module specification

EC4001 - Economics and Society (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Economics and Society
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 10%   Diagnostic test: in-class book, chapter or article review (40 min)
Oral Examination 20%   10 min group presentation
Coursework 30%   Essay 2000 words
Unseen Examination 40%   Part seen part unseen exam (2 hours)
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module develops student’s knowledge and understanding of the development of the international economy, the evolution of economic ideas since the mid-nineteenth century and an introduction to some major economic issues facing contemporary society.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

This module has been designed to introduce students to the study of international economic history, in particular to an understanding of recent international economic history, and to its relationship to the development of economic theory.  At the end of the module students will have:

  1. acquired a knowledge of the pattern of international economic history over the last 140 years and gained a long-term perspective in the study of economic growth and development;
  2. established the basic understanding of the evolution of economic theory and an understanding of major current economic issues;
  3. developed their study skills, analytical  and evaluative capabilities, and improved their key transferable skills and knowledge that will be of value in employment and self-employment;
  4. enhanced their ability to carry out independent scholarly research contributing to an analysis and evaluation of important economic and financial problems.

It also aims to develop students' skills, in particular: academic study skills; literacy; critical thinking; subject research; communication, including oral presentation; and applied analysis.


Learning and IT development
Reading and reviewing academic research, presenting arguments in various formats, the concept of critical thinking.
IT skills development: Introduction to IT presentation software. Formats, embedding pictures and other objects, creating animation, editing and formatting, and creating charts from worksheet data. Developing professional communication skills of presentation, audience engagement and participation to a basic professional standard, and demonstrate sound debating skills and the ability to present coherent arguments and influence and persuade others.

International economic growth and development

The spread of Industrialisation and International Economic Development from 1870 to 1914.  Britain, Europe, USA and the developing world.
The economic and social Impact of the First World War. Versailles and the post war economic scenario. Keynes criticism of the Versailles reparations. The end of empires and the economic consequences. 
International Economic Problems in the 1920s. Problems of economic growth and employment.  The challenges of international exchange stability: the gold standard.  The Great Wall Street crash, trade and gold. Tariffs and protectionism. Depression and Economic Recovery 1929 -39.  German state policy, the New Deal, Japanese economic policy.
The economics of war and the social Impact of World War II. The reconstruction of the warring nations. The development of the ‘welfare state’- the Beveridge Report, and social insurance. State ownership of key industries.
The Long Boom in the World Economy 1948-1973. Bretton- Woods and the dominance of the economy of the USA.  The economic resurgence of Japan and Western Europe.  The end of colonialism and the birth of the ‘New Economic Order’: Prebisch and Singer.
The End of the Long Boom and the shift to a New International Strategy 1973-1979. The breakdown of the economics of full employment and the dollar-gold standard. The criticisms of the role of the state and social democratic policies.

Post -colonial economies, development economics and inequality: export led and investment led policies. The role of technology and economic growth. The ‘Long Stability’ and ‘Globalisation’ 1980-the present:

The evolution of economic ideas and major contemporary economic issues

Political economy and free market order. How markets were understood in relation to political, moral order. Ricardo, Chalmers, and Mill.
Critics of political economy - moral economy. How critics raised issues around the absence of moral relations in markets and how this related to the understanding of slavery. How the market order was understood  Carlyle, Ruskin, Charles Dickens- debate with Mill.
Critics of political economy. Marx, Hobson.
Alfred Marshall. Professionalisation of Economics, poverty and the assessment of policy.
Keynes and need for a macro perspective. Crisis of Keynesianism. Hayek, Friedman, and Lucas.
‘Market fundamentalism’. Fama, Jensen, and Lucas. Efficient market hypothesis. Shareholder value, global liberalisation, economics and global financial crisis.
Problems of market fundamentalism: Stiglitz, Krugman, and Sen.
Big Society theorists. From market fundamentalism to free market order?

The abuse of common property resources. Externalities and environmental quality.
Public goods and their appropriate level of provision. Merit goods and the economic rationale of the welfare state.
Monopoly, competition, and regulation.
Inequality. The distribution and state redistribution of national income.

Learning and teaching

Students’ learning is organised around direct contact time with the teaching team, and reflective independent learning. The direct contact time takes place through lectures, seminars and group workshops. Students must complement this 'formal' learning activity with further reading of the material suggested in the teaching sessions, using economic analysis, research, writing, planning and preparation for class tests, and the final exam.

