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Dr James Taylor

Senior Lecturer

James Taylor


Tel: +44 1524 592505

Research overview

Dr Taylor's work explores the cultural, political, and legal dimensions of economic change in Britain since the 1700s. He has published on subjects ranging from the rise of the corporation, the early history of corporate governance, and the regulation and punishment of commercial fraud, to the history of the financial press and literary representations of commerce. His latest research explores the history of advertising in Britain in the early twentieth century.

PhD supervision

Dr Taylor is keen to hear from students researching the following areas of British history - the history of financial fraud and crime; the history of joint-stock companies and corporate governance; the history of advertising, shopping, and consumerism; other topics linking economic, social and cultural history since 1800. Do contact him if you would like to discuss your research plans.

Research Interests

Dr Taylor's first monograph, Creating Capitalism, won the 2008 Economic History Society Prize for best first monograph in Economic and Social History; his second, Shareholder Democracies (co-authored with Mark Freeman and Robin Pearson), won the Ralph Gomory Prize for best business history book of 2012. His third, Boardroom Scandal, was published by Oxford University Press in spring 2013. He has also published articles in several leading historical journals, including English Historical Review, Historical Journal, Historical Research, and Past & Present

His work tackles a number of overarching themes, including the relationship between morality and the market, the reliance of capitalism on the law, how trust is won, sustained, and undermined, regulation (broadly defined), and how ordinary people understand and relate to the market. Though his interests are economic, he examines economic questions from social, cultural, legal, and political perspectives. 

His current research has two strands. The first is on the rise of advertising in early twentienth-century Britain. This explores how advertising came to occupy a central place in national culture, affecting class, gender, and national identity, and shaping how people understood their roles as consumers and citizens. The second concerns the history of financial journalism in Britain since the 1820s. He is particularly interested in how the media influenced public understanding of, and engagement in, the economy. Some of his work on this topic is summarised here.  He has a chapter in the recently-published edited collection The Media and Financial Crises, which also features contributions from Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times.

You can read his policy paper 'Why have no bankers gone to jail?', published October 2013, on the History & Policy website


Current Teaching

Hist280: The Victorians and Before: Britain, 1783-1901

Hist281: Britain in the Twentieth Century

Hist343: Advertising and Consumerism in Britain, 1853-1960

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