Simon Ville - Staff Profile PhotoProfessor Simon Ville

BA (Hons) in History (University College London), PhD in Economic History (University College London, 4th in QS ranking 2013)

Publications: Simon Ville Research Profile
Resume/CV: Simon Ville Brief CV


Simon Ville is Professor of Economic and Business History, School of Humanities and Social Inquiry in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and Arts. Since joining the University of Wollongong in 2001 he has variously served terms as Head of School of Humanities and Social Inquiry in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, Head of School of Economics, Associate-Dean Research, and Acting Dean in the Faculty of Business.

He previously worked at the Australian National University, and the universities of Auckland and Manchester, with visiting positions at Harvard Business School, University College London, London School of Economics, the Universities of Glasgow and Melbourne, and the Australian National University.

Research interests

Simon’s main research areas are Australian and international economic and business history, comparative economic development, and international business. He has written widely on big business, industry associations, innovation, social capital, the Vietnam War, and the rural and resource industries for major publishers such as Cambridge, Oxford and Melbourne University Presses and leading international journals including American Economic Review, Industrial and Corporate Change and Journal of Management Studies. He collaborates with scholars from USA, Norway, Britain, and Japan and is currently editing the Cambridge Economic History of Australia to be published in 2014.

Current research projects

A History of the Global Wool Trade, with Professor D. Merrett University of Melbourne

Business performance, public policy and the drivers of structural change, with Professor D. Merrett University of Melbourne. ARC Discovery project. And an international collaboration with Prof Y Cassis of Montpelier and LSE.

Industry associations: Rent-seeking or marketing strengthening, with Professor D. Merrett University of Melbourne. ARC Discovery Project.

Cambridge Economic History of Australia. Editing this pioneering work, with Professor Glenn Withers and a team of distinguished contributors from Australia and overseas.

Social capital

  • Impact of social capital on retention rates of female immigrants. with Prof S. Dolnicar and Office of Women’s policy, NSW Government, ARC Linkage grant;
  • Role of social capital in disaster management, an international collaboration with Prof Y. Ueda, Senshu University.

Institutions and national innovation systems in resource-based economies: a comparison of Australia and Norway. An international collaboration: Prof O. Wicken, University of Oslo, Professor V. Pinilla, University of Zaragoza

The Long Term Causal Effects of Vietnam War Era Conscription on the Economic and Social Outcomes of Australian Conscripts, with Dr Peter Siminski and Dept of Veteran Affairs. ARC linkage. And an international collaboration with Prof J. Angrist, MIT, USA.

Business Groups in the West: The Evolutionary Dynamics of Diversified Big Busines. An international collaboration with Professors Asli M. Colpan and Takashi Hikino, Kyoto University.

Selected/recent publications

Searchable RIS publications from 2000 to date

Authored Books

2004 - Grant Fleming, David Merrett and Simon Ville, The Big End of Town: Big Business and Corporate Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia, (Cambridge University Press, 2004). pp. 310. Published in paperback in 2006.

2002 - Gordon Boyce and Simon Ville, The Development of Modern Business. (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2002). Pp. 376. Hardback and softback. Translated into Chinese 2004, Greek 2004). Author website at: 

2000 - Simon Ville, The Rural Entrepreneurs: A History of the Stock and Station Agent Industry in Australia and New Zealand, (Cambridge University Press, 2000). pp. 259. Published in paperback in 2010, Winner of Bruce McComish Prize in Economic History for best publication on the Economic history of Australia and New Zealand, 2000-2.

Edited Books

2014 - Simon Ville and Glenn Withers, Cambridge Economic History of Australia (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press).

Book chapters

2015 - Simon Ville, ‘Business Groups in Australia’ in A. Colpan and Takashi Hikino eds Business Groups in the West (Oxford University Press).

2014 - Simon Ville, ‘Colonial Enterprise’ in S. Ville and G. Withers eds The Cambridge Economic History of Australia (Cambridge University Press).

2013 - Simon Ville, ‘The Australian Economy’, in S. Macintyre and A. Bashford eds The Cambridge History of Australia Volume 2: The Commonwealth of Australia (Cambridge University Press): 377-402.

