EH429      Half Unit
History of Economics: Ideas, Policy and Performativity

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Mary Morgan CMK.C222


This course is available on the MA Global Studies: A European Perspective, MSc in Economic History, MSc in Economic History (Research), MSc in Economics and Philosophy, MSc in Global History, MSc in International and World History (LSE & Columbia) and MSc in Philosophy of the Social Sciences. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Students can take this course independently of EH428.

Course content

The course aim is to understand the ambitions that economists have had to change the world, from centuries ago when economic policy was driven by moral imperatives to the twentieth century when economics was driven by an engineering ethos. The course will bring to together the long tradition of analysis of economics as a policy science with more recent ideas about the performativity of economics. It will draw on the literatures of economic history, history of economics and sociology of accounting and finance to explore the aims and methods used in economics to influence the economy. The focus of study will be on particular episodes from history which evidence the changing role of economics as an art intended for state, individual, or market action.


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

20 hours over LT, mainly 2hour seminars with an occasional lecture within that time slot. (Those students without previous study in the history of economics may wish also attend the lectures for EC311.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce two pieces of written work during the term.

Indicative reading

Reading lists will be given out at the beginning of the course. Henry Spiegel's The Growth of Economic Thought (various editions, Duke University Press) provides a general background text.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2012/13: 17

Average class size 2012/13: 16

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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