History of Economics: How Theories Change

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Mary Morgan CMK.C222


This course is available on the BSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics, BSc in Economic History, BSc in Economic History with Economics, BSc in Economics, BSc in Economics and Economic History, BSc in Economics with Economic History, BSc in Government and Economics, BSc in Philosophy and Economics and BSc in Social Policy and Economics. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available to General Course students.

Course content

The course examines the ways in which economics has developed from the Mercantilists of the 17th century to the Neoclassical thinking of the later 20th century. The course will explore how the theories, concepts and methods of economics have changed over the last 250 years. We will use the original texts in order to understand how economists of the past approached perennial questions (about for example, the sources of growth or the role of money) and resolved them in the context of the scientific thinking and the economic conditions of their own time and place.


10 hours of lectures and 8 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of lectures and 3 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to discuss assigned texts and produce several pieces of written work.

Indicative reading

A reading list of original texts and secondary literature will be given at the beginning of the course. For an introduction, students may read R L Heilbroner's, The Worldly Philosophers; for general background, consult Roger E Backhouse's, The Penguin History of Economics or David Colander & Harry Landreth's, History of Economic Thought.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2012/13: 78

Average class size 2012/13: 16

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills