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, 220 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.


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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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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Ireland and the perils of fixed exchange rates

The Great Irish Famine of the 1840s and the twentieth-century Irish financial crisis might seem worlds apart. But they share key macroeconomic policies that exacerbated the respective economic situations, according to Charles Read, of Cambridge University. Using the macroeconomic concept the ‘trilemma’, Read compares decisions taken during the famine and the recent financial crisis to understand what went wrong – and offer lessons for policy makers today, particularly in countries considering joining a currency union. 

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Why have no bankers gone to jail?

Dr James Taylor argues that political will, not tougher legislation, is needed to restore trust in the City and the state. Effective legislation already exists - dating from the nineteenth century and strengthened since 1900, contrary to popular perceptions of the Victorian era's uncontrolled capitalism. The Victorians took transgression seriously - with important economic and social effects, which today's policy makers should be aware of.

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A stable currency in search of a stable Empire? The Austro-Hungarian experience of monetary union

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History and the financial crisis

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Trustworthy Economics

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Crisis and recovery: historical perspectives on the Coalition’s economic policies

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De-globalization and the search for economic security

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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 Bristol, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, the Open University, and the University of Sheffield.

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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