History of the World Economy

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Course Description

  • Course Name

    History of the World Economy

  • Host University

    Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

  • Location

    Madrid, Spain

  • Area of Study

    History, International Economics, International Relations, International Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    History of the World Economy
    Bachelor in International Studies
    ECTS Credits: 6.0
    Semester: 2


    - Understanding of the development of the world economy
    - Empirical/applicable knowledge directed at understanding the interactions between actors and agents from different nations in historical perspective.
    - Knowledge of economic causes, effects and policies explaining and affecting market integration as manifested in the movement of persons, commodities, capital and ideas between economies.
    - Understanding of the processes of productive specialization and economic convergence and divergence in history
    - Empirical knowledge directed at understanding the origin, evolution and present-day characteristics of the institutions that govern the world economy. Knowledge of how and why they were created and how they contribute to the working of the international economy.

    - Development of individual learning routines via the analysis of relevant texts in economic history and the collection and analysis of historical evidence.
    - Development of group-based learning routines via group-based discussion and the oral and written presentation of work by teams.
    - Development of verbal and written communication skills.
    - Deepening of the ability to raise questions and answer them using economic analysis


    I. The development of a world economy in the early modern period: the formation of national and international commodity markets, institutional change and foundations of modern economic growth

    II. The first globalization of the long nineteenth century (c. 182 0-1913)
    - The Great Divergence and the Great Specialization. The integration intercontinental commodity markets, international migration and capital mobility.
    - The formation of an international monetary system, of global communication systems and coordination of trade policy
    - Causes and effects of the factor and commodity market integration in "central" and "peripheral" countries

    III. Deglobalization and international disintegration (c. 1914-1945)
    - The First World War, political instability and the restoration of prewar economic institutions and arrangements
    - The great depression, the collapse of the interwar gold standard and disintegration of international markets

    IV. The reconstruction of the international economy after 1945 and the second globalization
    - Consecuences of the Second World War: communism, decolonization and the Cold War
    - Rise and fall of the Bretton Woods system
    - Crisis, recovery and the second globalization in the Western world, c. 1970 to today.
    - Emerging economies, technical change and decentralization of production in multinational firms and value chains.
    - Changing models and paradigms of domestic economic policy; the role of international organizations and international markets in their formulation and transmission. Formation of regional economic areas and renewal of international economic institutions since the 1990s.

    V. The world economy in the early 21st century
    - Convergence and divergence of productivity and living standards between countries and evolution of economic inequality between and within countries.
    - The future of globalization: political, economic and social challenges


    Students will acquire the knowledge and skills through lectures, the handing of the work assigned by the teachers and its discussion in class. Skills and attitudes will be enhanced by the individual and teamwork performed by the students and their discussion in class. The tutorials moreover will also try to open up the discussion to the students via the collective analysis of tables, graphs or texts and the use of questions and multiple choice tests on the main concepts discussed in the lecture.

    The course will keep the following schedule: Students will have access to the following material: at the beginning of the course, a reading list will be assigned to each topic. Students will have access to all the graphic material used in class: graphs, tables, maps, power point slides. The tasks to be performed by the students will be handed out in the class tutorials. The students according to the calendar and relevant deadlines provided by each professor will hand in these tasks. The lectures present the concepts, theories and models that can be applied to each topic and develop the main historical narrative of the course. The activities developed during the tutorials are designed to stimulate the students to use the analytical concepts developed in the course to understand past situations and develop a deeper comprehension of current economic problems.

    There will be at least one tutorial in the last weeks of the course in which the student will have the chance to clarify doubts about the main concepts and models used in the lectures, as well as doubts about assessment and the schedule of the course.


    The final exam will represent a maximum 60 per cent of the final mark. To pass the course a minimum mark in the final exam might be established. There will be continuous controls throughout the course to make students read and prepare the class materials. Marks from these controls and class exercises will count an important percentage of the final mark. Both the exams and the controls serve the purpose of evaluating the degree of knowledge acquired by the student, his or her ability to transfer this knowledge into a similar context and adapting these ideas to new situations.


    Eichengreen, Barry. Globalizing capital. A history of the international monetary system. Princeton University Press. 1996
    Findlay, Ronald/O'Rourke, Kevin H.. Power and Plenty. Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millenium. Princeton University Press. 2007
    Forman-Peck, James. A History of the World Economy. International Economic Relations Since 1850. Financial Times Prentice Hall. 1995
    Graff, Michael/Kenwood,A.G./Lougheed, A.L.. Growth of the International Economy, 1820-2015 (Fifth edition). Routledge. 2013
    Hatton, Timothy J./Williamson, Jeffrey G.. Global Migration and the World Economy: Two Centuries of Policy and Performance. The MIT Press. 2008
    Kenwood, A.G./Lougheed, A.L.. The growth of the international economy 1820-2000 (Forth Edition). Routledge. 1999
    Milanovic, Branko. Worlds apart. Measuring International and Global Inequality. Princeton University Press. 2005
    O'Rourke, Kevin H./Williamson, J.G.. Globalization and History.The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century World Economy. The MIT Press. 1999
    Obstfeld, Maurice/Taylor, Alan M.. Global Capital Markets: Integration, Crisis, and Growth. Cambridge University Press. 2004
    Persson, Karl Gunnar. An Economic History of Europe, Knowledge, Institutions and Growth, 600 to the Present.. Cambridge University Press. 2010


    Allen, Robert C.. Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction.. Oxford University Press. 2011
    Bairoch, Paul. The Economic Development of the Third World since 1900. University of California Press. 1975
    Bordo, Michael D./Taylor, Alan M./Williamson, Jeffrey G.. Globalization in Historical Perspective. University of Chicago Press. 2003
    Bordo, Michael/Eichengreen, Barry/Irwin, Douglas A.. Is globalization today really different than globalization a hundred years ago?. NBER Working Paper 7195. 1999
    Cameron, Rondo/Neal, Larry. A Concise Economic History of the World. From Paleolithic Times to the Present. Oxford University Press. 2003
    Eichengreen, Barry (ed.). The Gold Standard in theory and history. Methuen. 1995
    Flandreau, Marc/Zumer, Frédéric. The Making of Global Finance 1880-1913. OECD. 2004
    Frieden, Jeffry. Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century.. W.W. Norton. 2006
    Hatton, Timothy J./Williamson, Jeffrey G.. The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact. Oxford University Press. 1998
    Irwin, Douglas. Free Trade Under Fire. Princeton University Press. 2009
    Irwin, Douglas A./Mavroidis, Petros/Sykes, Alan O.. The Genesis of the GATT. Cambridge University Press. 2008
    James, Harold. International Monetary Cooperation Since Bretton Woods. Oxford University Press. 1996
    Jones, Geoffrey. The evolution of international business. Routledge. 1996
    Kapur, Devesh/Lewis, John H./Webb, Richard. The World Bank: Its first half century. Brookings Institution Press. 1997
    Lindert, Peter H.. Growing public: social spending and economic growth since the eighteenth century. Cambridge University Press. 2004
    Lindert, Peter H./Pugel, Thomas. International Economics. McGraw Hill. 2000
    Maddison, Angus. The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective. OECD. 2001
    Rodrik, Dani. The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy . W. W. Norton & Co. 2011
    Williamson, Jeffrey G.. Trade and Poverty: When the Third World Fell Behind. The MIT Press. 2011

Course Disclaimer

Please note that there are no beginning level Spanish courses offered in this program.

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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