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EC104: The World Economy: History & Theory

  • Claudia Rei

    Module Leader
  • James Fenske

    Module Lecturer
30 CATS - Department of Economics
Summer Module
Spring Module
Autumn Module

Principal Aims

This module explains how the world economy got to be where it is today, focusing on the success and failure of several key countries and regions, measured by the long-term changes in income and population. Students will complete the module with a strong understanding of the evolution of the world economy as well as the use of theory and empirical analysis in economics research, while developing analytical and writing skills.

Principal Learning Outcomes

Subject Knowledge and Understanding:...demonstrate a familiarity with knowledge and basic understanding of: (i) the evolution of the world economy during the last millennium and specialist knowledge some areas of this that the student finds particularly interesting. (ii) Economic information: Knowledge of specific economic trends and patterns; understanding of particular problems and solutions in economic measurement. (iii) Research issues: Familiarity with contemporary empirical debates and latest research in some areas of economics. Understanding of how to approach an economic problem from the perspective of a contemporary researcher in economics.


The module will discuss a selection of topics. The following list is indicative.

• Introduction and Pre-Modern Growth: pre-1500

• Early Modern Period: 1500-1750

• The Industrial Revolution: 1750-1850

• Industrialization and Living Standards: 1750-1850

• The Second Industrial Revolution and the Rise of the United States: 1850-1900

• Globalisation and Colonization: 1870-1914

• The Interwar Period:1914-1945

• Postwar Recovery and Decolonization: 1945-1979

• Economic Reform: 1979-2001

• The Contemporary World Economy: 2001-present


Core Module
L100 - Year 1
Optional Module
V7ML - Year 1, LM1D (LLD2) - Year 1, L116 - Year 1
Pre or Co-requisites
A-level Maths or A-level Economics


Assessment Method
Coursework (50%) + Online Examination (50%)
Coursework Details
Assessment 1 (1200 words) (20%) , Assessment 2 (1200 words) (20%) , Online Examination (50%) , Seminar Participation (10%)
Exam Timing

Exam Rubric

Time: 24 hours (from the scheduled start of the exam)

Read all instructions carefully – and read through the entire paper at least once before you start writing.

There is ONE Section in this paper. Answer ONE question from a choice of three.

Word limit 1000-1500 words.

Approved pocket calculators are allowed.

You should not submit answers to more than the required number of questions. If you do, we will mark the questions in the order that they appear, up to the required number of questions in each section.

Previous exam papers can be found in the University’s past papers archive. Please note that previous exam papers may not have operated under the same exam rubric or assessment weightings as those for the current academic year. The content of past papers may also be different.

Reading Lists