Checking date: 28/03/2022

Course: 2023/2024

Topics in the Economic History of Institutions
Master in Social Sciences (Plan: 481 - Estudio: 325)

Coordinating teacher: DOMENECH FELIU, JORDI

Department assigned to the subject: Social Sciences Department

Type: Electives
ECTS Credits: 6.0 ECTS


Core Competences Possess and understand knowledge that provides a basis or opportunity to be original in the development and/or application of ideas, often in a research context. Students know how to apply their acquired knowledge and problem-solving skills in new or unfamiliar settings within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to their field of study. Students are able to integrate knowledge and face the complexity of making judgments based on incomplete or limited information that includes reflections on the social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgments. Students know how to communicate their conclusions and the knowledge and the reasons behind them to both specialised and non-specialised audiences in a clear and unambiguous way. Students possess the learning skills that will enable them to continue studying in a way that will be largely self-directed or autonomous. General Competences To understand the main analytical tools from economic history. To evaluate and compare different contributions to important debates on economic history, development economics and new institutional economics from an analytical, methodological and empirical point of view. To plan and carry out an autonomous research program in some field of economic history, development economics and new institutional economics. To evaluate the internal logic of a scientific publication, examining the consistency between theory, analytical strategy, indicators, results and conclusions. To understand and know how to synthesize the main theories into one or more contemporary debates in economic history or the new institutional economy. To develop a scientific argument with clarity and precision. To know how to apply advanced quantitative techniques in specific research projects. Develop a research design that allows general hypotheses to be tested. Specific Competences To apply models from Economic Science or other Social Sciences to the understanding of the processes of historical change and long-term development. To determine the impact of institutions and legal systems on economic activity and development. To apply formal models in the study of strategic decisions, negotiation and delegation processes and collective action phenomena. Learning outcomes 1. Understanding of the concept of institutions as an analytical tool for the study of historical societies and their long-term development along with the ability to evaluate advantages and problems of using such an analytical category. 2. Ability to analyze the historical determinants of institutional legacies and their effect on development. 3. Ability to understand the determinants of institutional change. 4. Development of advanced capacities to identify sources and empirical evidence for the study of institutions and their effect on the development of economies in the long term, as well as understanding of the main methodological and empirical problems of using such empirical evidence. 5. Ability to evaluate empirical research that establishes causal relationships between an economy's institutional legacy and its long-term economic development. 6. Ability to autonomously formulate and plan an independent research project on the role of institutions in long-term development.
Skills and learning outcomes
Description of contents: programme
This course covers advanced and more specialized topics in the economic history of institutions. The role of formal and informal institutions in the development of markets in pre-modern and modern Europe and in the development of factor markets (capital, land and labour) is analysed. A second block analyses the formal and informal institutions that explain the development of technology.
Learning activities and methodology
TRAINING ACTIVITIES Theoretical class Practical classes Tutorials Individual student work TEACHING METHODS Presentations in the professor's lecture room with computer and audiovisual support, in which the main concepts of the subject are developed and a bibliography is provided to complement the students' learning. Critical reading of texts recommended by the subject professor: Press articles, reports, manuals and/or academic articles, either for later discussion in class, or to expand and consolidate knowledge of the subject. Resolution of practical cases, problems, etc. raised by the professor, either individually or in a group. Presentation and discussion in class, under the moderation of the professor, of topics related to the content of the subject, as well as practical case studies. Developing pieces of work and reports, individually or in group.
Assessment System
  • % end-of-term-examination 40
  • % of continuous assessment (assigments, laboratory, practicals...) 60

Basic Bibliography
  • Abramitzky, R.. The Mystery of the Kibbutz: Egalitarian Principles in a Capitalist World. Princeton U. Press. 2018
  • Epstein, SR. Freedom and Growth: the rise of States and Markets in Europe. Routledge. 2000
  • Graeber, D.. Debt: the first 5000 years. Melville House. 2014
  • Johnson, N., Koyama, M.. Persecution and Toleration: the Long Road to Religious Freedom. CUP. 2019
  • Milanovic, B.. Capitalism Alone: the future of the system that rules the world. Harvard / Belknapp. 2019
  • Ogilvie, Sh.. The European Guilds: An Economic Analysis. Princeton Univerity Press. 2019
  • Roy, T., A. Swamy. Law and the Economy in Colonial India. University of Chicago Press. 2016
  • Seabright, P. . The Company of Strangers: A natural history of economic life. Princeton U. Press. 2010
Additional Bibliography
  • Federico, G. Feeding the World: An economic history of World Agriculture, 1800-2000. Princeton U. Press. 2005
  • Kuran, T.. The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law held back the Middle East. Princeton U. press. 2012
  • Temin, P. The Roman Market Economy. Princeton U. Press. 2012

The course syllabus may change due academic events or other reasons.