Mark Harrison

Research Fellow / National Fellow

Mark Harrison is a research fellow and a former national fellow (2008–9) at the Hoover Institution. He is an economic historian and specialist in Soviet affairs, currently affiliated with the Hoover Institution Workshop on Totalitarian Regimes led by Hoover research fellow Paul R. Gregory.

In addition to his Hoover appointment, Harrison is a professor of economics at the University of Warwick in England and a senior research fellow at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies of the University of Birmingham. Harrison was one of the first Western economists to work in the Russian archives following the fall of Soviet communism. His work has brought new knowledge about the Russian and Soviet economy into mainstream economics and international economic history, especially through projects on the two world wars. He is currently working on the political economy of secrecy and state security in the Soviet Union.

Harrison has written or edited a number of books, including Guns and Rubles: The Defense Industry in the Stalinist State, published in 2008 in the Yale-Hoover series on Stalin, Stalinism, and the Cold War; The Economics of World War I (Cambridge University Press, 2005); and The Economics of World War II (Cambridge University Press, 1998). His articles have appeared in leading journals of comparative economics, economic history, and Russian studies. His work on Russia's historical national accounts in wartime was recognized by the Alec Nove Prize of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (1998) and the Russian National Award for Applied Economics (2012).

He has a BA in economics and politics from Cambridge University and a DPhil in modern history from Oxford University.

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Recent Commentary

The Moscow bombings of September 1999

MH17: Four Preliminary Judgements

by Mark Harrisonvia Mark Harrison's Blog
Monday, July 21, 2014

I was interviewed this afternoon by Tim Boswell on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire's Drivetime. This isn't exactly what I said, which flowed in a conversation, but it roughly follows the notes I made beforehand.

Czar Vladimir?

by Mark Harrisonvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Does Vladimir Putin want to be king—or emperor? The second ambition is more dangerous.

World War I recruiting poster, Great Britain.

Four myths about the Great War of 1914-1918

by Mark Harrisonvia (Centre for Economic Policy Research)
Tuesday, June 3, 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):

Gas valves image

Gas and Geopolitics

by Mark Harrisonvia Mark Harrison's Blog
Thursday, May 22, 2014

China and Russia (represented by the Russian state oil major Gazprom) have signed a deal that will supply China with gas worth up to $400 billion over 30 years. 

Marxist Myopia

by Mark Harrisonvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 21, 2014

Why is Marxism still fashionable in some quarters? Because although the free market’s hard edges are easy to see, its benefits are more subtle.

Red Poppies

Four Things We Get Wrong About World War I

by Mark Harrisonvia The Conversation
Thursday, April 3, 2014

Most wars are rich in tales of agency and decision. Yet many tales of the Great War are told otherwise. The dominant narrative tells us that we were passive victims of an irrational disaster. Everything…


Marxism: My Part in Its Downfall

by Mark Harrisonvia Mark Harrison's Blog
Monday, March 24, 2014

Crimea: Then I'll Fight You For It

by Mark Harrisonvia Mark Harrison's Blog
Monday, March 17, 2014

Stay Where You Are: Russia Will Come to You

by Mark Harrisonvia Mark Harrison's Blog
Thursday, March 13, 2014