skip to primary navigationskip to content

Quantitative History Seminar

For Michaelmas term please see Core seminars in Economic and Social History 

Lent Term 2019


Seminars will take place in Room 12, Faculty of History at 1.15pm


13th February

Professor Nikolaus Wolf (Humboldt University Berlin)
The return of regional inequality: Europe from 1900 to today

We provide the first long-run dataset of regional employment structures and regional GDP and GDP per capita in 1990 international dollars, stretching over more than 100 years. These data allow us to compare regions over time, among each other, and  to other parts of the world. After some brief notes on methodology we  describe  the basic patterns in the data in terms of some key dimensions: variation in the density of population and economic  activity, the spread of industry and services and the declining role of agriculture, and changes in  the levels of GDP and GDP per capita. We next discuss patterns of convergence and divergence over  time and their explanations in terms of short- run adjustment and long-run fundamentals. Also, we  document for the first time a secular decrease in spatial coherence from 1900 to 2010. We find a  U-shaped development in geographic concentration and regional income inequality, similar to the  finding of a U-shaped pattern of personal income inequality.


27 February

Professor Sir Roderick Floud
Purchasing Paradise: gardens in the English economy, 1660-1815

The landscape garden has been said to be England’s greatest contribution to European culture.  Behind the hyperbole lies a century and a half of garden making, from the enormous formal gardens  of the Restoration period and the time of William and Mary, which were then swept away by the  landscape movement typified by Capability Brown and complemented finally by the more restrained  designs of Humphry Repton and the picturesque school. These gardens represent the expenditure of  billions of pounds, in modern values, in what is arguably the most conspicuous example of all of  the luxury consumption of the period, literally reshaping the English countryside.

But who paid for  them, with what sources of funds, what was the nature of the industry which produced them and what  was the impact on the economy?

This paper explores these questions and in particular the role of  public expenditure as well as the technological innovations which were spawned. These are topics  which have been entirely ignored by both economic and garden historians but which throw new light  on the economics, politics and social evolution of the long eighteenth century.


Convenor: Leigh Shaw-Taylor -






Supported by the Centre for History and Economics and the Trevelyan Fund

Seminar programme archive