EH401      Half Unit
Historical Analysis of Economic Change

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Mohamed Saleh SAR 512 and Dr Anne Ruderman SAR 506


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Economic History, MSc in Economic History (Research), MSc in Global Economic History (Erasmus Mundus) and MSc in Political Economy of Late Development. 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. Specific topics evolve to reflect recent research trends, but include a range of issues such as processes of economic development; culture and economic behaviour; the role of institutions; and welfare outcomes.  The course approaches these topics by considering problems of knowledge and explanation in economic history, and introduces quantitative and qualitative approaches to obtaining, 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 AT.

This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 20 hours across Autumn Term. 

This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Autumn Term.

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); Leah Boustan, Philip Ager and Katherine Eriksson "The Intergeneration Effects of a Large Wealth Shock: White Southerners after the Civil War", American Economic Review, 2021; Claudia Goldiin, "A Grand Gender Convergence: Its Last Chapter", American Economic Review, 104, no.4 (2014): 1091-1119.


Take-home assessment (100%) in the WT.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2022/23: 112

Average class size 2022/23: 16

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills