Historical Economic Geography: Cities, Markets and Regions in the 19th and 20th Centuries

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Juan Roses Vendoiro SAR 5.15 and Prof Max-Stephan Schulze SAR 6.14


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Economic History and Geography. This course is available on the BSc in Economic History, BSc in Economic History with Economics, BSc in Economics and Economic History and BSc in Economics with Economic History. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

The course explores how and why the location of economic activities changes across time and space from industrialization up to the present. One goal for this course is to demonstrate the importance of history in the formation of the present-day economic landscape. An equally important goal is to demonstrate the applicability of the study of economic geography to the understanding of historical patterns of development and underdevelopment. The course is not organized chronologically but thematically. Particular attention focuses on four major issues: the development of cities, the creation of national markets, the historical basis for manufacturing agglomeration, and the historical evolution and sources of regional inequality.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 40 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual classes, online lectures and (when and where possible) small group ‘in-person’ seminars.

The course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term and Lent Term.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to write one formative essay, or similar piece of work, and make one formative presentation that will not be used in the final assessment.

Indicative reading

Combes, Pierre-Philippe, Thierry Mayer and Jacques-François Thisse, Economic Geography: The Integration of Regions and Nations. Princeton University Press, 2008. Davis, David R. and Donald E. Weinstein, 2002. “Bones, Bombs, and Break Points: The Geography of Economic Activity,” American Economic Review, vol. 92 (5), pp. 1269-1289. Garretsen, Harry and Martin, Ron (2010), Rethinking (New) Economic Geography Models: Taking Geography and History More Seriously, Spatial Economic Analysis, 5, 2, pp. 127-160. Kim, Sukkoo and Margo, Robert A., 2004. "Historical perspectives on U.S. economic geography," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 66, pages 2981-3019 Elsevier. Joan Ramón Rosés and Nikolaus Wolf (eds), The Economic Development of Europe's Regions: A Quantitative History since 1900, Routledge, 2018.Schulze, M-S., and N. Wolf, 2012. “Economic Nationalism and Economic Integration: the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the late 19th Century”, Economic History Review, vol. 62 (2), pp. 652-673.


Essay (40%, 3000 words) in the LT.
Essay (40%, 3000 words) in the ST.
Presentation (20%) in the MT and LT.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2019/20: 19

Average class size 2019/20: 18

Capped 2019/20: Yes (15)

Value: One 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