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

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Mary Morgan SAR 609


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), MSc in Philosophy of the Social Sciences 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.

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 od seminars/lectures in the Lent Term.  

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

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to write two essays or equivalent pieces of written work.

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%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2018/19: 12

Average class size 2018/19: 12

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