Department News 2021-22

News, appointments, publications and more

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The battle for the Liberian Dollar

An LSE Research Film.

The Liberian dollar is the nation’s official currency, so why do so many Liberians use US dollars for everyday transactions? In this short film, Professor Leigh Gardner (Department of Economic History, LSE) examines the emergence of this dual system, and the government’s struggle to re-assert the Liberian dollar over time.

You can view the film here: The battle for the Liberian Dollar

Professor Gardner's research was the subject of a physical display in the Value of Money exhibition at the National Museum of American History. which you can view here: The Value of Money.



History, Culture and Popular Belief' Workshop
Hosted by the Department of Economic History, LSE with the generous support of the LSE Hayek Foundation.

Thursday 14 July, LSE

Cultural norms are a mechanism for history to influence present-day outcomes, but how and where do norms emerge, and what explains the variation across societies? This workshop brings together economists and scholars studying cultural norms from diverse fields and disciplines, to make further conceptual progress on how folklore underpins popular beliefs.

The first half of the workshop features cutting-edge work on cultural norms. The second half focuses on understanding popular beliefs using a folkloric approach. Presenters include Melanie Meng Xue (LSE), Erik Hornung (University of Cologne), and Will Pooley (Bristol).

More information, including programme, abstracts and how to register can be found here:

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Sovereignty without Power: Liberia in the Age of Empires, 1822–1980 -  available for pre-order now

Leigh A Gardner, Cambridge, August 2022

The history of Liberia, established in 1822 and maintaining independence in the colonial period, anticipates challenges still faced by developing countries today. In her forthcoming book, Leigh Gardner presents the first quantitative estimates of Liberia's economic performance from its establishment as a free state in 1822 onwards, allowing comparisons with both its colonized neighbors and other countries, and offering a new perspective on the role of power and power relationships in the shaping of Africa's economic history.

Read more here: Sovereignty without Power: Liberia in the Age of Empires, 1822–1980


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Monsoon Economies - available now

Tirthankar Roy, MIT Press, 2022

In his latest book, Monsoon Economies, Tirthankar Roy explores the interaction between South Asia's environment, shaped by monsoons and water scarcity, and the economy in the emergence of modern India.

Read more and order here: Monsoon Economies


2022 Teaching Awards Winners

Congratulations to the departmental winners of 2022 teaching awards.

LSESU Award for PhD Supervision: 

  • Professor Patrick Wallis

LSE Class Teacher Awards (organised by the Eden Centre)

  • Yitong Nora Qiu
  • Mario Cuenda-Garcia

Highly Commended: Stefania Galli, Mina Ishizu, Safya Morshed



Results for REF2021 have now been released. For information on results visit our REF2021 page, which includes our impact case studies and an overview of outcomes: Economic History REF2021


Hillary Vipond wins EHS New Researchers Award 

Congratulations to departmental PhD student Hillary Vipond, who won the New Researchers Prize at the recent 2022 Economic History Society conference. She received the award for her work on the effects of automatization in labour during the Industrial Revolution using linked census data.


Do financial sanctions work? Lessons from history.

Panellists: Olivier Accominotti, Albrecht Ritschl

Chair: Mary Morgan

Wednesday 9 March, 6:00-7:30pm

Online Public Event, Hosted by the Department of Economic History 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been strongly condemned by governments around the world. American and European leaders have imposed a wave of economic and financial sanctions against Russia. What is the purpose of these sanctions? How effective will they be in counteracting the Russian government’s military goals? And what will be their economic and political consequences in Russia, Europe and the United States? This panel event brings together experts in financial history Olivier Accominotti and Albrecht Ritschl to present a historical perspective on these burning issues. Panellists will discuss how economic sanctions have been used in the past, for what purpose and with what success. The event will ask how financial history can help us understand these current events.

Booking information

The event is free. Full information and how to register is via this link: Do financial sanctions work?


New faculty appointment - Jason Lennard

We're very pleased to announce the appointment of Jason Lennard as Assistant Professor in Economic History, starting in the 2022-23 academic year.

Jason is currently a post-doctoral researcher in the department, specialising in economic policy, financial crises and national accounting. 


Research Showcase: Sovereignty without power: Liberia in the age of empires, 1822-1980

Dr Leigh Gardner

Wednesday 16 March, 11-11.30am

Register via Zoom

Dr Gardner's forthcoming book on Liberia’s economic history over two centuries charts the challenges and opportunities of sovereignty for independent states around the world during the age of empires. Her talk will focus on her new book Sovereignty without Power, the first quantitative and comparative economic history of Liberia. She will present the first quantitative estimates of Liberian’s economic performance and use them to compare it to its colonised neighbours and other independent countries.


The latest Voxdev podcast features Melanie Meng Xue’s research on how impact of persecutions under 17th and 18th century autocratic rule in China can still be seen today.

Her research on the Literary Inquisition (1661-1788), which led to people avoiding discussion of controversial subjects and engaging in high-profile activities, shows that the effects of these events can be seen today, with people displaying less interest in politics and community engagement.

