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Prof Bob Allen
FBA, FRS (Canada)
Role : Reader in Recent Social & Economic History
Job Title : Emeritus Fellow
Academic Group : Sociology
College Group : Sociology, Economics
University Department : Economics
Research Interests : History of economic growth and inequality, environmental history, technological change, public policy.
Telephone : +44(0)1865 278539
Nuffield College
New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom


Biographical Sketch


Bob Allen is Professor of Economic History at Oxford University and a fellow of Nuffield College. He received his doctorate from Harvard University.

He has written extensively on English agricultural history. He has also studied international competition in the steel industry, the extinction of whales, and contemporary policies on education.

His articles have won the Cole Prize, the Redlich Prize, and the Explorations Prize. His books include Enclosure and the Yeoman: The Agricultural Development of the South Midlands, 1450-1850, and Farm to Factory: A Re-interpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution, both of which won the Ranki Prize of the Economic History Association. Currently, he is studying the global history of wages and prices, pre-industrial living standards around the world, and the causes of the industrial revolution in Britain. Professor Allen is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Canada.

Research Interests

History of economic growth and inequality

Environmental history

Technological change

Public policy

Research Students

Catherine Douglas
Antonia Strachey
Tommy Murphy
Roman Studer
Victoria Bateman
Eric Schneider

Published Papers

Teaching: Approaches to History

​Approachs to History is a course for first year undergraduate history students at Oxford. It is intended to introduce them to various social science approaches to history. The links are to three of my power point lectures describing the 'economic approach'.


week2.pptGreat Divergence and the Rise of Science

smith-2.pptAdam Smith and the Commercial Model

malthus-1.pptThomas Malthus and the Demographic Model

Unpublished Papers

Data: Wage and Price History

Labourers.xls.xlsLabourers  craftweb.xlsCraftsmen  warsaw.xlsWarsaw

gdansk.xlsGdansk      lwow.xlsLwow         krakow.xlsKrakow

vienna.xlsVienna       augsburg.xlsAugsburg   leipzig.xlsLeipzig

paris.xlsParis          strasbourg.xlsStrasbourg madrid.xlsMadrid

amsterdam.xlsAmsterdam antwerp.xlsAntwerp     london.xlsLondon

munich.xlsMunich       naples.xlsNaples       Northern Italy.xlsNorthern Italy.xls

indiapublic-2.xlsIndia          valencia.xlsValencia

Dictionary of Historical Weights and Measures

​Tommy Murphy and I have been compiling the metric equivalents of weights and measures used in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The link explains the project and leads to a searchable database

Historical Weights and Measures

Teaching: Economic Growth in History

​In 2004-5, Knick Harley and I taught 'Economic Growth in History' to graduate students in economics at Oxford. The link shows the reading list.

eginh2004-1.pdfReading list

Research in Power Point

​Here are links to power point presentations about my research

presentation2006-6.pptThe British Industrial Revolution

f2f.pptThe Soviet Industrial Revolution

Enclosure and the Yeoman

​Below is a spreadsheet with data used my book Enclosure and the Yeoman. The data are time series of agricultural product and input prices for England and the south midlands.  The data are used to compute indices of the prices of agricultural output and the inputs land, labour, and capital.  These index numbers are used to show who again from the agricultural revolution in chapter 14 of Enclosure and the Yeoman. They are also used to compute total factor productivity, as shown.  Data sources and weights used in the calculations are detailed in the file on sources. 


enclyeo.xlsEnglish agricultural prices

datasources.docEnglish agricultural prices datasource


Marxist Transitions

I gave five lectures at the summer school in Paris on 7 - 11th July 2008 financed by the European Science Foundation and the European Commission (Marie Curie RTN, 'Unifying the European Experience'). The theme of the school was Economic and Social Inequalities in Historical Perspectives. The theme of the lectures was to examine the interaction between technology, social institutions, and income distribution by reviewing the famous stages and transitions of Mars's theory of history.


introduction.pptIntroduction: Marx's stages

lecture 1.pptThe Origins of Agriculture and Private Property

lecture 2.pptSlavery in the Ancient World

lecture 3.pptThe Great Divergence in World Incomes

lecture 4.pptIncome Distribution during the Industrial Revolution

lecture 5.pptCapitalism and Communism in Russia/Soviet Union


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