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EC104: The World Economy: History & Theory

30 CATS - Department of Economics

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. The long-term changes in world income and population are quantified, the forces that explain the success of leaders are identified and the obstacles that hindered economic advance in lagging regions are explored. The interaction between rich countries and the rest is scrutinised to assess the degree to which backwardness may have been due to domestic issues or foreign policy. Students will complete the module with a strong understanding of the historiography and a broad knowledge of how the world economy has evolved.

Principal Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, the student should be able to: • Have acquired a broad understanding of the evolution of the world economy during the last millennium and specialist knowledge some areas of this that the student finds particularly interesting.

• Understand how to apply key macroeconomic theories on growth, trade, and business cycles in a historical context.


The module will discuss a selection of topics. The following list is indicative. • Introduction and Pre-Modern Growth • Trade and empire before the Industrial Revolution • The Industrial Revolution • Industrialization and Living Standards • The Second Industrial Revolution and the Rise of the United States • Globalisation and Colonization • The Interwar Period • Postwar Recovery and Decolonization: 1945-1979 • Economic Reform: 1979-2001 • The Contemporary World Economy: 2001-present


Pre or Co-requisites
A-level Maths or A-level Economics
This module is restricted to L100, L116, LM1D/LLD2 and V7ML students.
Part-year Availability for Visiting Students
Available in the Autumn term only (1 Assignment 12 CATS) and in the Spring term only (1 Assignment 12 CATS) and in the Autumn and Spring terms 2 Assignments 24 CATS)


Assessment Method
Coursework (50%) + 2 hour exam (50%)
Coursework Details
Two assignments: Assignment 1 (20%), Assignment 2 (20%), seminar participation (10%)
Exam Timing

Exam Rubric

Time Allowed: 2 Hours

Answer TWO questions from Section A (25 marks each) and TWO questions from Section B (25 marks each). Answer Section A questions in one booklet and Section B questions in a separate booklet.

Approved pocket calculators are allowed.

Read carefully the instructions on the answer book provided and make sure that the particulars required are entered on each answer book. If you answer more questions than are required and do not indicate which answers should be ignored, we will mark the requisite number of answers in the order in which they appear in the answer book(s): answers beyond that number will not be considered.

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