Student contact time will typically be 3 hours per week. Lectures will normally be around 2 hours duration and will deliver core knowledge. Workshop and other activities may replace the formal lecture from time to time. As this module emphasises the relation between economic history and the application theory as policy, a seminar of around 1 hour will provide examples of how to use economics to understand and analyse the developments covered each week. Formative feedback will be provided in these seminars.

Contact time with teaching teams will be organised around a range of learning activities including active learning to acquire knowledge and understanding, group reading and analysis of journal articles, discussion of policy issues and debate.

Lecture and seminar activities are structured to enable students to develop basic knowledge and  then to progress to develop higher order skills of synthesis and critical evaluation. All activities require students to carry out independent work prior to the seminars.

Study and research skills are supported in lectures and seminars, and through independent directed learning and assessment. Skills development  is enhanced through learning in seminars, working co-operatively in groups. Inititative and independence is developed progressively through the module so that students take greater responsibility for their work.

Business and economic historical and contemporary student debates are integrating sessions which draw on module material (2 weeks around the end of the autumn term, then 2 weeks around Easter. Groups of 3 or 4 students prepare arguments for or against propositions in a present ,reply, questioning, open discussion format. Presentatations involve  6-8 students per week, 12-18 students in two week periods.

The module makes use of virtual learning environment platforms (WebLearn, Publisher E-resources) in which module lecture material, course handbooks, test questions, previous assessment with feedback, and other material is placed. Students are required to engage with research published in academic journals. ICT resources include links to key web resources such as Government departments, research institutes, historical sites and multi-lateral organisations. Students will be shown to treat all material with caution and research from a variety of sources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a broad knowledge of the reasons for and characteristics of the development of the international economy and display a systematic understanding of the theoretical explanations for the changes in the international specialisation over the last 140 years;
  2. demonstrate knowledge of economic theory related to aspects of the international economy over this period;
  3. explain how economic change and conflict  give rise to ethical considerations;
  4. gather evidence, and assimilate, structure, analyse and evaluate evidence, both qualitatively and quantitatively, so critically to understand issues connected with contemporary  economic internationalisation;
  5. demonstrate study skills development including academic reading, writing, critical thinking and reference, plan, communicate, self-manage, and effectively present  the results of their own work.
  6. develop a presentation to a basic professional standard, and demonstrate sound debating skills and the ability to present coherent arguments and influence and persuade others.

Assessment strategy

Interactive lectures and tutorials are expected to provide the main opportunities for formative and summative feedback. In these sessions, the assessment instruments and assessment criteria will be explained and discussed. Examples of past good practice in the assessment will be explained in seminars and placed on Weblearn and linked clearly to the assessment criteria used in the assessment. Through this process, students have access to examples of best practice and will see examples of the grading criteria in operation. In tutorial and workshop, the development of assessments will be reviewed and discussed.

Students will periodically review the assessment of others. This activity will enable students to further reflect upon and deepen their understanding of assessment criteria, assessment outcomes, the performance of peers and their performance.

In the interactive tutorials, students will also receive formative feedback on their knowledge and understanding of economics by working through exercises which students prepare before the session.  This preparation and feedback provide support for students when they later tackle problems set in summative assessments.

Before formally presenting work students will consider, discuss, develop and present work for informal assessment by peers and the tutor in seminars.
To pass the module, a student must obtain an overall 40% pass mark.


Foreman-Peck, J. A History of the World Economy:  International Economic Relations Since 1850, Wheatsheaf, 2nd edition, 1995.
This book is also ONLINE
Kenwood, A.G. and Lougheed, A.L. The Growth of the International Economy 1820-1990, Routledge,
4th edition, 1992.
Landes, D.S. Unbound Prometheus, Cambridge University Press, 2/E, 2003.
Backhouse R E. The Penguin History of Economics. Penguin,  2002.
Heilbroner R. The Worldly Philosophers:  The Lives, Times and Ideas of The Great Economic Thinkers, Penguin, 7th Ed.
Krugman P. The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008, December 2008.

Derek H. Aldcroft . The European Economy 1914-2000, 2001
A. Alexander. The Arc of Japan’s Economic Development, 2008.
Levy, David & Peart, Sandra How the Dismal Science Got Its Name: Classical Economics and the Ur-Text of Racial Politics  The University of Michigan Press
Paul Mason Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed  Verso
Raghuram G. Rajan Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy Princeton University Press

Joseph Stiglitz Freefall: Free Markets and the Sinking of the Global Economy Penguin
Blond, Philip, Red Tory Faber
Mankiw, N.G. and Taylor, M.P. (2010)  Economics, Special Edition, South-Western Cengage Learning
Sloman, J. and Wride, A. (2009), Economics, 7th edition, Prentice Hall

Selected articles from the Financial Times