ECON42730 Global Economic History

Academic Year 2023/2024

Worldwide economic development and globalisation follow almost identical paths. The advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century was mirrored by a period of sustained globalisation, as the economic conditions in various nation states became inextricably linked. This link both weakened and strengthened over the course of the 20th century, typically mirroring economic fluctuations. Thus, the story of worldwide economic development in the 19th and 20th centuries is one of globalisation.
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, it may seem that continued globalisation is inevitable. However, history also offers clues to the challenges that globalisation may face in years to come. Indeed we may have reached a turning point in globalisation, with the COVID-19 and Russia-Ukraine crises putting strains on already weakening international relationships. This module introduces students to this story. The module follows a flexible chronological path, but always considers the lessons that globalisation in prior epochs has for contemporary economic conditions. It blends theories from both the trade and macroeconomics literatures to illustrate how key economic concepts underpin historical patterns in globalisation. Students will be exposed to material that stimulates further development of existing quantitative skills alongside a more qualitative approach of interdisciplinary critical reasoning.

Module Aims:
To introduce students to the history of the development of the global economy over the past 200 years.
To demonstrate to students how the history of globalisation can further our understanding of current globalisation and the paths that globalisation make take in the future.
To familiarise students with macroeconomic theory relevant to the study of historical and current globalisations.
To introduce students to the debates surrounding globalisation present in the economic history literature.
To encourage students to understand the importance of political economy in the determination of trade, currency and migration policies, past, present and future.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Knowledge and Understanding:
On completion of the course, students should have a clear picture of the chronology of globalisation over the past 200 years. They should also understand the ways in which globalisation has shaped economic development. Students should also be able to use their knowledge of historical globalisation to understand current issues in the world economy relating to trade, international capital flows, currency regimes and migration. They should also understand key scholarly output in this field, and be able to apply this understanding to critically evaluate competing arguments and new research theories.

This module also provides opportunities for the student to acquire or enhance the following skills:

Subject-specific Skills:

the ability to construct arguments and exercise problem solving skills in an economic history context;
the ability to draw parallels between historical and contemporary episodes of globalisation;
the ability to comprehend and evaluate academic literature in economic history;
the ability to understand, evaluate and commentate on historical and contemporary economic and social policy

Cognitive Skills:

Problem solving
Logical reasoning
Independent enquiry
Critical evaluation and interpretation
Self-assessment and reflection

Transferable Skills:

The ability to synthesise information/data from a variety of sources including from databases, books, journal articles and the internet
The ability to reason and evaluate and recommend on the basis of such reasoning
Organisation and time management
Problem solving and critical analysis
Work-based IT skills
Students will also develop their written communication skills. In particular the students will develop their ability to summarise and critique scholarly articles.

Indicative Module Content:

Module Overview:

1 Introduction
2 When did globalisation begin?
3 Trade integration up to the Great War
4 The age of mass migration
5 Financial Globalisation up to the Great War
6 De-globalisation and the Great Depression I
7 De-globalisation and the Great Depression II
8 Post-World War II and the Bretton Woods System
9 The Global Economy after Bretton Woods (time permitting)
10 The 2008 crisis and the Future of Globalisation (time permitting)

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module will use a number of teaching and learning approaches to reach the aims of the module. These include lecture based learning of content and independent study. The course will require a significant amount of reading and students are strongly encouraged to keep up with assigned readings. Assessment is designed to develop analytical and critical writing skills in particular. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: This assessment requires students to compose a ‘referee report’ (or critical summary) for one paper from an approved literature list provided by the module coordinator. Week 8 n/a Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No


Examination: Final exam. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Alternative linear conversion grade scale 40% No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.