Not available in 2015/16
EH424      Half Unit
The British Economy in Global Perspective, 1000-2000

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Stephen Broadberry SAR 511


This course is available on the MA Global Studies: A European Perspective, MRes in Quantitative Economic History, MSc in Economic History, MSc in Economic History (Research), MSc in Global History and MSc in Political Economy of Late Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course aims to provide an overview of the growth and development of the British economy over the second millennium within an international comparative perspective. The material covered will draw on my research covering three main areas: (1) the long run growth of the British economy covering the medieval and early modern periods as well as the modern period, drawing upon a new set of historical national accounts, and placing British experience within an international comparative context. (2) Britain's place in the Great Divergence of productivity and living standards between Europe and Asia, focusing in particular on comparisons between Britain and India, but also drawing on the cases of China and Japan (3) Britain's productivity performance since the mid-nineteenth century in comparison with the United States, Germany and other countries, examining sectoral as well as aggregate performance.

1. Overview: Britain in the Global Economy, 1000-2000

2. English Economic Growth, 1270-1700: A Historical National Accounting Approach

3. British Economic Growth, 1700-1870

4. Britain and the Great Divergence: Wages and Prices

5. Britain and the Great Divergence: Cotton Textiles

6. Britain and the Great Divergence: Historical National Accounts

7. How did the United States and Germany overtake Britain?

8. Manufacturing and the Productivity Race

9. Services and the Productivity Race

10. Britain and Asia since 1870


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Two-hour meetings weekly in LT, with a flexible combination of lectures and seminars.

Formative coursework

Two pieces of written work are to be submitted for the course. The first is a short 1500 word essay, as detailed in an accompanying document. The second is a mock examination, written over the Easter vacation.

Indicative reading

A full reading list is available as an accompanying document. Selected illustrative readings are as follows:

Broadberry, S., Campbell, B., Klein, A., Overton, M. and van Leeuwen, B. (2010), British Economic Growth, 1270-1870,

Broadberry, S. and Gupta, B. (2009), Lancashire, India and Shifting Competitive Advantage in Cotton Textiles, 1700-1850: The Neglected Role of Factor Prices, Economic History Review, 62, 279-305.

Broadberry, S.N. (1997), The Productivity Race: British Manufacturing in International Perspective, 1850-1990, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


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

Teachers' comment

This course is a seminar-based course, so the survey question regarding lectures is not informative.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2014/15: 15

Average class size 2014/15: 15

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information