Topics in International Economic History in the 19th and 20th Century (expired)

INB428 Topics in International Economic History in the 19th and 20th Century (expired)

Autumn 2021

  • Topics

    The course deals with the development of the international economy in the 19th and 20th century. Based on the historical development, the students are introduced to important development traits of the economy at the international, regional and national level, as well as with regard to business development. The crucial question is "Why are some countries rich and some poor?"

    In the first part of the course the basis for the development of an international economy is analysed, with particular emphasis on the reasons for the strong growth of living standards in Western Europe and the Western Offshots. The second part of the course is a short introduction to the collapse of the international economy in the interwar period. In the third, and most extensive, part of the course, the postwar economic development is presented. The main topics are the growth and importance of international institutions, globalisation (in a historical perspective), the basis for economic growth in various regions and the development of international inequality. Topic 1: The emergence of an international economy * Economic development before the 19th century * Technological and business development in the 19th century * The first era of globalisation Topic 2: The interwar period * The Great Depression * The collapse of the international economy Topic 3: The postwar period * The basis for and emergence of international institutions * Regional development: Asia and Africa * The second era of globalisation * The development of international inequality in the long and short term

  • Learning outcome

    The aim of the course is to give an overview of central elements in the development of the world economy and international business in the 19th and 20th centuries.

    By the end of this course, the students can:

    - discuss the factors and processes that have shaped the world economy as it is today

    - compare the economic development of countries across time and space

    - show how technological and political factors have affected the organisation of the business enterprise

    - discuss the relationship between the international economy and individual countries

    - relate their knowledge of economic and business history to the theoretical fundament from other courses

    - find, and assess the reliability of, written and electronic source material

    - communicate this knowledge, in written and oral form

  • Teaching

    •  Lectures with class discussions
    • Compulsory term paper written in groups
    • Two smaller assignments

  • Required prerequisites


  • Requirements for course approval

    Participation in class and approved assignments, term paper and presentation. The students shall write a termpaper (self-formed groups) and this shall be presented in class, where another group asks prepared questions.

  • Assessment

    School exam 4 hours, graded A-F

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale A - F.

  • Computer tools


  • Literature

    A collection of articles will be available online. An example of articles that might be included are:

    David Besanko, David Dranove & Mark Shanley (2000) Economics of Strategy, John Wiley & Sons Inc., New York, Chapter 1, pp. 43-70

    Gordon Boyce & Simon Ville (2002) The Development of Modern Business, Palgrave, Basingstoke, Chapters 6, 10 & 12, pp. 145-174, pp 289-313 & pp. 342-348

    Rondo Cameron & Larry Neal (2003) A Concise Economic History of the World, 4th edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford, Chapter 14, pp. 339-361

    Guillaume Daudin, Matthias Morys & Kevin O'Rourke (2008) "Globalization 1870-1914", University of Oxford, Department of Economics, Discussion Paper 395, 34 pp.

    J. Bradford De Long (2000) "The shape of twentieth century economic history", NBER Working Paper 7569, 29 pp.

    Rune Jansen Hagen (2002) "Marginalisation in the Context of Globalisation: Why is Africa so Poor?" Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 28 (2), 2002, pp. 147-179

    G. John Ikenberry (2000) After victory - institutions, strategic restraint, and the rebuilding of order after major wars, Princeton University Press, Princeton, Chapter 1, pp. 3-20

    Geoffrey Jones (1996) The evolution of international business, Routledge, London, Chapters 2 & 9, pp. 23-60 and 305-315

    Geoffrey Jones & Tarun Khanna (2006) "Bringing history (back) into international business", Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 37, 2006, pp. 453-468

    John Maynard Keynes (1919) The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Macmillan, London, Chapters I-III pp. 1-50

    Arne Melchior (2001) "Global Income Inequality - Beliefs, Facts and Unresolved Issues", World Economics, Vol. 2 (3), 2001, pp. 87-108

    Lant Pritchett (1997) "Divergence, Big Time", Journal of Economic Perspectives, Volume 11 (3), summer 1997, pp. 3-17

    But some of these might be changed depending on new material; students will be given an updated list at the start of the semester.

    In addition, students will read, but not study intensively

    David Landes (1998) The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, Abacus, London, Chapters 1-4 (pp. 1-40). 13-19 (186-309) and 27-29 (465-524).


ECTS Credits
Teaching language


Course responsible

Professor Stig Tenold, Department of Economics