Erik Olssen is Emeritus Professor at the Department of History, University of Otago. His research interests focus on the relationships between politics, society, ideas, culture, and economics.
He was elected an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
An Accidental Utopia? Social Mobility and the Foundations of an Egalitarian Society in Southern Dunedin, 1880–1940, with Clyde Griffen and Frank Jones (University of Otago Press, 2011)
An Accidental Experiment? The Social Bases of an Egalitarian Society (Hocken Library, University of Otago, 2008)
Class and Occupation: The New Zealand Reality, with Maureen Hickey (University of Otago Press, 2005)
Class, Gender and the Vote: Historical Perspectives from New Zealand, edited with Miles Fairburn (University of Otago Press, 2005)
Building the New World: Work, Politics and Society in Caversham 1880s–1920s (Auckland University Press, 1995)
The People and the Land/ Te Tangata me te Whenua: An Illustrated History of New Zealand, 1820–1920, with Judith Binney and Judith Bassett (Bridget Williams Books, 1990)
A Century of Change: New Zealand, 1800–1900, with Marcia Stenson (Longman Paul, 1989)
The Red Feds: Revolutionary Industrial Unionism and the New Zealand Federation of Labour 1908–14 (Oxford University Press, 1988)
John A. Lee (University of Otago Press, 1977)