Economic Challenges

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Economic Challenges

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study


  • 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

    This course provides an overview of the development of economic thinking as well as an insight into the relevance of economic theories for important current economic issues. In addition, students receive a broad introduction to the various fields of study of Economics and Business Economics.

    After successfully completing this course, the student can:

    Academic Skills:
    - explain the economic way of thinking;
    - identify fundamental questions in economics;
    - place economics as a discipline in relation to other social sciences.

    Bridging Theory and Practice - Knowledge:
    - describe the most important economic concepts;
    - explain the role of different institutions in the economic process;
    - identify the main differences and similarities between various economic schools;
    - appoint the different fields of study of the program.

    Bridging Theory and Practice - Application:
    - understand various forms of market and government failure;
    - analyze current policy proposals from an economic perspective.

    Broadening Your Horizon:
    - name the most important works of prominent thinkers in economic science;
    - situate economic theories in a social, political and historical context.

    Economic theories do not come out of thin air. Crucial for this course is the insight that economists, both in the present and in the past, respond to the social, political and economic circumstances of their time. Their theories and policy proposals are not always in agreement with each other, which gives rise to the emergence of different paradigms and competing schools of thought. Studying the development of economic thought in its historical context is an excellent way to appreciate the richness of economics as a scientific tradition.

    Each lecture starts with the discussion of an important period in economic history, starting from classical antiquity up to modern times. Each lecture ends with the discussion of a current 'economic challenge'. The following topics will be discussed: climate change, markets and morality, Brexit, limits on growth, aging, sweatshops, market failure, influence of advertising, the Euro crisis, robotisation, nuclear threat and big data. The relevance of the theory to the contemporary debate is always demonstrated. Along the way, we introduce the most important works of leading thinkers in economics such as Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Alfred Marshall and John Maynard Keynes. The fact that their ideas about the correct way of research and policy-making differed greatly from each other underlines the philosophy of this course that tackling important social questions from different angles promotes the understanding of what economics is all about.

    lectures + tutorials  + Q&A

    Written exam (90%) and weekly tutorial assignments (10%)

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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