EH401      Half Unit
Historical Analysis of Economic Change

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Leigh Gardner SAR 507 and Dr Anne Ruderman SAR 506


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Economic History, MSc in Economic History (Research), MSc in Political Economy of Late Development and MSc in Quantitative Economic History. This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Economic History. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The course provides an overview of the central themes and key theoretical questions in economic history and examines the ways in which economic historians collect, analyse and interpret evidence.  The training is expected to inform dissertation work.  The specific topics evolve to reflect recent research trends, but an illustrative list includes: processes of economic development; culture and economic behaviour; the role of institutions; and welfare outcomes.  The course approaches these topics by considering probems of knowledge and explanation in economic history, and introduces quantitative and qualitative approaches to obraining, analysing, and interpreting evidence.  Lectures pair conceptual and theoretical reviews with historical case studies illustrating applied research on these topics.


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of seminars in the MT.

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

Formative coursework

Students are expected to write one essay or equivalent pieces of written work during the term.

Indicative reading

D. North, Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance (1990): A. Greif, Institutions and the Path to the Modern Economy (2006); K. Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy (2000); R. Allen, The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective (2009); D Rodrik (Ed), In Search of Prosperity (2003); E. Helpman, The Mystery of Economic Growth (2004); T Rawski (Ed), Economics and the Historian (1996); J. Tosh, The Pursuit of History (2nd Edition, 1991); D. Little, Varieties of Social Explanation (1991).


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

Teachers' comment

Survey questions on feedback to students may be non-informative because assessed work comes later in the term than the survey.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2018/19: 71

Average class size 2018/19: 14

Controlled access 2018/19: No

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