1255 Economic History
Kilian Rieder, DPhil
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
10/12/18 to 10/19/18
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
This class is only offered in winter semesters.
Subject(s) Master Programs
Day Date Time Room
Thursday 10/25/18 02:00 PM - 05:15 PM TC.5.14
Thursday 11/08/18 02:00 PM - 05:15 PM TC.5.14
Thursday 11/15/18 02:00 PM - 05:15 PM TC.5.14
Thursday 11/22/18 02:00 PM - 05:15 PM TC.5.14
Thursday 12/06/18 02:00 PM - 05:15 PM TC.5.14
Saturday 12/15/18 09:30 AM - 12:45 PM TC.3.01
Thursday 12/20/18 02:00 PM - 06:30 PM TC.3.01


Why should we study economic history? This course argues that economic history is relevant for economists, managers, and policy-makers for at least three reasons. First, events that happened in the past may harbor important lessons for the design of economic policy and thus the organization/allocation of resources in a firm, a country, a region or even on a global level (c.f. for example Sessions 2, 3, 6 and 7 below). Second, we often observe that events in the past have long-lasting persistent effects that continue to play a large role today: a solid understanding of the channels behind this persistence is thus crucial to understand our current world (c.f. for example Sessions 1, 4 and 5 below). Third, economic history provides a huge arsenal of events and policies that researchers in economics, business, and management can draw upon to test modern theory with regard to its empirical validity (this applies to some extent to all sessions below).

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will have gained an informed and critical view of the role and importance of economic history for their discipline and for their understanding of current world economic affairs/relations. Students will have been exposed to the major events and questions which shaped the world economy since 1800. Students will also have an understanding of the technicalities of and approaches to modern empirical research in economic history.

Attendance requirements

Continuous assessment courses (PI) are high-interactive courses. Students must attend at least 80% of all sessions. Should there be an important reason for a student's absence during a session of the course, a maximum of 20% of the entire course duration can be missed. For cumulative absences of more than 20%, the course must be repeated. A confirmation/justification (eg. a medical certificate) must be provided for the absence.

According to the examination regulations of the WU, important reasons are those which are outside the disposition of the student (illness, accident, death of a close relative). Professional obligations are not considered as an important reason within the meaning of the examination regulations, because they are in the disposition of the students.

Teaching/learning method(s)

This course will consist of four core elements. First, for each session there will be presentations by teams of students (groups of 3-4 students) and subsequent plenary discussions of the presentation questions/topics. Second, there will be a lecture component which briefly reviews the presentations' content and then introduces a larger topic, providing some background and an introduction into the relevant literature. Third, students will have to write three short summary notes of presentation topics. Fourth, students will have to write a final essay

For detailed information on final essay topics and presentation topics, as well as the summary notes and the readings, please refer to the course syllabus.

The assignment of presentations to groups of students and the choice of final essay topics is also explained in the course syllabus


  1. Presentation: 30%
  2. Summary notes: 20%
  3. Participation in class: 10%
  4. Final essay: 40%

Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

There are no formal requirements for attending this course. However, students should have some notion of undergraduate/introductory microecononmics and macroeconomics. Knowledge of empirical methods (introductory statistics, introductory econometrics) is an advantage but is not required.

Students on the waiting list will be admitted following the order of their sign-up date.

Availability of lecturer(s)

Institute for Economic and Social History

Department of Economics 

E-Mail: Kilian Rieder

Unit details

Unit Date Contents
1 25.10.2018

Session 1: Economic History and Economic Development

2 08.11.2018

Session 2: Why Eurasia?

3 15.11.2018

Session 3: Industrialization and Colonialism

4 22.11.2018

Session 4: Escape from the Malthusian Trap

5 06.12.2018

Session 5: Human Capital, Persistence and Convergence

6 13.12.2018

Session 6: Crises, Monetary Regimes and the Great Depression

7 20.12.2018

Session 7: Globalization, Trade and Protectionism

Last edited: 2018-06-28