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World Economy

Module Code: EC4020

Module Title: World Economy

  • ECTS Weighting: 15
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas + Hilary Term
  • Contact Hours: 40 hours of lectures and 10 hours of tutorials
  • Module Personnel: Lecturers - Professor Ronan Lyons (MT) / Professor Gabriel Fagan (HT)

Module Learning Aims

Part A, History of the World Economy, 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 purpose of Part B, Contemporary Topics in the World Economy, 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. It takes an historical view focusing on the dynamics after World War II. At the end of the course, the student is expected to have a critical and analytical perspective on these topics.

Module Content

Part A. History of the World Economy
The first term 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

Part B. Contemporary Topics in the World Economy
The second term will include the following topics:

  1. From the Golden Age of Capitalism to Secular Stagnation
  2. Financial Globalization
  3. Global financial crisis
  4. Trade and Growth
  5. The Development Debate
  6. Inequality and Poverty
  7. Migration
  8. Climate change
  9. Euro Crisis

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Outline the development of the world economy to the mid-20th century
  • 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 over the last 70 years
  • Develop a critical and analytical perspective on the issues of a global economy

Recommended Reading List

Part A: Detailed readings will be given in lectures and through Blackboard. In addition to a wide range of journal articles that students will be expected to read, there are two core books. The first is Findlay and O'Rourke, Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Princeton University Press, 2007), which is the closest thing to a textbook for this module. The second is O'Rourke and Williamson, Globalization and History: The Evolution of a 19 Century Atlantic Economy (MIT Press, 1999), which is of particular relevance for Topics C and D in Michaelmas Term.

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 Hilary Term.

Module Pre Requisite

EC2010 (old module); EC2110 & EC2111 (new modules)

Assessment Details

Part A:

  • Review essay, due in first half of Michaelmas Term (20%)
  • Research proposal, due in second half of Michaelmas Term (20%)
  • Final examination (10%)

Part B:

  • Research proposal (15%)
  • Final examination (35%)

Module Website