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History of Economic Thought and Ideology

Module Code: EC416B

Module Title: History of Economic Thought and Ideology

  • ECTS Weighting: 10
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas Term
  • Contact Hours: 22 hours of lectures and approximately 4 hours of seminars.
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Professor Marvin Suesse

Module Content

This part of the module addresses the history of economic thought. This is done in two sections. The first section traces the elaboration of basic economic principles by Classical, Socialist, and Neoclassical thinkers. The second section splits up 20th century economic thought into its constituent disciplines.

Topics discussed during Michaelmas Term include:

  • Classical Economics;
  • Marxist Economics;
  • Utilitarianism and the Marginal Revolution;
  • The Neoclassical Synthesis;
  • 20th century thinking on:
    • Economic Dynamics;
    • Economic Behaviour of Firms and Individuals;
    • Money, Banking and Finance;
    • Factor Markets;
    • Inequality and the State;
    • Development and Growth


Module Learning Aims

This module aims to:

  • provide students with an understanding of the fundamental ideas on which modern economic theory and methodology are based;
  • provide insight into the historical and ideological context in which different economic systems and policies arose;
  • provide students interested in interdisciplinary work with a bridge between subjects as diverse as economics, political science, sociology, history, and philosophy;
  • provide students with the skills to write and argue coherently and persuasively; and
  • provide students with the intellectual foundations on which an undergraduate dissertation can be written.

Module Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this part of the module, students will be able to:

  • identify the basic philosophical principles on which contemporary economics rests;
  • trace the evolution of economics and its constituent fields from the Classical thinkers to neoclassical thought and its modern challengers;
  • evaluate the historical context in which economic ideas arose;

Recommended Reading List

Michaelmas Term:
The following two books provide a guide to some (though not all) of the material covered. They can be consulted as reference works: Ernesto Screpanti, Stefano Zamagni, and David Field, An Outline of the History of Economic Thought, 2005, OUP Oxford
Steven G Medema and Warren J. Samuels (eds.) The History of Economic Thought, A Reader; Second Edition, (2013), Taylor and Francis

Module Pre Requisite

This course is open to a multi-disciplinary audience. However, students should have completed one module in intermediate Economics (equivalent to EC2010) successfully. Exceptions to this rule are to be discussed with the Lecturer.

Assessment Details

Single-term students will hand in one written essay based on their reading of the literature for this term, accounting for 100% of the overall grade.

Module Website

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