Mark Harrison

National Fellow

Mark Harrison was a research fellow and a former national fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is an economic historian and specialist in Soviet affairs, 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

Analysis and Commentary

Donald Trump And America's Incomplete Contract With Itself

by Mark Harrisonvia University of Warwick
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Last week's Economist has three articles that struck me by their connections. One of them looks at how US presidential candidate Donald Trump is undermining the unwritten rules of American democracy. Another deals with the business of outrage -- the money being made by political entrepreneurs selling racism and conspiracy theories. 

Analysis and Commentary

Women Of The Gulag: A Last Chance

by Mark Harrison featuring Paul R. Gregoryvia University of Warwick
Monday, October 10, 2016

My Hoover colleague and co-author Paul Gregory is involved in a remarkable project: to bring to life the stories of women who survived life in Stalin's Gulag. His book, Women of the Gulag: Portraits of Five Remarkable Lives, recounts their fates. As a historian, Paul began his research from documentary records of the survivors.


The Cold War: Bridge Of Spies, And Other Lost Chances For Peace

by Mark Harrisonvia University of Warwick
Friday, August 26, 2016

Were there missed opportunities to unwind the tensions of the Cold War? This question was raised by my holiday reading: Bridge of Spies, by Giles Whittell. 

Analysis and Commentary

Post-Referendum Blues

by Mark Harrisonvia University of Warwick
Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I'm going to shoot myself in the foot.

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Beijing Borrows Moscow’s Playbook

by Mark Harrisonvia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 11, 2016

China taps into the information age to learn everything about—and to control—its people.


Why The Battle Of The Somme Marks A Turning Point Of World War I

by Mark Harrisonvia The Conversation
Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The British offensive on the Somme began on July 1, 1916. After 20 weeks, they had advanced six miles. The German line retreated, but was not broken. The horrifying casualties were shared equally between the two sides: 300,000 men died. Bloodier battles would come in 1918, but on the first day of the Somme the British Army suffered its greatest daily loss: 19,000 killed.

Analysis and Commentary

I Will Vote Remain

by Mark Harrisonvia University of Warwick
Monday, June 13, 2016

I will vote Remain for lots of reasons. As a parent I want my children and their children to grow up in a world that is open and free. Brexit will shrink their world and reduce their opportunities.

Analysis and Commentary

When Central And Eastern Europe Led The World

by Mark Harrisonvia University of Warwick
Thursday, June 2, 2016

Last week I spent a few days in Regensburg, a pretty town in Bavaria. The subject of our conference was the economic history of central, eastern, and southeastern Europe since 1800. The meeting was convened by the excellent Matthias Morys of the University of York; Matthias is editing a book on this theme for Routledge.

Analysis and Commentary

Spying On The Economy Under Communism (Page 15)

by Mark Harrisonvia University of Warwick
Monday, April 25, 2016

Conventionally, market regulators are there to enforce competition, transparency, and fairness. Mark Harrison’s research exposes the role of a hitherto hidden regulator of the Soviet command economy, the secret police, responsible for secrecy, labor market discrimination, and the party’s monopoly of power.

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Comrade Frumkin’s Prophecy

by Mark Harrisonvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 18, 2016

Among the millions of ordinary people who ran afoul of the Soviet police state, one predicted its doom. Astoundingly enough, he survived.