National Research University – Higher School of Economics
Department of History
Syllabus of the course: “History of Economics and Economic Institutions”
Master’s program “Applied and Interdisciplinary History «Usable Pasts»”
Government of the Russian Federation
National Research University Higher School of Economics
Department of History
Syllabus of the course:
History of Economics and Economic Institutions, 6 ECTS, 228 hours
Master’s program « Applied and Interdisciplinary History «Usable Pasts»»
Author of the syllabus: Nathan Marcus,
Associate Professor, Department of History, School for Social Sciences and Humanities, National Research University Higher School of Economics, St. Petersburg
Agrreed with the manager of Applied and Interdisciplinary History
Programme Office: Maria Kattsova, firstname.lastname@example.org
Approved by the Academic Council of the Program
Head of the program:
Julia Lajus (signature)
Saint Petersburg, 2015
This syllabus cannot be used by other university departments and other higher education institutions without the explicit permission of the department of History.
This course aims at giving students a comprehensive overview of the importance of institutions in global history, from the dawn of mankind to modernity. The role played by institutions for economic growth is currently being studied by some of the most gifted economic historians. Besides classics of economic history on institutions, the readings therefore also cover a large amount of cutting-edge working papers. Class discussions focus on understanding the role of institutions, their origins and evolution, and why they are so hard to change. The first part of the course studies the prehistoric origins of present-day time-preferences and of gender divisions of the Western economies. Two subsequent weeks are devoted to the emergence of institutions in Ancient Greece and Rome and their lasting impact on today’s economies. The reminder of the course focuses on the evolution of institutions in medieval Europe and Northern Africa. Weekly classes are devoted to the relationship between the development of institutions and the role of the Catholic Church, the Reformation and Anti-Semitism, of Trade and Commerce in the Mediterranean world, or of Britain’s Glorious and Industrial Revolutions. Further readings highlight how the development of institutions, spread by colonialism, slavery and international trade, impacted the economic development of the world and continues to shape it to this day.
• Scope of Use
This course rests on the theory of New Institutional Economics and the methods of Historical Institutional Analysis. It tries to answer the question why some states become countries people wish to leave in, while others are states people wish to leave. At the same time it presents students with a global history of the world from the dawn of humanity to modern times. Stressing the enduring importance of institutions, readings look at how institutions emerge, what shapes them, and how they impact – and are impacted by – political, social cultural and economic realities. Special topics focus on the relationship between institutions and the changing perceptions and roles of gender, religion and race. Similarly the institutional effects of important historical events, such as the agricultural revolution, the Glorious Revolution or Industrialization are studied and assessed.