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Niall Ferguson, examples of his work

Niall Ferguson, Born April 18, 1964
Niall Ferguson

Niall Campbell Douglas Ferguson was born in 1964. He is a Historian and specializes in economic history, hyperinflation, bonds and the history of colonialism. Ferguson is the son of a doctor and a physics teacher. He married Ayaan Hirsi Ali in September 2011 His early studies were at the Glasgow academy and he continued his studies in Magdalen College, Oxford. Ferguson's worked as an investment manager, commentator, contributing editor amongst other things. The most renowned work of Professor Niall is The Pity of War: Explaining World War One, the Rothschilds, and Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals (1997) which is his work in Counterfactual history. Ferguson also created a series of TV Documentaries such as Empire (2003), American Colossus (2004), The War of the World (2006), The Ascent of Money (2008), Civilization: Is the west history? (2011), China: Triumph and Turmoil (2012)

Official Website



Business summit: Niall Ferguson and the certainty of uncertainty
2021: The new europe
What could bring globalization down?
Niall Ferguson: 'Westerners don't understand how vulnerable freedom is'

Podcasts by Niall Ferguson

What History should British children be taught?
War and Civilization Series Lecture 1: War and Finance
The essay when writers play (Series_2)

Research Papers

Download: The end of chimerica
In the past decade, the world economy has been dominated by a world economic order that combined Chinese export-led development with US over-consumption. The financial crisis of 2007-2009 likely marks the beginning of the end of the Chimerican relationship. In this paper we look at this era as economic historians, trying to set events in a longer-term perspective. In some ways China's economic model in the decade 1998-2007 was similar to the one adopted by West Germany and Japan after World War II. Trade surpluses with the U.S. played a major role in propelling growth. But there were two key differences. First, the scale of Chinese currency intervention was without precedent, as were the resulting distortions of the world economy. Second, the Chinese have so far resisted the kind of currency appreciation to which West Germany and Japan consented. We conclude that Chimerica cannot persist for much longer in its present form. As in the 1970s, sizeable changes in exchange rates are needed to rebalance the world economy. A continuation of Chimerica at a time of dollar devaluation would give rise to new and dangerous distortions in the global economy.

Download: British imperialism revised: The costs and benefits of 'anglobalization'
It is fair to say that recent economic history has not been kind to the British Empire. According to one influential school of thought, late 19th-century capital exports to the country's numerous colonies diverted resources away from the modernization of British industry. Some scholars have questioned whether it was even economically rational for the investors themselves. Patrick O’Brien has argued that after around 1846 Britain could have withdrawn from empire with impunity, and reaped a 'decolonization dividend' in the form of a 25% tax cut. The money taxpayers would have saved as a result of a Victorian decolonization could have been spent on electricity, cars, and consumer durables, thus encouraging industrial modernization at home.

Download: Thin film of gold
This paper asks whether developing countries can reap credibility gains from submitting policy to a strict monetary rule. Following earlier work, we look at the gold standard era (1880-1914) as a 'natural experiment' to test whether adoption of a rule-based monetary framework such as the gold standard increased policy credibility. On the basis of the largest possible dataset covering almost sixty independent and colonial borrowers in the London market, we challenge the traditional view that gold standard adherence worked as a credible commitment mechanism that was rewarded by financial markets with lower borrowing costs. We demonstrate that in the poor periphery - where policy credibility is a particularly acute problem - the market looked behind 'the thin film of gold'. Our results point to a dichotomy: whereas country risk premia fell after gold adoption in developed countries, there were no credibility gains in the volatile economic and political environments of developing countries. History shows that monetary policy rules are no short-cut to credibility in situations where vulnerability to economic and political shocks, not time-inconsistency, are overarching concerns for investors.


The Six Killer Apps
Niall Ferguson: 'Chimerica'

Niall Ferguson talking at the british council.


Ascent of money

Civilization: Is the west history

His most recent publications includes :