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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 and is at present Deputy Head of the School of the Humanities and Social Sciences. She is a regular panelist on Talking Politics. 


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: 
    • 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 euro zone crises,’ The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 2016, vol. 18, no 1, pp. 216–233.
    • Germany and the euro zone 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.


    Blog posts and media articles:

    ‘The historical burden of antisemitism’ 

    ‘Brexit forever,’

    ‘The EU is flunking its Brexit opportunity,’

    ‘Why Europe can’t cope’

    ‘Broken Europe: why the EU is stuck in perpetual crisis,’

    ‘The unintended euro and the problem of Europe,

    ‘The midterms have shown that President Trump’s campaign rhetoric has come back to haunt him,’

    ‘Europe’s democratic difficulties,’

    ‘The transformation of British politics: was it really caused by the crash?’

    ‘Whether oil prices rise or fall, there will always be a loser,’

    ‘Will the EU hold?’

    ‘Want to understand what is wrong with Europe? Look at Italy.':

    ‘Returning to democracy: the British Left and the constitutional temptation of the European Union':

    ‘The illusionary norm of political stability: the unruly democratic politics of the United Kingdom':

    ‘Why oil matters for British politics’:

    ‘Why political analysis needs probability and history to address uncertainty’:

    ‘When Congress said to Donald Trump “you’re fired":

    ‘Trump, the Russia sanctions and Europe’s energy future':

    ‘Revisiting groundhog day: Theresa’s May search for an EU yes’:

    'Why the next financial crisis is nearer than you think':

    ‘The coming crisis: we are not in Kansas any more’:

    ‘The revolt of the country: Brexit, history and English nationhood’:

    ‘Haven’t we been here before?’:

    ‘Oil: the missing story of the West’s economic and geopolitical crisis’:

    ‘2016 and the return of the nation-state’:

    ‘The dirty little secret of the euro zone crisis: the German banks’:



    'The political economy of British sovereignty':

    Professor of Political Economy
    University Teaching Officer
    Office hours: Appointment by email
    Professor Helen  Thompson

    Contact Details
    01223 767 264