The divergence of economic history from economics has impoverished our ability to explain the modern world. My research achievement is to show how these fields can be usefully combined to better understand the performance of firms, industries and economies.
My main research contribution has been to explore the causes, anatomy and consequences of the Dutch financial crisis of the 1920s, the most significant banking crisis in the Netherlands before 2008. I combined corporate financing data with qualitative evidence from business archives to explain the behaviour of diverse banking organisations during this crisis. My research, which has been published in leading economic and business history journals, shows that the structure of the Dutch financial services sector determined its performance during the crisis period.
1. Financial history: The management of monetary policy in the Netherlands during the interwar gold standard (with Philip Fliers). We aim to add to our earlier banking history work by analysing the macroeconomics of the various interwar financial and economic crises.
2. Anthropometric history: Measuring the long-run health impact of the Great Irish Famine (with Matthias Blum and Eoin McLaughlin). This continues our earlier work (also with Laura McAtackney) where we exploit Irish prison registers to look at post-Famine human capital development, which was published in Economic History Review.