The world economy from the industrial revolution to the present

This course surveys the development and integration of the world economy from the Industrial Revolution to the present day. It focuses on the major processes that have determined economic growth: technological change, demographic transitions, trade and finance, and institutional development. It also explores the unique paths of development for different regions of the world. 

The objectives of this course are:

  • Familiarize students with fundamental economic concepts in historical contexts
  • To explore how the world economy has developed since the Industrial Revolution
  • Study fundamental changes in trade, finance, economic organization and policy
  • Explore the processes of globalization and its effects on economic growth and inequality

At the end of this course, having completed all essential readings and activities, students should be able to articulate nuanced and evidenced arguments about:

  • How economic growth can be shaped by markets, states and geography
  • How the process of globalization has unfolded
  • How some countries managed to ‘catch-up’, and in some cases, overtake, leading economies
  • What role technological change has played in the development of economies
  • How the organization of economies can has changed over time
  • Why inequality persists, both between and within countries
  • Why some economic polices been more successful than others
  • How financial crises emerge, spread and recede

By the end of the course students should have acquired the following skills:

  • The ability to read, summarize and synthesize information about economic development
  • The ability to articulate arguments based on this information
  • Employ fundamental economic theory to explain specific economic events and processes
  • The ability to identify and select appropriate evidence for substantiating economic

This course will be based on an array of academic articles and chapters in the reading list. Some suggestions for background reading are:

  • Stephen Broadberry and Kevin O’Rourke (eds), The Cambridge Economic History of Modern
    Europe. Volume 2: 1870 to the present. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)
  • Stephen Broadberry and Kyoji Fukao, The Cambridge Economic History of the Modern World.
    Volume 2: 1870 to the present. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021)
  • Barry Eichengreen. Globalising Capital: A History of the International Monetary System.
    (Princeton University Press, 2019)

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