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, 230 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.


‘Adapting the machine’: welfare policy after World War One and Covid-19

Public sympathy put pressure on politicians of the 1920s and 1930s to make exceptional provision for veteran disability welfare – could the same be true of social policy more widely in the post-Covid world, asks Michael Robinson.

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Florence Nightingale’s Public Health Act, Covid-19 and the empowerment of local government

The nation's health turned a corner in the 1870s thanks to public health measures campaigned for by Nightingale, and implemented by well-financed Local Authorities. Hugh Small argues that it is this, rather than her hospital practice, that should inform our response to the pandemic.

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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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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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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 based at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.

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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