Not available in 2015/16
EH447      Half Unit
Great Depressions in Economic History

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Albrecht Ritschl SAR 606


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) and MSc in Global History. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


Knowledge of economics at the level of second-year undergraduate macroeconomics is recommended.

Course content

Fundamental stylised facts on the post-1929 depression. The monetarist paradigm and its offshoots. The financial accelerator view. The role of the Gold Standard: a view from Europe. Labour market/supply side interpretations. A revival of the Keynesian position? Other recessions compared: 1920, 1947.

The aim of this course is to:

(i) introduce students to the history of the Great Depression of the 1930s, with comparisons to other deep recessions in economic history;

(ii) provide students with a basic knowledge of the main theoretical interpretations and their relative merits

(iii) give students a preview of the analytical techniques used in interpreting the historical evidence.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

10 x two-hour seminars in MT.

Formative coursework

Reading assignments will be discussed in class and one 3,000 word marked assignment will be set in the MT.

Indicative reading

Bernanke, Ben (2000), Essays on the Great Depression, Princeton: Princeton University Press; Eichengreen, Barry (1992), Golden Fetters. The Gold Standard and the Great Depression 1919-1939, Oxford: Oxford University Press; Kehoe, Timothy J. and Edward C. Prescott, eds. (2007), Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century, Minneapolis: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis; Kindleberger, Charles P. (1973), The World in Depression, 1929-1939, Berkeley: University of California Press; Temin, P. (1989), Lessons from the Great Depression, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.


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

Teachers' comment

This course was not taught last year.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information