(8) The Ellen McArthur Lectures 2022

Professor Bob Allen
New York University Abu Dhabi
From Foraging to the First States: an Economic History »

The shift from foraging to agriculture, the rise of cities, and the creation of states have been momentous developments in the human story. We know much more about these changes than we did a century ago, but much remains obscure. These issues are explored with particular focus on the middle east, but also with the global perspective in mind. Why was the development of agriculture usually accompanied by a decline in living standards? Indeed, why did people take it up under such circumstances? Why was farming confined for millenia to the fertile crescent and then why did it spread to Mesopotamia and beyond? Why did urbanization take off in southern Mesopotamia and why did the first states form there? Was this new form of living a fall from grace or the advent of a brighter future? The lectures explore these questions with the approaches and techniques of economic historians in an effort to unravel the mysteries.


(7) The Ellen McArthur Lectures 2018

Professor Avner Offer
Emeritus Professor, All Souls College, Oxford
Time horizons as boundaries for market, public and social enterprise »



(6) Inaugural Lecture

Professor Gareth Austin
Professor of Economic History and Fellow of King's College, Cambridge
"Three Revolutions in Economic History" »

The lecture discusses what I would describe as three 'revolutions' in the study of economic history since the era of Sir John Clapham, the first holder of the chair of economic history: (1) the cliometric revolution of the 1960s, which applied neoclassical theory and analytical statistics to the economic past; (2) the emergence in the 1950s-80s of the systematic and continuous study of the economic history of the non-Western word, what may be called 'The Other Economic History'; and (3) the attempt, essentially in the present century, reciprocally to integrate the economic history of the West and the Rest, using quantitative and other methods. The final part of the lecture will be devoted to the pitfalls and promise of this endeavour. In practical terms we have a lot still to do to achieve a genuinely global economic history, based on the principle of reciprocal comparison. In doing this, we need to combine the best insights from the cliometric and other traditions of economic history, respecting the different approaches which historians and economists take to determining causality. Economic History needs to re-affirm its position as the intersection set of the disciplines of History and Economics.


(5) The Ellen McArthur Lectures 2016

Professor Jane Humphries
Professor of Economic History and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford
"Eve also Delved: Gendering Economic History" »

Women from all times and regions will be seen about their daily lives, at work and at home, in these 4 lectures. New sources will be used to reconstruct and analyze their many productive contributions to their families and communities. Snapshots in time and micro studies underpin a more general account which can then be related to the grand narratives of British economic history. I will argue that we need to acknowledge the productive activities of women and children to build not only a more complete but a more correct economic history.


(4) The Ellen McArthur Lectures 2013

Professor Bruce Campbell FBA
Professor of Medieval Economic History, The Queen's University of Belfast
"The Great Transition: Climate, Disease and Society in the 13th and 14th Centuries" »

Across the Old World the late-thirteenth and fourteenth centuries witnessed profound and sometimes abrupt changes in the trajectory of established historical trends, as the long era of economic efflorescence which had characterised Latin Christendom and the agrarian empires of eastern and south-eastern Asia since at least the late eleventh century finally drew to an end. Eventually, a set of new socio-economic equilibriums emerged. A combination of environmental and human processes were involved in this 'Great Transition', whose full ecological and geographical dimensions are only now coming to light thanks to detailed scientific research into past climates, application of aDNA analysis to the diagnosis of plague and decoding of the Yersinia pestis genome, and emergence of comparative global history as a significant field of scholarly enquiry.


(3) Interview with E.A. Wrigley

Professor Sir E.A. WrigleyProfessor Sir E.A. Wrigley (University of Cambridge).

Professor Tim Guinanne (Yale) interviewed Tony Wrigley at his home in Cambridge in May 2011 on behalf of the Cliometics Society. Also included here is a more biographical interview by Alan Macfarlane from 2007.

Interview »


(2) The Leverhulme Lectures 2010

Osamu Saito Professor Osamu Saito (Hitotsubashi University, Cambridge Group).
"All poor, but no paupers: a Japanese perspective on the Great Divergence" »

Ken Pomeranz’s The Great Divergence (2000), based mainly on Chinese evidence, argued that in the early modern period, the Asian standard of living was on a par with that of Europe and that market growth in East Asia was comparable to that in western Europe. The book has stimulated a major debate amongst economic historians and much progress has recently been made in cross-cultural comparisons of real wages. However, real differences between East and West cannot be properly understood unless household income, not just real wages, and income inequality, not just per-capita income, are compared; and due attention should be given, not only to product markets, but to factor markets as well. This lecture series examines these issues on the empirical basis of what Japan’s economic history can offer. The findings are not consistent with either Pomeranz’s account of East-West differences in living standards or with those presented in Bob Allen’s recent book.


(1) The Ellen McArthur Lectures 2009

Nick Crafts Professor Nick Crafts (University of Warwick)
From the 18th to the 21st Century: a Perspective on 250 Years of Economic Growth” »

These lectures consider the evolution of the performance of the British economy over the long run taking the view that 'history matters' but so do the microeconomic foundations of growth. Starting with the Industrial Revolution, the growth record of the British economy is re-examined and key controversies are re-appraised. The objective is to provide a coherent account of British relative economic decline which emphasizes the interactions between institutions and policy choices in the context of historical constraints. The argument is tested by seeking also to explain the apparent end of relative decline recently.