ECONOMIC HISTORY I
USP COURSE: 1º Grado en Ciencias Económicas
SEMESTER TO BE OFFERED: Fall or Spring
The main objectives are the following
To know, understand and analyze the interactions among economic
variables (population, resources and technological changes) and extra-
economic variables (institutions) in the study of the economic growth in
the long term not only for the world economy but also for the Spanish
To analyze the role of the technological changes and the expansion of
the market through time.
To analyze the first case of modern economic growth: the British
The student will:
1. Know, understand and analyze the development of the economic
thought through history in order to complete his/her theoretical and
2. Acquire knowledge: own and understand knowledge in the field of
study in a level which, although based on advanced textbooks, also
includes some aspects that come from the forefront of this field of
3. Be able to synthesize and interpret data and important information
to express opinions which include a reflection.
4. Be able to select, classify with logical criteria, analyze and evaluate
quantitative and qualitative data of economic, institutional, historic
and social nature.
LECTURE: There will be 2 lecture along the semester, one at the beginning
and the other at the end. The professor will present the global view of the
course with special emphasis on the deciding factors of the economic growth
in the long term, the achievements and limits to the development in the pre-
industrial Europe and the nature of the British Industrial Revolution as the
first case of modern economic growth. The first lecture will bring forward the
main objectives of the course and the last one will review the basic concepts of
SEMINAR: There will be 48 contact hours. Each topic has its own objectives in
which the professor will focus his/her lecture. Active participation is required.
PRACTICE:: There will be 6 hours of practice classes. The readings will be
distributed to the students through the Portal del Alumno (blackboard) or
For each topic there is a mandatory reading on which students have to
do a practice according to the questions previously provided by the
professor. Students will have to answer in writing a list of brief
questions about basic concepts of the subject.
These practices will have to be submitted by the students BEFORE the
professor starts to explain the topic.
These practices will not be returned with the corrections by the
professor. Why? Because when the students submit the practice they
should keep a copy. When the practice is corrected in class, students
will know their mistakes and will be able to correct and complete the
copy they kept.
These corrections are aimed to foster the participation of students,
his/her capacity of expression and critical analysis. The role of the
professor consists of guiding the students with questions. Students
must do a self-correction of his/her own text therefore the success of
the correction and the improvement of the text will depend entirely on
The professor will evaluate the practices according to the attendance
criteria, the submission of the practices and the active participation in
The professor will establish from the beginning of the semester which
will be the practices, the dates of submission and the day for
The evaluation will be continuous. To be evaluated is mandatory to
attend the 75% of the classes.
Attendance to the practice classes is mandatory in a 80%
Attendance to the lectures is 100% mandatory
The final grade will be calculated based on:
-Final Exam: 50%
-Submission (minimum 85%) and attendance to the correction of the
practices in class (minimum 80%): 20%
- Tests (midterm): 30%
LECTURE: THE ECONOMIC GROWTH IN A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
Objectives: Importance of the economic history in the education of an
economist. Brief explanation of the objectives of the course
THEME 1. THE NEOLITHIC REVOLUTION AND THE ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
1. Man as a food producer: the Neolithic Revolution
2. Economic basis for Ancient World
3. Commerce and its development in the Mediterranean
4. The limits to the growth in the Ancient Times.
Objectives: Identify the basic problem of the economy: choosing between two
options (hunting or agriculture). To understand the concepts of opportunity
cost and diminishing returns.
To know the contributions to the economic growth of the great empires in the
Mandatory reading for the practice class: North, D. (1984), Estructura y
cambio en la historia económica. Madrid, Alianza Universidad, chapter 7.
THEME 2. BIRTH, EXPANSION AND CRISIS OF THE FEUDAL SOCIETY.
1. Main characteristics of the feudal system
2. The expansion of agriculture and trade in the 12 th an 13th
3. The demographic collapse and its consequences
4. The evolution of manufacture and trade along the 15 th
Objectives: To analyze the functioning of the agrarian economies of feudalism
and the limits to its expansion. To understand the dynamic of the pre-
Taking into account the Maltus model, to analyze the relation growth-
population and its connection with the diminishing returns and the
technological innovations. Approach to the concept of institutions, property
rights and its relation with the efficient working of the market.
