Dr Duncan Needham

Dean and Senior Tutor, Darwin College
Director, Centre for Financial History
Senior Research Associate, Centre for Risk Studies, Judge Business School
Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of History
After completing my first degree at the London School of Economics in 1994, I was a credit trader at JP Morgan and then a fund manager at Cairn Capital, returning to academia in 2008.  My PhD was awarded the Economic History Society’s Thirsk-Feinstein Prize and published by Macmillan as 'UK monetary policy from devaluation to Thatcher, 1967–82' (2014).  I have been Director of the Centre for Financial History at Darwin College since 2013 and Senior Tutor of Darwin since 2016.
My research spans the economic history, particularly the monetary and financial history, of the United Kingdom, France and Germany across the last three centuries. I focus on the intersection of economic theory and politics with financial markets. Recent research has been on the supranational plane, with work on European Monetary Union and the International Monetary Fund, particularly the latter’s often thorny relations with the United Kingdom from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Part I (History)

Paper 6 British Political History since 1880

Paper 10 British Economic and Social History, 1700-1880

Paper 11 British Economic and Social History, since c.1880

Part 1 (Economics)

Paper 4 Political and Social Aspects of Economics

Paper 5 British Economic History

MPhil in Economic and Social History

International Political Economy (Central Concepts)

Economic growth and economic development (Central Concepts)

Money, trade and politics: from the Gold Standard to the Euro crisis (Option Paper)

History and Public Policy (Option Paper)


Approaches to Economic History (Approaches and Methodologies Course)

I supervise MPhil and undergraduate dissertations in topics on twentieth century British, European and American economic history. I currently supervise PhD candidates on the following topics:

The 1973 oil crisis and the British government’s economic and security interests, 1967-1979.

The British national developmental state, c. 1957 - 70.

Asset and liability management in American, British and French commercial banks, 1961-2008

The maturing of the UK mortgage market, 1970-1995    

A history of the Federal Reserve's monetary toolkit.

From sailors to solicitors: how the Cayman Islands became an international financial centre.


Tags & Themes


Darwin College Cambridge CB3 9EU


Key publications


Money and markets: essays in honour of Martin Daunton (Boydell and Brewer, 2019). Edited with J. Hoppit and A.B. Leonard.

Expansionary fiscal contraction: the Thatcher government’s 1981 Budget in perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Edited with A.C. Hotson. .

Monetary policy from devaluation to Thatcher, 1967-1982 (Palgrave, 2014) - winner of the Economic History Society's Thirsk-Feinstein prize.


‘Historical reasons for the focus on broad monetary aggregates in post-WWII Britain and the “Seven Years War” with the IMF', Financial History Review (December, 2017). With Charles Goodhart.

‘Britain’s money supply experiment, 1971-73’, English Historical Review (February, 2015).

‘Doing public debt in the long twentieth century: the UK, France and Germany’ in J. Logemann, S. Middendorf and L. Rischbieter, Schulden machen (September, 2023).
‘The changing risk culture of UK banks’ in M. Tuveson, D. Ralph and K. Alexander (eds), Beyond bad apples: risk culture in business (Cambridge University Press, 2020).  With A.C. Hotson.

‘Introduction’ in J. Hoppit, A.B. Leonard and D.J. Needham (eds), Money and markets: essays in honour of Martin Daunton (Boydell and Brewer, 2019).

‘Maplin: the Treasury and London’s third airport in the 1970s’ in J. Hoppit, D.J. Needham and A.B. Leonard (eds), Money and markets: essays in honour of Martin Daunton (Boydell and Brewer, 2019).

‘The evolution of monetary policy in Western Europe’ in S. Battilossi, Y. Cassis and K. Yago (eds), Handbook of the history of money and currency, (Springer, 2018).

‘Snakes and ladders: navigating European monetary union’ in D.D. Coffman, R. Scazzieri and I. Cardinale, The political economy of the Eurozone (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

‘The 1981 Budget: a Dunkirk not an Alamein’ in D.J. Needham and A.C. Hotson (eds.), Expansionary fiscal contraction: the Thatcher government’s 1981 Budget in perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

‘Goodbye Great Britain? The Press, the Treasury, and the 1976 IMF crisis’, in S. Schifferes and R.W. Roberts (eds.), The media and financial crises: historical and comparative perspectives (Routledge, 2014).

Other publications

Other Publications
Extremes: the Darwin College lectures (Cambridge University Press, 2019). Edited with J.F.W. Weitzdörfer.

The 1981 Budget – facts and fallacies, (March 2012), D.J. Needham, M.J. Oliver and A. Riley (eds). Published online at www.chu.cam.ac.uk/media/uploads/files/1981_Budget.pdf

Fentiman Road: drawing the Conservative fiscal policy threads together in 1978 (January, 2012). Published online at www.margaretthatcher.org/document/114053.