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School of Social Sciences

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BAEcon Economics
Learn how the social sciences can help you to understand today's world.

BAEcon Economics / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Economic History

Unit code ECON10212
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


 See course Blackboard pages.


The unit aims to:

  1. Provide an introduction to key developments in the history of economics.
  2. Provide insights into how economic analysis can explain or help to understand important historic events.
  3. Examine how economies have operated and functioned in the past, and consider the value of economic history today.


Learning outcomes

At the end of the course unit, it is expect that students will be able to:

  1. Explain, discuss and analyse important economic developments in the past.
  2. Understand the main economic mechanisms and interactions which took place during these events.
  3. Understand economic behaviour within a broader context.



Indicative overview of the syllabus/topics:


Introduction (1 lecture)

  • Early economic texts
  • Development of markets and barter versus monetary economies


History and Economics  (2 lectures)

  • Classical systems of thought: Adam Smith, J.S. Mill, and Marx
  • Linking economic thought, economic history and economic analysis: [various egs possible eg mercantilism & free trade, class interest & marginalism]


The Industrial Revolution (2 lectures)

  • The causes debate: why then, why Britain. Role of the demographic transition, long run productivity growth, and lessons for today
  • Key innovations: how they happened, the role of patents, trade and skills. Changes in system of innovation over time.


History of Economic Depressions and Recessions (2 lectures)

  • The Great Depression, and its precursors
  • Post war period: “les trente glorieuses”, the Keynes vs monetarism debates of the 1970s and 80s, the Great Moderation


Economics in Historical Context (2 lectures)

  • The interactions between events and economic analysis: an example in the treatment of environmental and resource problems from 18th century through to its emergence as a modern discipline responding to environmental pressures
  • Lessons of history for economic development

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and tutorial classes.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students will develop skills in applying basic economic analysis in a variety of contexts. Students will develop expertise in evaluating the experience of a diverse range of economies in a rigorous manner. These skills will help prepare students for a range of careers requiring a knowledge of economic analysis and historical change.
Oral communication
Students will develop presentation and interpersonal skills through participation in tutorial sessions.
Students will develop their ability to read economic literature; process and critically evaluate different sources of information; and develop a sustained and coherent written argument.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

  • Group presentation: feedback will be provided on structure as well as content.
  • Tutorial feedback.
  • Office hours.
  • Lecture session on essay writing advice.

Recommended reading

  • Roger Backhouse, The Penguin History of Economics, Penguin, 2002.
  • David Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, Abacus, 1999.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 16
Tutorials 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 79

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Christopher Godden Unit coordinator
Edward Manderson Unit coordinator
Diane Coyle Unit coordinator
Matthew McCaffrey Unit coordinator

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