Policy Papers

History & Policy papers are written by expert historians, based on peer-reviewed research. They offer historical insights into current policy issues ranging from Afghanistan and Iraq, climate change and internet surveillance to family dynamics, alcohol consumption and health reforms. For historians interested in submitting a paper, please see the editorial guidelines.

Currently, 221 papers are freely searchable by theme, author or keyword, with new papers published regularly. Where possible, we publish papers to coincide with relevant policy developments. If you are a policy maker, civil society practitioner or journalist and would like to contact one of our historians, please contact historyandpolicy@kcl.ac.uk.

You can download H&P policy papers directly from the Apple iBooks store to your iPhone, iPad or Mac. We also have an Amazon Kindle version to download to your PC for transfer to your Kindle via USB cable. Please consult your Kindle manual for further details.


Foodbank Histories: solidarity and mutual aid in the past and the present

Policy makers can derive important lessons from this oral history of mutual aid, formal and informal, gathered at Newcastle West End Foodbank by Alison Atkinson-Phillips and colleagues.

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The economic consequences of plague: lessons for the age of Covid-19

Guido Alfani traces the long-term effects of previous pandemics, and finds that a region's starting conditions are key to economic outcomes – and some consequences are still with us 600 years after the Black Death.

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‘The death of the high street’: town centres from post-war to Covid-19

The high street was already suffering before the extra pressure of lockdown, says Alistair Kefford, but town centres used to have wider social, civic and economic functions beyond just shopping. It is time for local authorities to adopt measures to rediscover them.

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How technology has been used to deny benefits to the disabled

Technology is never neutral, says Coreen McGuire. Technologies and measurement systems with in-built bias have been used to define medical conditions, and limit access to compensation, throughout twentieth-century medical history.

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The uses of historical research in child abuse inquiries

Gordon Lynch and a group of historians from across the world reflect on their roles in Inquiries into non-recent child abuse, and the tensions that can exist between historical research and the other purposes Inquiries serve

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Sceptical yet supportive: understanding public attitudes to charity

Debates about the role and behaviour of charities are ongoing, alongside great public generosity such as in the recent case of veteran Captain Tom Moore's sponsored walk. The public needs to be better informed so that the debate is less ideological, say Beth Breeze and John Mohan.

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Covid-19 and the UK national debt in historical context

Duncan Needham traces the history of the National Debt – expected to exceed GDP in the course of the Covid crisis – and shows that the UK is capable of recovering from debt levels as high or higher, with the right instruments.

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The perils of integration policies: migration to Britain and Germany since 1949

Marc Collinson and Nikolaos Papadogiannis outline two contrasting immigration histories, and suggest that the narrow concept of 'integration' should be replaced by a wider, richer sense of 'reciprocity'.

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Call it what it is – supermarket rationing

State-backed rationing is already with us in response to Coronavirus-related shortages, says Mark Roodhouse – and the First World War holds a warning about this model.

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The real lessons of the Blitz for Covid-19

A roundtable of experts in the UK's emergency civil defence response during the Second World War explores lessons for the current crisis.

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About Us


H&P is an expanding Partnership based at King's College London and the University of Cambridge, and additionally supported by the University of Leeds, the University of Liverpool and the Open University.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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