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About us

Studying the development of real economies, understanding them in their social, political and cultural contexts.

Following in a long, distinguished tradition of research and teaching, the Department of Economic History uses concepts and theories from the Social Sciences as a starting point for studying the development of real economies and understanding them in their social, political and cultural contexts.

The Department is home to by far the largest group of teachers and researchers in the field of economic, business and social history in the UK and probably the world.  The composition and international delivery of its staff, academic visitors and students mean that its intellectual concerns range:

  • from the medieval period to the current century;
  • from the Americas to Asia via Africa and Europe, as well as embracing the integration of the world economy as a whole;
  • from questions about the institutions conditioning economic change to studies of technology, industrial organisation, trade and finance, demography and agriculture;
  • from history of economic ideas and policy to the measurement of past human wellbeing and development;
  • and from explanations of global patterns of trade, migration and investment, to comparisons of the dynamics of change across several regions of the world.

The department receives grants from the British Academy, The Leverhulme Trust, the Economic and Social Research Council and the European Union.  Such grants enhance the depth and scope of research and teaching, and endorse continued commitment by the department to collaboration between history and the social sciences. Our research has been used by international agencies like World Bank and International Monetary Fund, government departments and local communities, and NGOs.  A significant number of students trained in the Department are now employed at institutions all over the world in teaching and research posts. 

Amongst the research commitments of our faculty are the editorship and board membership of such world-renowned journals as Cliometrica, the Economic History ReviewEnterprise and Society, the Journal of African History, the Journal of Economic History, the Journal of Global History, the Journal for the History of Economic Thought and Medical History, and are regularly consulted by the British and international media. 

The Economic History Department is located in Sardinia House, Sardinia Street.