10933 Economic History 1

Credits: 6 advanced credits in Social Sciences/Economics, Humanities/History
Prerequisites: 36 credits, including Macroeconomics I, Macroeconomics II. Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.
Course development: Prof. Joel Mokyr, Amira Ofer (authors), Dr. Dror Goldberg (study guide), Ruth Ramot (editor)
Consultants: Dr. Dror Goldberg, Dr. Karine van der Beek
Objectives: The course surveys the economic history of the world, with an emphasis on Europe, in the past few centuries. The main goal of the course of to explain the unprecedented economic growth of the western world since the Industrial Revolution began 250 years ago. This growth is what led to the enormous gaps in wealth between the western world and most of the rest of the world. The course offers a variety of explanations for the beginning of modern growth, the conditions for its existence, and its ability to persist. The starting point of the course is the view that such fascinating phenomena cannot be explained by using narrow economic models centered around the production function, but wider factors must be taken into account – political, institutional, cultural, religious, technological, and geographical. The course emphasizes a comparative point of view that tries to explain why other cultures (like China), which also had such growth potential, did not succeed in realizing it until recently. The course also examines the economic aspects of the great events of the 20th century, such as the World Wars, the Great Depression, and the rise and fall of Communism.


  • The European economy from the Middle Ages until the Industrial Revolution
  • The Industrial Revolution in Britain
  • The Industrial Revolution in other countries
  • The great events of the 20th century
  • The late 20th century and developments in some non-western economies

1Students may write a seminar paper in this course, although it is not required.