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The Economics of World War I

To commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, Vox will be publishing a series of articles over the coming year on the economics of the conflict itself, as well as on its causes and consequences. These will eventually be published in a Vox eBook, “The Economics of the First World War”, edited by Nicholas Crafts, Kevin Hjortshøj O’Rourke and Alan M. Taylor.


  • Height of World War I servicemen

    Timothy J Hatton, 8 May 2014

    The last century has seen unprecedented increases in the heights of adults (Bleakley et al., 2013). Among young men in western Europe, that increase amounts to about four inches. On average, sons have been taller than their fathers for the last five generations. These gains in height are linked to improvements in health and longevity. Increases in human stature have been associated with a wide...

  • Four myths about the Great War of 1914-1918

    Mark Harrison, 2 June 2014

    As its centennial approaches, the events of the Great War have worldwide resonance. Most obviously, is China the Germany of today? Will China’s rise, unlike Germany’s, remain peaceful? The journalist Gideon Rachman wrote last year (Financial Times, February 4, 2013): “The analogy [of China today] with Germany before the first world war is striking … It is, at least,...

  • Changes in migration policies after 1914

    Drew Keeling, 23 June 2014

    The war declarations of August 1914 spelled far-reaching alteration to the fundamental character of modern long-distance international mass migration. For most of the preceding century, in the majority of big economies international human relocation had been largely peaceful, voluntary, and motivated by market incentives. Since 1914, it has been mostly shaped by politically determined quotas and...

  • Financial preparations leading up to WWI

    Harold James, 8 July 2014

    The 1907 panic emanated from the US but affected the rest of the world and demonstrated the fragility of the whole international financial order. The aftermath of the 1907 crash drove the then hegemonic power – Great Britain – to reflect on how it could use its financial power. There is a close link between the aftermath of a great financial crisis and the escalation of diplomatic...

  • International organisation and World War I

    Patricia Clavin, 2 August 2014

    It is common to identify the origins of global economic and financial organizations in the period following the Second World War – notably at the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944. In fact, many of the ideas, people, and practices that informed the work of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the European Economic Community lie in the...