1218 Economic History / Course V - Interactions of Economy and Society
Franz Xaver Zobl, Ph.D.
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
09/05/23 to 09/20/23
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Day Date Time Room
Tuesday 10/03/23 03:45 PM - 05:45 PM TC.5.12
Tuesday 10/17/23 03:45 PM - 06:45 PM TC.4.15
Tuesday 10/24/23 03:45 PM - 06:45 PM TC.5.02
Tuesday 10/31/23 03:45 PM - 06:45 PM TC.5.12
Tuesday 11/14/23 03:45 PM - 06:45 PM TC.5.02
Tuesday 11/21/23 03:45 PM - 06:45 PM TC.5.12
Tuesday 11/28/23 03:45 PM - 06:45 PM TC.5.12
Tuesday 12/19/23 03:45 PM - 05:45 PM TC.5.12
Tuesday 01/30/24 03:45 PM - 06:15 PM TC.5.12

This course gives a comprehensive, thematically organized overview of economic history from the Middle Ages to the present. The focus is on Europe and its economic integration, both within countries and the continent and into the emerging world economy. The sequence of classes is more guided by topics than chronologically, although topics primarily important for preindustrial economies are treated before those that acquired prominence with industrialization and modern economic growth.

Some of the topics are: Economic history and the making of Europe; Market integration, urbanization and social and economic change; Population and resource constraints: the Malthusian model - an accurate description of preindustrial economies?; Industrialization, entrepreneurship and technology transfer; Money, credit and banking in history; Trade and growth (or not?); The rise of the welfare state; Inequality in history; Globalization and the challenges it entails.

Learning outcomes

- Understanding the evolution of the European economy in a global context

- Examining the causes and consequences of industrialization and market integration in history

- Understaning the role of institutions in the process of economic development and economic growth

- Understanding the structural transformations and social challenges that accompany economic growth and globalisation

Skills and competences:

- The course trains the abilities to understand and analyse economic and social development processes with a special focus on their motors, patterns and forces of resistence.

-  This will be done through assignments, presentations and questions to students on different levels of reflection, so basic knowledge on individual topics, the connection between different topics (and historical processes) and interpretation are rehearsed. 

- Special attention is given to using basic tools of economics and other social sciences in interpreting history, and in contrasting the content of economic and social science theories with actual historical developments.

- Ultimately, the course aims to advance the students' ability to raise questions and answer them using the tools of analysis developed by economic and social sciences.

Attendance requirements

According to the current public health regulations at WU the course can take place fully in the class room, thus physical presence on campus will be required. The teaching mode can be subject to change according to the official COVID-19 regulations: If the public health situation requires it, this course will be switched to a hybrid or online format. In that case, course participants might be divided into different groups to enable a smooth transition from full presence to hybrid mode.

Assistance to more than 80% of all units is required. Thus, students can miss up to two classes.

Teaching/learning method(s)

Students will acquire the knowledge and skills through lectures, the handing of the work assigned by the instructors and its discussion in class. This will require individual and teamwork, performed by the students inside and outside the classroom, and their discussion in class or individual assessment by the instructor. We will work through the textbook and go through additional exercises based on text or empirical data (with the necessary introduction by the instructor).

Students are required to participate in discussions class and present the answers to questions based on the textbook or additional material to their fellow students in brief contributions.


One mid-term test and one final exam, which contribute 20% and 50% respectively, to the final mark.

Presentations, assignments and participation in class prepare students for these exams. They will be graded continuously and will count for 30% of the final mark.

Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

None. Students not attending the first session (and not excusing themselves in advance) will be removed from the course list. The resulting spots will be filled with those students on the waiting last who are present in the first session in the order of their position on the waiting list.


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Availability of lecturer(s)


Last edited: 2023-04-19