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World Economy

Module Code: EC4020

Module Title: World Economy

  • ECTS Weighting: 15
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas + Hilary Term
  • Contact Hours: 44 hours of lectures and 20 hours of tutorials
  • Module Personnel: Professor Ronan Lyons (MT) / Professor Fadi Hassan (HT)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Outline the development of the world economy to the early 1900s
  • Explain the causes and consequences of flows of goods and factors, and of political economy and trade policy in the 19th Century world economy
  • Engage with the debate about the big topics that currently characterize the world economy
  • Develop a critical and analytical perspective on the issues of a global economy

Module Content

Module 1. History of the World Economy
Part A will focus on the history of the world economy. The aim is to look at the global economy as whole and how it developed from pre-industrial times to the early 1900s. The world economy, particularly the period leading up to World War I, provides a rich environment in which to examine economic questions such as the link between politics, technology and globalization. The course also examines the impact of the flows of goods, capital and labour associated with globalization, themes of interest to this day. It concludes by looking at the deglobalization experienced in the Interwar years and the concurrent Great Depression.
The first module comprises five two-week topics:

  1. Mongols & Plagues: The world economy before Magellan
  2. Slaves & Sugar: The world of empire and Industrial Revolution
  3. Migration & Steamships: Nineteenth century globalization
  4. Backlash & War: The lead-up to the Great War
  5. Deflation & Depression: The interwar world economy

Module 2. Contemporary Topics in the World Economy
The purpose of Part B is to provide a background to engage with the big topics that characterize the world economy. It covers issues like financial globalization, trade, development strategies, inequality, migration, and climate change. We are going to take an historical view focusing on the dynamics after War World II. At the end of the course the student is expected to have a critical and analytical perspective on these topics.

Recommended Reading List

Part A: Detailed readings will be given in lectures and through Blackboard. Core texts will be O'Rourke and Williamson, Globalization and History: The Evolution of a 19 Century Atlantic Economy (MIT Press, 1999); and Findlay and O'Rourke, Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Princeton University Press, 2007).

Part B: There is no specific textbook for this part. A detailed list of journal articles and a few chapters from books will be provided at the beginning of the course.

Module Pre Requisite


Assessment Details

Part A: 10-page research proposal, identifying an original research topic, based on the student's readings (15%)
Part B: 10-page research proposal, identifying an original research topic, based on the student's readings (15%)
Parts A & B: Final examination (70%)

Module Website