Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module ECON1081: Introduction to the History of Economic Thought

Department: Business School (Economics and Finance)

ECON1081: Introduction to the History of Economic Thought

Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap Location Durham


  • GCSE Mathematics at grade A.


  • • Principles of Economics (ECON1011).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • Provide students with knowledge and understanding of the development of economic ideas.
  • Provide students with an understanding of how ideas influence events and how events influence ideas.
  • Inform students of the historical evolution of key concepts relevant to understanding modern economics.
  • Offer the opportunity to develop key skills.


  • The Influence of Ideas and Events
  • Pre-Classical Economics
  • The Industrial Revolution and Economic Growth
  • Adam Smith: Economic Growth, and Markets v The State
  • The Demographic Pessimism of Robert T. Malthus
  • Ricardo: The Rise of International Integration and Globalization
  • The Marxian Critique of Capitalism
  • John Stuart Mill: Equity and Efficiency
  • The 1870s Marginalist Revolution
  • Alfred Marshall and the Birth of Neoclassical Economics
  • The Great Socialist Debate: Mises and Hayek v Lange
  • Schumpeter and Entrepreneurship
  • Causes and Consequences of the Great Depression
  • The Keynesian Revolution
  • The Years of High Theory
  • Veblen, Galbraith and Institutional Economics
  • The Quantitative Revolution in Economic Methodology
  • The Development of Development Economics
  • Modern Developments in Micro and Macro: The Nobel Laureates
  • The Greatest Debate: The Role of the State

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understanding of the key contributors and contributions to the development of economic thought.
  • Knowledge and understanding of key economic ideas.
  • Knowledge of key developments in economic and political history that have interacted with the evolution of economic ideas.
  • Understanding the causes and impact of change on economies.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to understand changes in the underlying methodology of economics.
  • Ability to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the major influential contributions to the development of economic analysis.
  • Ability to identify, interpret how ideas and events interact.
Key Skills:
  • Examples are provided to demonstrate how students will have the opportunity to develop the following key skills:
  • Written Communication - by completing summative assignments.
  • Planning and Organising - by preparing for the examination.
  • Problem Solving - by applying the necessary analytical techniques in preparing assignments.
  • Initiative - by searching relevant literature and other information in preparation for the examination.
  • Computer Literacy - accessing and downloading teaching material from DUO.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching is by lecture and seminars.
  • Learning takes place through attendance at lectures, preparation for and participation in seminars, and private study.
  • Formative assessment is by means of an assignment.
  • Summative assessment is by means of an examination.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 41 2 per week 1 hour 41
Seminars 8 4 in term 1, 4 in term 2 1 hour 8
Preparation and reading 154 151
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
One unseen examination 3 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

A 1500 word essay to be completed during Michaelmas term, and regular tutorial assignments, including student presentations, throughout the academic year.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University