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

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Federico D'Onofrio


This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Accounting, MSc in Economic History, MSc in Economic History (Research), MSc in Economics and Philosophy, MSc in Global Economic History (Erasmus Mundus), 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 how economics has been used to change the world.  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 20th century history in which economics features as a technical art (e.g. the transition from colonial to  independent economies; the Soviet and Cuban revolutions; and the reconstruction of depressed and damaged economies).


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.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

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.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2017/18: 15

Average class size 2017/18: 13

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

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