87462 - History Of Economic Thought

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims at the following learning objectives: a) to learn and discuss, at an advanced undergraduate level, how the economic thought has evolved over time, introducing students to the critical comparison of the contributions of the main schools of economics: the classical, the marginalist revolution and its application to the theories of general and partial equilibrium, the current macroeconomic debate between the neo-classical and the Keynesian school; b) to understand specific contributions on themes of economic analysis and concerning figures of economists still important in the international economic debate at the international level, through selected readings of their texts and linking the different positions of economic thought to philosophical foundations and political implications.

Course contents

The course will discuss how different visions of political economy and schools of economic thought have evolved over time and how they related to the social, political, economic and philosophical dimensions of their times.

By the end of the course, you will have developed critical thinking skills and will be able to analyze and discuss the fundamental characteristics of, and differences among, the principal schools of economic thought and political economy, and the contexts from which they emerged.


Mandatory textbook:

Roger E. Backhouse (2002), The Penguin History of Economics, available also on Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=roger+backhouse&i=digital-text&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

You are also responsible for all of the information contained in the following tutorial on plagiarism: https://lib.usm.edu/plagiarism_tutorial/whatis_plagiarism.html

You must complete the tutorial and successfully pass the quizzes and final test in the tutorial. The tutorial's contents may appear on the final exam.

The syllabus and additional material will be available on Virtuale.

Teaching methods

Lectures and class discussion. Depending on the number of students attending the course, class presentations by students on specific topics may be organized, in agreement with the instructor.

Assessment methods

Grades will be assigned on the basis of a written exam (for students attending class) or an oral exam (for non-attending students). The exam will evaluate your ability to explain and discuss critically the facts and analytical questions examined during the class lectures and in the bibliographic references.

Any academic misconduct (e.g., plagiarism, cheating, the use of unauthorized notes, the use of material prepared by others, etc.) will result in a grade penalty, a failing grade, and referral to the University Committee on Academic Misconduct, which may result in severe sanctions (e.g., suspension for one year).


Office hours

See the website of Michele Alacevich