Read the full article and access the podcast here:  Autocratic Rule and Social Capital: Evidence from Imperial China


Epstein Lecture 2022

The Effects of Immigration Restrictions on the Economy

Professor Philipp Ager

Online Public Event, Thursday 10 March 2022, 6:00pm to 7:30pm

This year's Epstein Lecturer is Professor Philipp Ager, an economic historian and applied microeconomist, whose research focuses on the historical development of Europe and the United States,  in particular the development of the American economy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Professor Ager will give his lecture on changes to immigration policy in 1920s America. In the early 20th century there were few restrictions on entry for Europeans, close to one million immigrants arrived on the nation's shores each year. This ended in the 1920s with a series of increasingly restrictive immigration quotas, eventually limiting entry from affected countries to 150,000 a year. Professor Ager will discuss the socio-economic consequences this policy had for the US population at that time, and what lessons can be learned from it.

Philipp Ager is an economic historian and applied microeconomist, who focuses on the historical development of Europe and the United States,  in particular the development of the American economy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

The event will be chaired by Patrick Wallis, Professor of Economic History at LSE.

You can find more information about this event and how to register here: The Effects of Immigration Restrictions on the Economy 

Registration opens at 10am, Thursday 17 February 2022.

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''The Story of Work: A new history of humankind'

Online public event, Wednesday 19 January 2022, 6:30pm to 8:00pm, hosted by the Department of Economic History

Dr Jan Lucassen will be in discussion with Professor Sara Horrell about his new book 'The Story of Work', an inclusive history of labour throughout the ages. Lucassen's book takes a global view of the ways in which people organise work: in the household, the tribe, the city, and the state; and between men, women, and children. He examines the impact of the invention of money; collective action, as well as migration, slavery, and the concept of leisure.

Dr Lucassen is currently Emeritus Professor at the International Institute for Social History.

You can find more information and how to pre-register for this free event here: The story of work, a new history of humankind 


LSE ESRC Post-doctoral Fellowships

The Department of Economic History, LSE would be pleased to support suitable applications for a one-year postdoctoral fellowship to start in October 2022.

Applicants must be completing their PhD on an ESRC DTP pathway. Please check first whether you are eligible by following the link below, and if you are eligible, you are welcome to contact Professor Mary Morgan before making your application.


Associate Professor Neil Cummins has been awarded the Economic History Association's Arthur H. Cole Prize for the outstanding article published in the previous year's volume of the Journal of Economic History.

Neil's prizewinning article is Where Is the Middle Class? Evidence from 60 Million English Death and Probate Records, 1892–1992. (It is also available as a departmental Working Paper here: Working Paper [PDF])

Congratulations to Neil on this prestigious award.


Congratulations to Professor Jane Humphries, who has been appointed President-elect of the Economic History Association, and will take over the role currently occupied by Ann Carlos in late 2022.

Professor Humphries is Centennial Professor at the Department of Economic History, LSE, and a Fellow of All Souls College.


Career and Family: women’s century-long journey toward equity

Thursday 25 November, 6:00pm-7:00pm

Public Online Event

The department will host a conversation including Professor Claudia Goldin and Professor Jane Humphries on the themes of gender equity and couple equity.

Claudia Goldin is the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University and former President of the American Economic Association. Her new book traces how generations of women have responded to the problem of balancing career and family as the twentieth century experienced a sea change in gender equality, revealing why true equity for dual career couples remains frustratingly out of reach. 

Full event details, including how to register are here: Career and Family: women's century-long journey toward equity 

Registration opens at 10:00am, 4 November.

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Forgotten Women: giving voice to the marginalised women of 18th century London

Monday 8 November 6:00pm-7:30pm

Public Online Event

In 1787, the Lock Hospital Asylum opened its doors to a small group of women who had been treated for syphilis, to house and spiritually reform them. Their brief life histories were each recorded,  creating a unique record of women’s experiences as they recalled the abuse, seduction, prostitution, poverty and broken relationships they had faced. 

These records form the basis for an audio drama ‘The Lock Asylum’ by writers Cara Jennings and Sophie Trott in partnership with Morley Radio (Morley College London) and LSE. This event is the launch of this new production, and participants will be able to listen to the audio drama and discuss it with its creators.

Professor Patrick Wallis (LSE), who uncovered the resource, will join the writers and director and discuss with them the challenges of dramatizing historical records, and how these historical events still resonate in the present.

Full event details, including how to register are available here: Forgotten Women: giving voice to the marginalised women of 18th century London

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Pandemic Public Finance: How historic is it? Lessons from Financial History

Tuesday 2 November, 6:00-7:00pm

Online Public Event

The enormous costs involved in responding to the current pandemic have lifted public borrowing in many countries to levels not seen since the second world war. What does the economic history of earlier periods of very high debt tell us about the current environment of rising public indebtedness and, potentially, higher inflation? 

This panel discussion, hosted by the Department of Economic History, LSE, features Professor Olivier Accominotti (LSE), Professor Graciela Kaminsky (George Washington University), Nobel laureate Professor Thomas Sargent (NYU Stern), and Carmen M Reinhart, (VP and Chief Economist of the World Bank Group). 

Full event details, including how to register are here:  Pandemic Public Finance: how historic is it?


History at LSE ranked in The Guardian's 2021 top ten subject rankings for UK universities.

History at LSE leaped from fortieth place in 2020 to  sixth place in 2021. 

You can view this and all the 2021 Guardian rankings here: table: Best UK Universities 2021.




Professor Jane Humphries has been invited by Newnham College to give a 150th Anniversary Lecture on Friday 22 October.

Professor Humphries will discuss today’s age of rising living costs and scrutiny of gender parity, the divisions of labour and the burden of caring and domestic work, much of it done by women without remuneration. She will explain how looking to the past can help us begin to calculate the value of unpaid labour and radically reinvigorate historical estimates of women’s contributions to economic growth and human wellbeing.  

Tickets for this in person event can be booked  here.


The latest LSE Researcher Q and A  features Dr Stefania Galli's research into the relationship between institutions and inequality in colonial and former colonial societies in Africa and the Americas from the 18th to the 20th century.

Dr Galli intends her work to shed light on the mechanisms behind inequality, and how institutions, and the tacit  values and beliefs behind them, can affect inequality levels and the opportunities available to different groups throughout their life.

You can read the full Q and A here: Exploring the relationship between institutions and inequality: a Q&A with Dr Stefania Galli


New faculty member, Dr Melanie Meng Xue, joins us this autumn as Assistant Professor. 

Dr Xue's research lies at the intersection of economic history and political economy, studying the rise of gender-equitable beliefs and the deterioration of social capital in the context of imperial China. By tracing the impact of historical events over time and in various institutional settings, her work isolates the role of values, beliefs, and norms in shaping economic and political disparities. Another strand of her research concerns decoding folklore and mythology as a new approach to understanding historical values. She has a forthcoming article on this in the Quarterly Journal of Economics


Career and Family: women's century-long journey toward equity
Online event, Hosted by the Department of Social Policy and the Department of Economic History

Claudia Goldin will talk about her new book Career and Family, tracing  how generations of women have responded to the problem of balancing career and family as the twentieth century experienced a sea change in gender equality, revealing why true equity for dual career couples remains frustratingly out of reach. 

Full details of the event, including how to register are here: Claudia Goldin Book Event


Dr Anne Ruderman wins National Science Foundation (NSF) grant

Congratulations to Dr Ruderman for winning an NSF award for her project “Investing in Captivity: Financing the Transatlantic Slave Trade” (No. 2116150) joint with Marlous van Waijenburg (Harvard Business School).

Dr Neil Cummins will also be collaborating on a part of the project.


Spike Gibbs's research into the manor court system of the medieval and early modern period in England is  featured on LSE’s Research for the World blog.

Spike explains how his research into manor court records reveals a more nuanced relationship between lords and tenants in medieval England than has previously been understood.

The full blog article can be read here: Lords of the manor: feudal law and its impact on rural village life

Also featured is an animated case study drawn from Spike's research, which you can view here:

Crime and Punishment: Feudal law and its impact on rural village life | LSE Research Crime and Punishment: Feudal law and its impact on rural village life | LSE Research
Crime and Punishment: Feudal law and its impact on rural village life | LSE Research LSE Research

Spike's research will be published in a forthcoming article, co-authored with Jordan Claridge, in the  Journal of British Studies.



Felix Schaff's research into historical wealth inequality profiled on LSE Research 

Economic History PhD student Felix Schaff answers key questions on his research into historical wealth inequality in Europe from the late Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution in a recent LSE research profile.

Felix  notes that research into pre-industrial inequality significantly changes how we think about causes of inequality in the long run. Rather than simply being the inevitable downside of economic growth, research into inequality in the very long run of history has shown that it develops independently, with political factors having much more of an influence than growth.

Read the full Q and A here: Felix Schaff: LSE Research Q and A 


Enrique Jorge-Sotelo

Enrique Jorge-Sotelo awarded AEHE 2021 Earl J Hamilton Prize

Congratulations to PhD alum Dr Enrique Jorge-Sotelo, who was awarded the Asociación Española de Historia Económica (AEHA) the 2021 Earl J Hamilton Prize for his article “The limits to lender of last resort interventions in emerging economies: evidence from the Gold Standard and the Great Depression in Spain”, European Review of Economic History, 24 (1), pp. 98–133. 

The Earl J Hamilton prize is awarded to the best economic history article by an AEHE member published outside Spain.

The prize was awarded ex-aqueo with Mauricio Drelichman y David González Agudo 



Dr Anne Ruderman awarded The Council for European Studies’ (CES) First Article Prize

Congratulations to Dr Anne Ruderman whose article “Intra-European Trade in Atlantic Africa and the African Atlantic,” won the 2020 European Studies First Article Prize in the social sciences. The article was published in The William and Mary Quarterly 77, Issue 2 in 2020.