenditure, 1890-1940,’ in Samuel Cameron ed., Handbook of the Economics of Leisure (Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2011).
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘Firm Strategies, Government Policies and the European Film Market in the Interwar Period: An Economic History Perspective’, Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis [the leading journal on media history in the Netherlands and Belgium] Vol. 13 No. 2 (2010), 13-36.
  • Gerben Bakker, “The Evolution of the British Entertainment Business: Film, Music and Videogames," in: Learning from Some of Britain’s Successful Sectors: An Historical Analysis of the Role of Government (London, Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, 2010), BIS Economics Paper No. 6 (2010), 28-98.
  • Gerben Bakker, “3D-cinema: the billion pound bonanza. How the film industry is weathering the recession,” in Britain in 2011, (the annual magazine of the Economic and Social Research Council, 2010), 114-115.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘The Evolution of Entertainment Consumption and the Emergence of Cinema, 1890-1940,’ Advances in Austrian Economics Vol. 10 (2007), 93-137.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘The Making of a Music Multinational: PolyGram and the International Music Industry, 1945-1998’ Business History Review, Vol. 80 No. 1 (Spring 2006), 81-123.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘The Decline and Fall of the European Film Industry: Sunk Costs, Market Size and Market Structure, 1895-1926’, Economic History Review, Vol. 58 No. 2 (May 2005), 310-351.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘The Economic History of the International Film Industry’, invited entry in the EH.Net Encyclopedia of Economic History (www.eh.net/encyclopedia), 2005. This isthe academic online encyclopaedia for economic history, to which most internationally leading scholars in the field are invited to contribute.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘Selling French films on Foreign Markets: The International Strategy of a Medium-Sized Company’ Enterprise and Society, Vol. 5 No. 1 (March 2004), 45-76.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘How Films Became Branded Products,’ in: John Sedgwick and Mike Pokorny eds., An Economic History of Film (London, Routledge, 2004), 24-47.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘The European Film Industry in the United States’, in: John Sedgwick and Mike Pokorny eds., An Economic History of Film (London, Routledge, 2004), 48-85.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘Building Knowledge about the Consumer: The Emergence of Market Research in the Motion Picture Industry’, Business History, Vol. 45 No. 1 (January 2003), 101-127.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘The Emergence of Market Research in the Motion Picture Industry,’ in: Andrew Godley and Roy Church eds., The Emergence of Modern Marketing (London, Frank Cass, 2003).
  • Gerben Bakker, “Between Europe and America: The Battle for Silent Film”, web-based seminar of four sessions. Fathom Consortium, Enterprise LSE, London School of Economics, www.fathom.lse.ac.uk (2003).
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘Stars and Stories: How Films Became Branded Products,’ Enterprise and Society, Vol. 2 No. 3 (September 2001), 461-502.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘America’s Master: The Decline and Fall of the European Film Industry in the United States’, in: L. Passerini ed., Across the Atlantic (Brussels, Presses Inter-Universitaires Européennes / Peter Lang, 2000), 213-240.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘The Enclosed Economy: How Public Goods Splintered into Private Properties, EUI Review, No. 1 (2001), 20-26.
  • Gerben Bakker, ‘American Dreams: The European Film Industry from Dominance to Decline,’ EUI Review No. 2 (2000), 28-36.


  • Gino Luzzatto Dissertation Prize for the best Ph.D. in European Economic History, awarded by the European Historical Economics Society, Madrid, 26 July 2003; 
  • Herman E. Krooss Dissertation Prize for the best Ph.D. in Business History, awarded by the Business History Conference (US), Lowell, MA, 28 June 2003;
  • Coleman Prize for the best Ph.D. defended in 2001 dealing with British business history (awarded by the Association of Business Historians)
  • Prize for the best Ph.D. of the Department of History of the European University Institute during 1998-2001.
  • New Researchers' Prize for 'The social savings of the film industry,' at the Annual Conference of the Economic History Society, Glasgow, April 2001.

Book Reviews

  • Business History (13); Enterprise and Society (3), Financial History Review (1),BMGN (1), Economic History Review (1)

Educational Publications

  • "Between Europe and America. The Battle for Silent Film", web-based seminar of four sessions focusing on the question how the European film industry initially could be highly successful in economic terms but subsequently collapsed. Fathom-consortium, Enterprise LSE, London School of Economics,http://fathom.lse.ac.uk/.
  • 'The Enclosed Economy. How Public Goods Splinter into Private Properties,' in:EUI Review, Spring 2001, pp. 20-26.
  • 'American Dreams. The European Film Industry from Dominance to Decline,' in:EUI Review, Summer 2000, pp. 28-36