Epstein Lecture banner - image of Larry Epstein

The Epstein Lecture Series

Established in 2008 in memory of Professor Stephan (Larry) Epstein to showcase the work of up-and-coming academics in the field of economic history.


The Epstein Lecture 2024

James Feigenbaum, Boston University

Thursday 7 March, 6.30-8pm, Auditorium, Centre Building, and online

217 million census records: evidence from linked census data

More information can be found here: 217 million census records: evidence from linked census data

James Feigenbaum (@jamesfeigenbaum) is Assistant Professor in the Boston University Department of Economics. He is also a Faculty Research Fellow at the NBER in the Development of the American Economy program and a Junior Faculty Fellow at BU’s Hariri Institute for Computing.


The Epstein Lecture 2023

Dr Mara P. Squicciarini

Thursday 30 March 2023, 6.30pm

A Complex Relationship: religiosity and science in a historical perspective

More information, including a link to the podcast of this event, can be found here.

Mara Squicciarini is an associate professor at Bocconi University, Department of Economics, currently visiting Harvard University. 

Her research interests in the field of economic history include economic growth and development, and applied microeconomics. Read more about Dr Squicciarini here: Mara P. Squicciarini


The Epstein Lecture 2022

The Effects of Immigration Restrictions on the Economy

Professor Philipp Ager

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

Online Public Event

In the early 20th century, with 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 Philipp 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, including a link to the podcast, here: The Effects of Immigration Restrictions on the Economy 

Pre-registration is required for this event. Registration for this opens at 10am, Thursday 17 February.


The 2021 Epstein Lecture

150 Years of Racial Inequality in the US: From Emancipation Through Today 

Lecturer: Dr Marianne Wanamaker (University of Tennessee)
Chair: Professor Joan Roses
Date and time: 25 March, 5.30-7.30pm

The post-Civil War South was replete with limits on black economic mobility, and understanding our current inequality struggles requires understanding the origin of these differences in the Reconstruction South. Dr. Wanamaker’s presentation will document the patterns of racial inequality from 1865 through today. 

Marianne Wanamaker is an associate professor of economics at the University of Tennessee and the former chief domestic economist and senior labor economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisors. She serves as co-editor in chief at Explorations in Economic History and is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, MA, at IZA, and at Stellenbosch University. Her research centers on the economic history of minority groups in the U.S. labor market, especially the experience of Black men.

You can find more information, including a link to the podcast, here.


The 2020 Epstein Lecture

Export Booms and Labour Coercion: Evidence from the Lancashire Cotton Famine

Lecturer: Professor Mohamed Saleh (Toulouse School of Economics)
Chair: Professor Joan Roses
Date and time: 5 March, 6-7.30pm
Venue:  PAN G.01 (Pankhurst Tower)
The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception

About Professor Saleh

Mohamed Saleh is a Professor of Economics at the Toulouse School of Economics and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse. His research interests are in Economic History, Political Economy, and Development Economics. In particular, he has been interested in the economic history of the Middle East and North Africa, where he employs novel datasets constructed from both primary (archival) and secondary data sources, such as historical population censuses and papyrological tax records. Some of the topics he examined include the socioeconomic differences across religious groups in the Middle East and North Africa, how they were generated by taxation in the medieval period, and how they were influenced by state industrialization and public mass education during the last two centuries. In addition to various questions related to this topic, his current research agenda also focuses on labour coercion and land inequality in the region and the historical shift toward wage labour.

You can find more information, including a link to a recording of this event here.

Read more about Professor Saleh on his webpage: Mohamed Saleh webpage


2019 - Dr Marcella Alsan

The Historical Roots of Racial Health Inequality in the United States

Lecturer: Dr Marcella Alsan, (Stanford)
Chair: Professor Jane Humphries
Date and time: 14 February 2019, 6-7.30pm
Venue:  Wolfson Theatre, LSE
The lecture will be immediately followed by a drinks reception

About Dr Marcella Alsan

Marcella Alsan, MD, MPH, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine and a Core Faculty Member at the Center for Health Policy/Primary Care and Outcomes Research. The focus of Dr Alsan’s research is the causes and consequences of infectious disease for health and productivity, using historical public health natural experiments to explore the interaction between infectious disease, human capital and economic outcomes. She received a BA from Harvard University, a master’s in international public health from Harvard School of Public Health, a MD from Loyola University, and a PhD in Economics from Harvard University. She trained at Brigham and Women’s Hospital - in the Hiatt Global Health Equity Residency Fellowship - then combined the PhD with an Infectious Disease Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr Alsan attends in infectious disease at the Veterans Affairs Hospital.

Read more about Dr Marcella Alsan on her webpage.Dr Marcella Alsan webpage.

2018 - Dr Mark Koyama

Lecturer: Dr Mark Koyama

  • Chair: Professor Greg Clark, Department of Economics, UC Davies
  • Date: 20 March 2018
  • Venue and time: CLM 6.02, 6pm

The Lecture: Persecution & Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom

Today, Western societies are closely associated with the principles of liberty and freedom. However, in the medieval and early modern period, European societies were committed to an opposing ideal of religious conformity. European societies engaged in more intensive religious persecutions than did most non-western societies. This raises a puzzle: why did liberal ideas of religious freedom emerge in Europe rather than in other parts of the world? Resolving this puzzle sheds new light on the origins of political and religious freedom and the rule of law in Europe. This book seeks to understand how this commitment to religious freedom came about and what its consequences were.  We provide an institutional account of the demise of a system based on identity rules and conditional toleration and its replacement by modern states which governed through general rules. 

About Mark Koyama

Mark Koyama is an Associate Professor of Economics at George Mason University and the W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo Campbell National Fellow at the Hoover Institution for 2017-2018.  He received his PhD in Economics at the University of Oxford.  Previously he has held positions at the University of York and Brown University.  Together with Noel Johnson (GMU) he has just completed a book manuscript on the origins of religious freedom.   This book, entitled Persecution & Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom, is under contract with Cambridge University Press and due to come out in late 2018 or early 2019.

Visit Dr Koyama's webpage here.[URL]

Epstein Lectures 2008-2017


  • Kersten Enflo, (Lund)

  • Failed towns? Urbanisation and agricultural surplus in Sweden, 1570-1810


  • Dr Taylor Jaworski, Queen's University, Canada

  • Liberty or Union: National Policies for Regional Development



  • Jessica Goldberg, Department of History, UCLA

  • Re-considering risk and the ‘Maghribī traders’: Business organization and the economy in the eleventh-century Mediterranean


  • Ewout Frankema, (Wageningen)

  • Title: Is Africa Growing out of Poverty?


  • Latika Chaudhary, (Scripps College)

  • Schools and Railroads: Public Goods Provisions in Colonial India


  • Ran Abramitzsky, (Stanford)

  • Kibbutz: the Economics of a Social Experiment


  • Dr Ichiro Maekawa, Soka University, Tokyo, March 2011

  • British Aid and Decolonization: 1950s-1970s


  • Professor Tracy Dennison, February 2010

  • Institutions and the serf economy in Russia: a tale of two landlords.


  •  Professor Dan Bogart 

  • Parliament and the Evolution of Property Rights in Britain, 1600-1830


  • Dr Regina Grafe,  March 2008

  • Stuck in the past or looking towards the future - The deep roots of Spanish economic regionalism


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