Mandatory reading for the practice class: Livi-Bacci, M (1990), Historia
minima de la población mundial. Barcelona, Ariel, chapter 3.
THEME 3. THE EUROPEAN EXPANSION IN THE 15TH AND 16TH
1. The territorial expansion of Europe and the development of
2. Prices and precious metals in the Europe of the 16th century
3. The imperial Spain: the cost of the Hispanic hegemony in
Objectives: To apply basic concepts of the monetary theory to the first great
inflationist phenomenon of the Modern Age. To make a first approach to the
tax system of the old regime and its relation with the financial difficulties of
the absolute monarchies. Concept of economies of scale and analysis of the
changes in trade.
Mandatory reading for the practice class: Miskimin, H. A. (1981) La
economía europea en el renacimiento tardío, 1460-1600. Madrid,
Cátedra, chapter 2.
THEME 4. TRANSFORMATIONS AND CRISIS IN THE EUROPE OF THE
1. Economic contrasts between Northern Europe and Southern
2. The economy of mercantilism
3. The population changes in Spain in the 17th century and the
economic decadence of Castille
Objectives: To analyze the first signs of change in the Maltus paradigm as a
consequence of the institutional differences among the different European
economies. Basic concepts of the mercantilism. To analyze the reasons of the
decadence of Spanish economy with special emphasis on the costs of the
empire and the Castilian crisis.
Mandatory reading for the practice class: de Vries, J. (1979) La economía de
Europa en un período de crisis. 1660-1750. Madrid, Cátedra, chapter 1.
THEME 5. ECONOMY AND ILLUSTRATION IN THE 18TH CENTURY
1. The economic evolution in the Age of Enlightenment
2. The industrious revolution
3. The financial problems of the absolute monarchy: the origins
of the French Revolution
4. The reformism of the Spanish Illustration and the financial
difficulties of Charles IV
Objectives: To analyze the reasons of the economic recovery. To understand
the concept of industrious revolution and its connection with the later
economic growth. To understand the practice of the mercantilism in Europe.
To analyze the financial problems of the different European states with special
emphasis on the Spanish case.
Mandatory reading for the practice class: Llombart, V. (1994) La política
económica de Carlos III. ¿Fiscalismo, cosmética o estímulo al
crecimiento? Revista de Historia Económica, 2, 1 pp. 11-39
THEME 6. THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION AND THE BRITISH MODEL
1. The agrarian change and the industrial revolution in England
2. Markets, money and means of transport
3. Technology and industrial innovation
4. Standards of living in England and the Industrial Revolution
Objectives: To dismiss preconceived ideas about the industrial revolution and
to make understand that it was a slow and accumulative change. To analyze
the process of the market forces in the industrial revolution. To understand
what is an structural change and its social and economic effects. To analyze
the relations agriculture-industry and include the technological change and
the increases of productivity as a center of the first phenomenon of the
modern economic growth.
Mandatory reading for the practice class: Harley, K. (1993) Evaluación
macroeconómica de la revolución industrial, Revista de Historia
Económica, IX, 2 pp. 259-303
LECTURE: THE ECONOMIC GROWTH IN THE LONG TERM: FROM THE
NEOLITHIC REVOLUTION TO THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
Objectives: Global view of the economic evolution in the very long term.
Review of the basic concepts of the course, especially of the causes of the
economic growth in the pre-industrial world and the importance of the
Rondo Cameron y Larry Neal,(2002), Historia Económica Mundial. Desde el
Paleolítico hasta el presente (4ª edición), Madrid, Alianza
Cipolla, C.M. (1990), Historia económica de la Europa preindustrial, Madrid,
North D.C. y Thomas, R.P. (1989), El nacimiento del mundo occidental. Una
nueva historia económica (900-1700), Madrid, Siglo XXI
Lopis, E., Comín, F. y Hernández, M. (coords.) (2002), Historia económica de
España. Siglos X-XX, Barcelona, Crítica.
Mokyr, J. (1987), “La Revolución Industrial y la nueva historia económica (I) y
(II), Revista de Historia Económica V, (2 y 3), pp. 203-241 y pp. 441-482
USEFUL WEB RESOURCES
Asociación Española de Historia Económica: http://www.aehe.net
Economic History Net: http://www.Eh.net