ECON 2101 Economic History of Europe

Syllabus ECON 2101 Economic History of Europe

Course and Instructor Information

Course Title: Economic History of Europe ECON 2101

Credits: 3

Prerequisites: ECON 1200 or both 1201and 1202

Instructor: Richard N. Langlois


Phone: (860) 486-3472

Course Materials

Required Text:

A Concise Economic History of the World
by Larry Neal and Rondo Cameron. Oxford University Press, 5th edition, 2016. (Earlier editions are fine.)

Required Text:

The Industrial Revolution: a Very Short Introduction
by Robert C. Allen. Oxford University Press, 2017.

Guns, Germs, and Steel Recommended Text:

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond W. W. Norton and Company, 1999.


Course Description

This course studies the economic development of Europe from prehistoric times to the early twentieth century. Although the course is chronological, the vastness of such a history necessarily means that we will be selective in our treatment, focusing on a few episodes and approaches. In general, the course will try to explain the uniqueness of Western Europe. Why was Western Europe (including Great Britain) able to achieve sustained economic growth in a way that no other part of the world – including the great civilizations of history – was able to do?

Course Goals

At the completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain and manipulate theories of economic growth and related economic concepts.
  • Identify key historical phenomena in time and relate them to economic concepts and theories.
  • Analyze the economics of the ancient Mediterranean and the rise and fall of Rome
  • Analyze the economics of the European Middle Ages, including the Manorial System, the Open-Field System, and the Enclosure Movement..
  • Analyze the economics of Mercantilism and the nation-state in the Early Modern Period.
  • Analyze the concept of the Industrial Revolution and be able to evaluate the reasons why the industrial revolution took place in Britain.
  • Discuss the history and economics of British economic and political dominance in the nineteenth century.


Course Requirements. Your grade will be based on two midterms and a final.

Midterm 1


Midterm 2




The final will be cumulative, but will stress the material covered after the second midterm.


Sequence of topics

      1. Theories of Economic Growth
      2. Ancient Economies
      3. The Medieval Economy
      4. The Mercantilist Economy
      5. The Industrial Revolution
      6. Britain and the World in the 19th Century
        • Larry Neal and Rondo Cameron , A Concise Economic History of the World (Oxford, 2016), chapters 8, 9, and 12.
        • Niall Ferguson, Empire. New York: Basic Books, 2004, chapter 1.
        • Joel Mokyr, The Enlightened Economy (Yale 2009), chapter 8.
        • What Were the Real Penalties of the Early Start?” by Professor N.F.R. Crafts, University of Warwick.

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