Referred articles

2013 - Simon Ville and Olav Wicken, ‘The Dynamics of Resource-Based Economic Development: Evidence from Australia and Norway’. Industrial and Corporate Change 22, 5: 1341-71.

2013 - David Merrett and Simon Ville, ‘Institution Building and Variation in the formation of the Australian Wool Market’. Australian Economic History Review 53, 2: 146-66.

2012 - Peter Siminski and Simon Ville, ‘I Was Only Nineteen, 45 Years Ago: What Can we Learn from Australia’s Conscription Lotteries? Economic Record 88, 282: 351-71.

2011 - Peter Siminski and Simon Ville, ‘Are Post-Service Mortality Rates Elevated Amongst Vietnam Veterans? Evidence from Australia’s Conscription Lotteries’, American Economic Review Papers & Proceedings 101, 3: 345-9.

2010 - James Reveley and Simon Ville, ‘Enhancing Industry Association Theory: A Comparative Business History Contribution’ Journal of Management Studies 47, 5: 837-58.

Potential topics for HDR & Honours Supervision

  • The formative ideas and key thinkers in the discipline of economic history in Australia
  • Innovation and growth in primary industries
  • Intersectoral linkages and the role of wool in economic development
  • The economic and social consequences of the Vietnam War
  • Industry associations and business groups
  • Business enterprise and capitalism in colonial Australia
  • Histories of major firms and sectors in twentieth-century Australia

Recent awards and fellowships

Harvard Business School, Alfred D. Chandler International Fellow in Business History (2012)

Australian National University, Research Associate, Centre for Economic History (2012-)

University of Melbourne, Academic Visitor in Management (1998-9, 2004)

London School of Economics, Academic Visitor in Economic History (1995, 1998)

University College London, Research Fellow in Economic History (1994-5)

University of Glasgow, Research Fellow in Business History (1994)

2009  Best article in Enterprise and Society

2007  Professional Services Award, University of Wollongong

2006  Elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia

2003  McComish International Book Prize in Economic History

Keynote invitations:

2014  ‘Divergence and Convergence: the Contested Terrain of Long Run Economic Development in Asia and Europe’ (University lecture, Kyoto University).

2010  ‘History Matters’ (Keynote speaker, Doctoral Symposium in Accounting & Finance, University of Wollongong).

2010  ‘How social capital can be used to support a disaster management and recovery strategy? The experience of Australia’s Cyclone Larry’ (Invited keynote speaker, Senshu University, Tokyo).

Professional membership

  • Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (fellow);
  • Member of the College of Experts at the Australian Research Council.
  • Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand (former President);
  • Association of Business Historians (GB);
  • Australian and New Zealand International Business Academy;
  • European Business History Association;
  • Australian Historical Association;
  • Business History Conference (USA);
  • Economic History Association (USA);
  • Economic History Society (GB);
  • Economics Society (Australia); International Maritime Economic History Association.

Competitive research funding

2010-12  ARC Discovery grant, ‘Reassessing the role of industry associations through an examination of Australian and New Zealand wool marketing, 1890-1960’. With Prof D. Merrett, University of Melbourne.

2010-11  ARC Linkage grant, ‘The long term causal effects of Vietnam War era conscription on economic and social outcomes for Australian conscripts’. With Dr P. Siminski, University of Wollongong. Partner: Federal Department of Veteran Affairs.

2007-10  ARC Linkage grant, ‘The role of community connectedness in retaining skilled migrant women in Australia’. With Prof S. Dolnicar, University of Wollongong. Partner: NSW Office of Women’s Policy.

2007  ARC Linkage Learned Academies Special Projects grant, ‘Creativity and Innovation: Social Science Perspectives and Policy Implications’. With Profs Leon Mann, Janet Chan, Joshua Gans, Mark Dodgson, Jane Marceaux, Jonathan West, Jonathan Sweller, Andrew Christie

2005-06  ARC Discovery Project grant, ‘Business Profitability and Long Term Industrial Change in Twentieth-Century Australia’. With Prof D. Merrett, University of Melbourne.

Last reviewed: 14 June, 2016