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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Helen Thompson is Professor of Political Economy. She has been at Cambridge since 1994. Her current research concentrates on the political economy of energy and the long history of the democratic, economic, and geopolitical disruptions of the twenty-first century. She is a regular panellist on Talking Politics and a columnist for the New Statesman.


Helen’s present work is focused on the historical origins of the post-2008 economic and political world and the crises it is generating for western countries. More particularly her recent work covers the political economy of oil, Brexit and the euro zone crisis. 


Key publications: 




  • The European geopolitical space and the long path to Brexit (The Government and Opposition/Leonard Schapiro lecture 2020,’ Government and Opposition, 2021 vol 56, no 3, pp. 385-404.
  • ‘Taking Europe seriously: European financialization and US monetary power,’ Review of International Political Economy, 2021, vol 28, no 4 (with Iain Hardie), pp. 775-793. "The Habsburg myth and the European Union", Duina, F. and Merand, F. (ed.) Europe's Malaise, Research in Political Sociology, Vol. 27, Emerald Publishing Limited, 2020, pp. 45-66.
  • Oil and the western economic crisis, London: Palgrave, 2017. 
  • ‘Inevitability and contingency: the political economy of Brexit,’ British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 2017, vol 19, no 3, pp. 434-4. 

  • ‘How the City of London lost at Brexit: a historical perspective,’ Economy and Society, 2017, vol 46, no 2, pp. 211-228.  

  • ‘Enduring capital flow constraints and the 2007–2008 financial and eurozone crises,’ The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 2016, vol. 18, no 1, pp. 216–233.
  • ‘Germany and the eurozone crisis: the European Reformation of the German banking crisis,’ New Political Economy, 2015, vol 20, no 6, pp. 851-870.
  • ‘UK debt in comparative perspective: the pernicious legacy of financial sector debt’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 2013,  vol 15, no 3, pp 476-492.
  • ‘The limits of blaming neo-liberalism: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the financial crisis’, New Political Economy, 2012 vol. 17 no. 4. pp. 319-419.
  • China and the mortgaging of America, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2010. 
  • Might, right, prosperity and consent: representative democracy and the international economy, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008.


Media articles




'The political economy of British sovereignty':



Professor of Political Economy
University Teaching Officer
Fellow, Clare College
Professor Helen  Thompson

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