69065 - Economic history

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

No poverty Responsible consumption and production Climate Action Partnerships for the goals

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims at providing students with an up-to-date understanding of the main aspects and trends of the world economy during the 20th and early 21st centuries. At the end of the course students should understand the origin of the most important economic institutions and the features of the economic cycles so far experienced by the world economy. Topics addressed in more detail will include the failure of the command economies, the construction of the European Union, the evolution and transformation of financial systems, the globalization, the regulation of labour market in different countries.

Course contents

The course is organized in two parts, the first taught by Mauro Carboni and the second by Patrizia Battilani.

The topics covered in the first part are the following:

  1. Pre-industrial economies and the wheels of commerce
  2. The "unbound Prometheus": the first industrial nation
  3. The spread of industrialization: State, capital, and technological innovations
  4. The great wave of globalization: trade, immigration and capital flows (1870-1913)
  5. The disintegration of the world economy and the great depression (1914-1945)
  6. The new world order and the reintegration of the world economy after 1945
  7. The golden age and decolonization (1950-1973)
  8. The process of European economic integration
  9. The oil crisis, financial instability, and the third industrial revolution
  10. The rise of Asia: tigers, dragons, and the new global age

In the second part, the student will have the opportunity to deepen his understanding of specific issues including the impact of the three waves of globalization on world economy, the role of state intervention in economic development, the relationship between economic growth and financial systems.

The topics covered in the second part are the following.

1. The First Globalization

2.The anti-global backlash

3.The Second and Third wave of Globalization

4. Financial System and globalization: the history of stock exchanges and central banks

5. Financial System and globalization: from gold standard to flexible exchange rate

6. Finance over the second and third waves of globalization

7. Globalizations and Income Distribution

8. The great battle between government and marketplace: the history of Welfare state.

9.The great battle between government and marketplace: Regulatory state

10.The great battle between government and marketplace: State owned enterprises


For the part taught by prof. Mauro Carboni the textbook is:

Vera Zamagni, An Economic History of Europe since 1700, Agenda Publishing 2017


Franco Amatori –Andrea Colli, The Global Economy. A Concise History. Giappichelli- Routledge2019


For the part taught by Patrizia Battilani the reading list is

  1. Richard E. Baldwin [http://www.nber.org/people/richard_baldwin], Philippe Martin [http://www.nber.org/people/philippe_martin], Two Waves of Globalisation: Superficial Similarities, Fundamental Differences, NBER Working Paper No. 6904, January 1999
  2. Richard Baldwin,Misthinking Globalisation: Twentieth-Century Paradigms and Twenty First-Century Challenges, Australian economic history review,2014 vol:54
  3. Harold James, International capital movements and the global order, in The Cambridge history of capitalism, Vol. II, The Spread of Capitalism from 1848 to the Present, edited by L. Neal and J.G. Williamson
  4. Youssef Cassis, Capitals of capital: A history of International Financial Centres, 1780-2005, Oxford 2008, Chapter 6 Globalization and Financial Innovation, 1980-2005
  5. Maurice Obstfeld, Alan M. Taylor, Globalization and Capital Markets, 2001
  6. Branko Milanovic, Income inequality is cyclical, Nature, 22 September 2016, Vol. 537.
  7. Peter Rutland, Neoliberalism and the Russian transition, Review of International Political Economy, 20:2, 332-362,
  8. M.T. Law and Sukkoo Kim, The rise of American Regulatory state: a view from the progressive era in Handbook on the Politics of Regulation, Edited by David Levi-Faur, 2013
  9. Pierangelo Toninelli, From private to public to private again: a long-term perspective on nationalization, Análise Social, vol. XLIII (4.º), 2008, 675-692
  10. P.H. Lindert, Private welfare and the welfare state, in The Cambridge history of capitalism, Vol. II, The Spread of Capitalism from 1848 to the Present, edited by L. Neal and J.G. Williamson

Teaching methods

Traditional lectures with the support of power point presentations

Assessment methods

Exams will be held according to the following format:

Mid-term (40 minutes)
12 multiple choice questions (1 point each; only one right answer, no penalties for wrong answers) and 2 essay questions (max 10 points each)

Full exam (80 minutes)
24 multiple choice (half point each; only one right answer, no penalties for wrong answers) and 4 essay questions (max 5 points each)

The exam will be based on assigned readings you can find in the previous box and the power point presentations.

In case online exams will be envisaged by the University of Bologna, the structure of the written exam is the same. The exam will be run through Zoom and Exams Online (EOL). Detailed instructions on how to manage and hand in the online exam are available on the course page on the VIRTUALE platform.

The maximum possible score is 30 cum laude, in case all anwers are correct, complete and formally rigorous.

The grade is graduated as follows:

<18 failed
18-23 sufficient
24-27 good
28-30 very good
30 e lode excellent

Office hours

See the website of Patrizia Battilani

See the website of Mauro Carboni