Not available in 2023/24
EH404      Half Unit
India and the World Economy

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Tirthankar Roy SAR 616


This course is available on the CEMS Exchange, MA in Asian and International History (LSE and NUS), MA in Modern History, MBA Exchange, MSc in Economic History, MSc in Economic History (Research), MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation, MSc in Financial History, MSc in Global Economic History (Erasmus Mundus), MSc in International and Asian History, MSc in International and World History (LSE & Columbia) 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.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access).  In previous years we have been able to provide places for all students that apply, but that may not continue to be the case.

Course content

From the eighteenth century, the South Asia region played an important part in international transactions in goods, people, and money. The world economy, in turn, shaped potentials for economic growth in the region. The aim of the course is to impart an understanding of the global factors that shaped economic change in the South Asia region in the 18th through the early-20th century. It will also deal with the principal ways in which South Asia contributed to economic change in the rest of the world. The political context of globalization, especially imperialism and colonial policies, will be considered. The course will be divided into a set of topics, which together cover a large ground, but a selection from which will be discussed in the class. Lectures and seminars will centre on the readings assigned to each topic.

Topics to be covered: Introductory: India and the world economy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries - how each shaped the other; textiles in eighteenth century India: scale - organization - impact on global consumption and innovation - trade and territorial politics; nineteenth century market integration: de-industrialization and the artisans; nineteenth century market integration: Agricultural exports, land rights, and the peasantry - Trade and famines; Government finance in colonial setting: The drain controversy - public debt; overseas migration in the nineteenth century: Who went where, how many, and why - private gains and losses - social effects: slavery and indenture, women, nature of work and skill-formation - labour and non-labour migrants compared; foreign capital and industrialization; balance of payments and the monetary system; overview: Globalization and economic growth.


10 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars in the WT.

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

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

Formative coursework

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

Indicative reading

  • G. Balachandran, ed., India and the World Economy 1850-1950 (2003);
  • C. Bates and M. Carter, ‘Sirdars as Intermediaries in Nineteenth-century Indian Ocean Indentured Labour Migration,’ Modern Asian Studies (2017);
  • L. Chaudhary, B. Gupta, T. Roy and A. Swamy, eds, A New Economic History of Colonial India (2015);
  • D. Haynes, Small Town Capitalism in Western India: Artisans, Merchants and the Making of the Informal Economy 1870-1960 (2012);
  • P. Marshall, ed., The Eighteenth Century in Indian History ( 2004);
  • T. Roy, A Business History of India: Enterprise and the Emergence of Capitalism 1700-2015 (2018).


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2022/23: 12

Average class size 2022/23: 15

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

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