Charles Read

Economic historian and journalist

Dr Charles Read teaches economics and history at the University of Cambridge, where he is a Pro-Proctor, an Affiliated Lecturer at the Faculty of Economics, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Faculty of History and a fellow and lecturer at Corpus Christi College. The research for his PhD dissertation on British economic policy during the Irish famine of 1845-53, the worst economic-policy disaster in modern British and Irish history, has won three academic prizes from the Economic History Society and a further dissertation prize from the International Economic History Association, more than any other early-career scholar in economic history has.

Charles is also a prolific author of articles about business, economics and finance for a number of publications including The Economist, where aged 18 he was once one of the youngest regular contributors in its history, and The World In. He has made frequent appearances in the media to discuss contemporary issues in business and economics, as well as his historical research. He has been interviewed by outlets including the BBC News Channel, CNN International and the John Batchelor Show and has had his academic research profiled on Dan Snow’s History Hit podcast and Bloomberg Opinion.

In a previous life he was an equity researcher for a bulge-bracket investment bank, and has worked as a consultant for hedge funds since the covid-19 pandemic began on the historical impact of pandemics on economies and financial markets.

Contact details:

Email: cpr34 [at]
CV available on request
Please do follow me on twitter @econcharlesread

Academic positions:

Fellow, Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge (web profile).
Pro-Proctor, The Old Schools, University of Cambridge (web profile).
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow and Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge (web profile).
Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.


• C. Read, The Great Famine in Ireland and British Financial Crisis (Economic History Society and the Boydell Press, 25 October 2022).

• C. Read, The Carry Trade, the Banking School and British Financial Crises since 1825 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2 January 2023).

• C. Read, Gentlemanly Capitalism, the 1847 Financial Crisis and the British Empire (Oxford University Press, under contract, 2024).

Academic journal articles and chapters:

• C. Read, ‘The repeal of the Bubble Act and the debate between the Currency and Banking Schools’, in H. Paul, D. Coffman and N. Di Liberto (eds.), The Bubble Act: New Perspectives from Passage to Repeal and Beyond (Palgrave Macmillan, in press, 2023).

• C. Read, ‘Reforming the Bank of England to tame inflation and boost financial stability: Lessons from two centuries of British financial history’, History & Policy (September 2022). [].

• C. Read, ‘The Political Economy of Sir Robert Peel’, in J. Hoppit, A.B. Leonard and D.J. Needham (eds.), Money and markets: essays in honour of Martin Daunton (Martlesham: Boydell and Brewer, 2019) pp. 71-89 [].

• C. Read, ‘Taxes, tariffs and the economics of nationalism in 1840s Ireland’, in D. Kanter & P. Walsh (eds.), Taxation, Politics, and Protest in Ireland, 1692-2016 (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) pp. 199-226. []

• C. Read, ‘The Irish Famine and Unusual Market Behaviour in Cork’, Irish Economic and Social History 44:1 (December 2017) pp. 3-18. [].

• C. Read, ‘Laissez-faire, the Irish Famine and British Financial Crisis’, Economic History Review 69:2 (May 2016) pp. 411-434. [].

 C. Read, ‘The Repeal Year in Ireland: An Economic Reassessment’, Historical Journal 58:1 (March 2015) pp. 111-135. [].

 C. Read, ‘Ireland and the perils of fixed exchange rates’, History & Policy (February 2015). [].

• C. Read, ‘Peel, De Grey and Irish Policy, c.1841-44’, History 99:334 (January 2014) pp. 1-18. [].

• C. Read, ‘De Grey [née Cole], Henrietta Frances, Countess de Grey (1784–1848)’, Dictionary of Irish Biography (January 2014).

• Hong Kong Link Fellowship, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
• British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship.
• Dissertation Prize for best PhD dissertation in 2015, 2016 or 2017, International Economic History Association, 2018.
• Awarded Thirsk-Feinstein Prize for best PhD dissertation in 2016, Economic History Society, 2017.
• T.S. Ashton Prize for the best Economic History Review article, Economic History Society, 2017.
• New Researcher Prize, Economic History Society, 2014.
• Sir John Plumb Prize, University of Cambridge, 2011.
• Scholarship (2010) and BA Scholarship (2011), Christ’s College, Cambridge.
• “EE” Matriculation Offer, University of Cambridge, 2008.
• Geoffrey Pryke Memorial Scholarship, 2003.

Selected journalism articles:
Who governs a country’s airspace? (The Economist, 25/05/2021).
What if aviation doesn’t recover from covid-19? (The Economist, 02/07/2020).
Capital in the 14th century: New research suggests that secular stagnation is centuries old (The Economist, 11/01/2020).
Losing control: Air-traffic control is a mess (The Economist, 15/06/2019).
Leaders: Private jets receive ludicrous tax breaks that hurt the environment (The Economist, 19/03/2019).
g right: First-class air travel is in decline (The Economist, 19/03/2019).
Leaders: Why more buildings should be made of wood (The Economist, 03/01/2019).
Construction and climate: Efforts to make buildings greener are not working (The Economist, 03/01/2019).
Wish you weren’t here: The backlash against overtourism (The Economist, 27/10/2018).
Thinking outside the box: The global logistics business is going to be transformed by digitisation
(The Economist, 28/04/2018).
The dragons take off: Chinese carriers are the new disrupters in air travel
(The Economist, 07/04/2018).
Missed connection: The super-connector airlines face a world of troubles (The Economist, 13/05/2017).
Leaders: A lack of competition explains the flaws in American aviation (The Economist, 22/04/2017).
Free exchange column: What America can learn from sterling’s decline as a reserve currency (The Economist, 03/10/2015).
Wealth inequality: NIMBYs in the twenty-first century (The Economist, 25/03/2015).
Free exchange column: Banks have been boosting mortgage lending for decades, at the expense of corporate loans (The Economist, 31/01/2015).
University-entrance requirements: Shoot for the stars (The Economist, 07/01/2010).
Trouble at the National Archives: Pricing the past (The Economist, 17/09/2009).
Flourishing tourism: Pulling them in (The Economist, 03/09/2009).
Britons airborne: Damp squib (The Economist, 06/08/2009).
Paying for the monarchy: Buck’s fizz for the masses (The Economist, 30/07/2009).
Papers that prosper: True grit (The Economist, 23/07/2009).
Care for the elderly: Nothing to write home about (The Economist, 16/07/2009).