ECN140 Economic History

Credits (ECTS):5

Course responsible:Espen Ekberg

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Norsk

Course frequency:Annually. The course is not offered in the academic year 2023/2024. The course is offered next time in Spring 2025.

Nominal workload:125 hours

Teaching and exam period:The course is not offered in the academic year 2023/2024. The course is offered next time in Spring 2025.

About this course

The goal of this course is twofold: First, the students shall acquire basic knowledge about the development of the global economy in a historical perspective, focusing on the period after 1500. Four interrelated themes are highlighted: (i) Economic growth (ii) Inequality, (iii) Economic globalisation and (iv) The environmental consequences of economic growth.

The second goal is to stimulate learning, and to develop the students writing skills, through the systematic use of writing exercises.

Learning outcome


  • Know the main trends in economic development from time immemorial until today
  • Knowledge about economic globalization and be familiar with central drivers and historic development of economic globalization
  • Knowledge about the main developments in welfare differences betwen and within countries over the last 500 years and the cause of these
  • Knowledge about how the massive economic growth of the last 200 years have affected climate and nature
  • Understand the term green development
  • Fundamental knowledge about how to plan, structure, and write analytical texts.


  • Critically reflect on different explanations for variations in the ability to innovate, economic development, and welfare development in different regions of the world in the period from 1500 untnil today, while at the same time reflect upon the relevance of these explanations for our understanding of innovation and economic growth in the present
  • Discuss the causes of why the global economy has developed cyclically
  • Be able to apply historic knowledge about economic globalization to reflect upon the challenges and future of the global economy
  • Discuss different explanations for the development of welfare differences between and within countries over the last 30-40 years, including Norway
  • Apply historic knowledge to discuss connections between economic growth and climate- and nature changes, as well as reflect upon the conditions for the development of a sustainable economy in the future.
  • Practical training in planning, structuring and writing analytical texts.

General competence:

  • Basic knowledge about, and practice in, planning, structuring, and writing analytical texts
  • Be able to reflect on current challenges using historical knowledge
  • Be able to reflect on the limits to economic growth and the conditions for a more sustainable economic development.
  • Lectures, discussion groups, plenary discussions, group work, presentations, writing exercises and student peer-review.
  • General feedback on assignments from the lecturer. Student-peer review.
  • Portfolio: individual term paper (70%) and written exam in the teaching period, 90 minutes (30%). No re-examination is offered.

  • An exernal examiner will assess curriculum, exam question set and exam solution guide.
  • Two written assignments and two peer-reviews submitted during the semester. The assignments and peer-reviews must be done individually and they will not be graded. Approved assignments and peer reviews are valid until the next time the course is offered.
  • The course is not offered in the academic year 2023/2024. The course is offered next time in Spring 2025.
  • 2 hours lectures per week.
  • Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse).