module specification

EC4001A - Economics and Society (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Economics and Society
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Diagnostic test: in-class book, chapter or article review (40 min)
Coursework 70%   Essay 2000 words
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester City Monday Afternoon

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.

Module aims

This module has been designed to introduce students to the study of international economic history from 1850.  By the end of the module students will have:

  1. acquired a knowledge of the pattern of international economic history over the last 160 years and gained a long-term perspective in the study of economic growth and development;
  2. 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;
  3. 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 and the capacity to write a review article.
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. Britain and France in the period.  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 idea 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. The boom in FDI.

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-to the crisis of 2008.

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.

Contemporary student presentations are integrating sessions which draw on module material, and all students will participate in presentations during the semester.

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 160 years;
  2. explain how economic change and conflict  give rise to ethical considerations;
  3. gather evidence, and assimilate, structure, analyse and evaluate evidence, both qualitatively and quantitatively, so critically to understand issues connected with contemporary  economic internationalisation;
  4. 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.

Assessment strategy

The time constrained in-class book review is an early diagnostic test both in English language skill development as well as substantive criticism of an history text or document.  As a result of this assessment students will be guided towards additional learning support in the subject.

The subsequent coursework essay will examine issues, policy and application; ability to apply and to critically assess what students have learned directly to their own research in this field; ability to marshal evidence, both qualitative and quantitative, to understand and critically evaluate theoretical and policy issues in the area.


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.
Derek H. Aldcroft . The European Economy 1914-2000, 2001
A. Alexander. The Arc of Japan’s Economic Development, 2008.