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D’Maris Coffman is the Mary Bateson Research Fellow at Newnham College of the University of Cambridge. An American, she grew up in Moab, Utah at the tail end of the Uranium boom and in Denver, Colorado amidst the 1980s Oil Glut and the Savings & Loan crisis. She did her undergraduate training in managerial and financial economics at The Wharton School and her MA and Ph.D. in History at the University of Pennsylvania. Her first monograph, Excise Taxation and the Origins of British Public Finance, will be forthcoming in 2012. Her second project, Bubbles, Manias and Market Failures from Tulips to Subprime, examines the historical evolution of the rhetorical strategies used to narrate asset-price bubbles. Most of her current research focuses on the role of state finance in the development of capital markets in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe. Her interest in the English Corn Returns arose out of her attempts to understand how far the capitalization of costs associated with high levels of excise taxation of the brewing industry (which consumed up to half of the agricultural produce of the kingdom) contributed a macroeconomic stimulus to the eighteenth-century British economy.

Between her undergraduate and graduate educations, she spent six years in private industry during the Dotcom era, chiefly in IT. She has taught European History and World Civilizations at Franklin College (Switzerland) and British economic and social history, economic thought and the development of financial capitalism at both Cambridge and Penn. At Newnham, she directs the Centre for Financial History, which was founded in June 2009 with a generous grant of seed money from Winton Capital Management, and co-manages (with Dr Anne Murphy of the University of Hertfordshire) the European State Finance Database.

Featuring this expert

Bringing History to Economics

Video | Oct 17, 2013

This episode features grantee D’Maris Coffman of the Centre for Financial History talking about her organization’s commitment to a New Financial History and what the fruits of their approach can tell us about modern debt crises and sustainable debt levels.

The Corn Laws: Seeing through the Eyes of Ricardo and Malthus

Video | Oct 15, 2012

The British Corn Returns data provided the empirical basis for the fierce debate around the introduction and repeal of the 19th century British Corn Laws. Contemporary readers, like David Ricardo and Thomas Malthus, followed them as closely as stock market prices of today. Much of 19th century political economy rested on contemporaries’ interpretations of this data.