New Papers

Here you will find some recent papers.  Please note that these are pre-publication versions.

‘Britain’s withdrawl from the Gold standard: the end of an Epoch’ in R. Parker and R Whaples (eds), Handbook of Major Events in Economic History, Palgrave, forthcoming.


Britain’s withdrawal from the interwar gold exchange standard in September 1931 marked the end of an epoch.  The gold standard was a fixed exchange rate regime which provided the framework for the global monetary system during much of the interwar period.  But it was a flawed construction which led to slow growth of the world economy and provided little flexibility for individual nations to deal with economic problems and international economic disturbances.  This rigidity became particularly manifest in the Great Depression during the late 1920s and early 1930s where the gold standard led to countries adopting deflationary policies when they should have being doing the opposite.   When Britain withdrew in 1931, the whole system was undermined and began to fall apart; but for Britain, the withdrawal provided the flexibility needed to introduce policies that increased aggregate demand which promoted recovery and stimulated growth for much of the rest of the decade.

Kitson Gold Standard June 2012

‘The Deindustrial Revolution: The Rise and Fall of UK Manufacturing, 1870-2010’ in R.Floud P. Johnson (eds), The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain, Vol 2, CUP, forthcoming (with J.Michie)


This paper analyses the evolution of the manufacturing sector in the UK since 1870.  Broadly, for almost a century, from 1870 to 1960, manufacturing played a key role in the development of the economy, undergirding success in other sectors of the economy and securing rising living standards.  The subsequent fifty years, from 1960, have witnessed a relative decline of the UK manufacturing sector – relative to other sectors of the economy, and relative to the manufacturing sectors in other countries.  This paper considers the thesis that the relative decline of manufacturing is a natural outcome of the development of advanced economies, as against the counter-arguments suggesting that decline of UK manufacturing represented something more than this, reflecting economic weaknesses and structural imbalances.  We argue that in the case of the UK, the relative decline of manufacturing has indeed reflected deep-rooted structural problems.  In particular there has been a chronic failure to invest in manufacturing, with the UK economy and investment being instead skewed towards short-term returns and the interests of the ‘City’.  These structural problems have led to uneven growth in the UK.

Kitson and Michie The deindustrial revolution Oct 2012