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History and Political Economy of Business and Finance


The History and Political Economy (HYPE) of Business and Finance is a research cluster based in The Open University Business School. It brings together scholars who aim at developing a critical approach to business and financial theory.

HYPE puts forward an interdisciplinary research agenda using insights from the perspective of political economy (i.e. an interdisciplinary approach to the relations among individuals, governments, and public policy) and history.

Our aims

HYPE is founded on three main objectives:

  • to provide a critical understanding of the main contemporary issues and challenges facing business and society, such as the rising inequalities, the environmental crisis, and the rise of platform capitalism
  • to establish communication links, dialogue, and knowledge exchange between academics, businesses, and policy makers
  • to demonstrate the practical value of history and political economy in dealing with a series of contemporary challenges.

Project blog

Meet the team

PhD Students

External members


  • Summer 2023 - Prof. Rutterford co-authored a paper published in the prestigious Business History Review titled 'The Unsung Activists: UK Shareholder Investigation Committees, 1888–1940'. The article explores the role of investigation committees in nineteenth and early twentieth-century Britain, an early example of shareholders’ activism.
  • 20/01/2022 - We are pleased to share the Call for Papers for the special issue titled "The financialization of daily life", to be published in Critical Perspectives on Accounting. The guest editors Ariane Agunsoye, Pauline Gleadle, and Neeta Shah expect to hold an online workshop on 3rd June 2022. Authors interested in participating in the workshop can submit either an extended abstract of 1,000-2,000 words or a draft paper by 30th April 2022. More information can be found at this link: Call For Papers - Critical Perspectives on Accounting | by Elsevier
  • 04/01/2022 - Emeritus Professor and HYPE member Janette Rutterford has been elected to the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies for a three year term. The Institute is an independent research body covering all aspects of taxation including the impact of taxation on  - to name but a few topics - education, the incentive to work, poverty,  corporate profits, and the cost of social care. The institute also edits the journal Fiscal Studies.

Previous events

HYPE Webinar Series

This series of webinars will investigate different aspects of contemporary social and economic challenges. The webinar series will promote interdisciplinary research agendas, using insights from political economy, history, and related disciplines.

The webinars will take place via Microsoft Teams. Everybody is welcome and participation is free, but registration is required. If you want to attend the webinars, please email us.

Deindustrialization, employees’ agency, and the just transition
Presented by Ed Atkins, Lorenzo Cresti, Angelo Moro and Guendalina Anzolin
16:00 - 17:30 (GMT), Wednesday 29 March 2023

From despair to where? A short history of the UK household debt crisis
Presented by Joe Cox 
16:00 - 17:30 (GMT), Wednesday 8 February 2023

Finance, Trade and Development: Defining Sovereign Debt Sustainability in an Interdependent World
Presented by Orsola Costantini 
16:00 - 17:30 (GMT), Wednesday 18 January 2023

The current inflationary crisis in historical perspective
Presented by Matías Vernengo 
16:00 - 17:30 (GMT), Wednesday 7 December 2022

Nonmonetary and monetary explanations for inflation: the UK in the 1970s
Presented by Michael J. Oliver
16:00 - 17:30 (BST), Thursday 17 November 2022

Europe at a Crossroads: The EMU Between the Crises and the Debate on Reform
Presented by Prof. Francesco Saraceno
16:00 - 17:30 (BST), Wednesday 6 April 2022

Visions of the future – a socialist departure from gloom?
Presented by Paul Auerbach and Peter Skott
16:00 - 17:30 (GMT), Wednesday 3 November 2021

BREXIT and COVID-19: What lies ahead for UK capitalism?
A panel discussion with Prof. Leslie Budd and Dr. Dimitris Sotiropoulos
18:00 – 19:30 (GMT), Wednesday 17 February 2021

Financialisation and Health
Presented by Dr. Giorgos Galanis
16:00 - 17:30 (GMT), Wednesday 18 November 2020

Past events organised under the Open Political Economy Group (OPEG)