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Economics: Europe


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


Building on students’ experience with macroeconomic theory gained in the previous semester, this course is designed to provide an area-specific focus, enabling them to see how their theoretical economic knowledge has played out in recent European history. This course is designed to provide an overview of economic and economic policy developments in Europe since the interwar period, with an additional emphasis on how European developments have impacted and been impacted by global economic and economic policy forces. It also describes Europe as an unequalled crucible where radical and violent economic experimentation during the 20th century nearly tore the continent—and indeed the world—apart. The course shows how the turmoil and experimentation of the 1920s and 30s led to a new set of institutions being established in the aftermath of WWII, and the rise of an unprecedented welfare state in many western European countries. From the 1950s, western European countries a ‘boom’ in living standards, which has been maintained despite fluctuating business cycles. Throughout this period, however, Europe remained deeply divided, with the Iron Curtain, ongoing poverty and frequent unrest in the European fringes, and Franco’s hold on Spain long giving western Europeans the sense that they were living in a sort of ‘gated community’ of prosperity. Even so, the advanced European economies remained continually aware of the pros and cons of the American capitalistic model, and frequently sought to define themselves against the spectacle of American greatness and American poverty. The result has been a striking variety of capitalisms which likewise has few equals within any global region as compact as Europe.
The fall of the Wall in 1989 seemed to usher in a new era of opportunity for Europe, which was crowned by the Euro and the EU. The crash of 2008, however, threatens to undo much of the ‘dream of union.’ Has the second era of globalization indeed come to an end? What does this mean for the Schengen dream of Europe’s economic elites? What is best for Europe and the people who live here? How do we define and answer these questions in terms of prosperity?
Having completed this course, it is hoped that students will look back on it as a foundational moment in their understanding of the historical and ongoing importance of European economic power as a major player in global human development.

Course objectives

Students learn to develop a basic familiarity with the key milestones in European economic policy and development from the 1920s to the present. In order to do this, they will become increasingly familiar with some of the basic concepts of macroeconomic and microeconomic theory and policy. They will be simultaneously applying these concepts to the particular case study of their chosen geographical area. They will learn to critically evaluate and interpret European ‘success’ and ‘failures,’ which requires a familiarity with some of the principal lines of interpretation and debate. In order to gain this knowledge, they will gain an introduction to the interested parties both inside and outside of Europe who have sought to use this story as grist for their own ideological mill. Students will thus learn to develop a critical faculty which is capable of seeing beyond economic headlines, and making informed decisions about the deeper causes of these movement.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; tri-weekly tutorials.

Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform the tutor of the course in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Atending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks: 24 hrs

  • Atending attending tutorials 2 hours per three weeks: 8 hrs

  • Assessment hours (midterms and final exam): 4 hrs

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 68 hrs

  • Time for completing assignments, preparation classes and exams: 36 hrs

Assessment method


Tutorial (includes):
-Oral Presentation
-Short Essay (1,500-2000 words)

Midterm Exam:

  • Written examination with essay questions

Final exam:

  • Written examination with essay questions


Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40 %

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis

Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Course Readings (required):

  • D. Aldcroft, The European Economy 1914-2000 (Routledge, 2001).

  • B. Eichengreen, The European Economy Since 1945: Coordinated Capitalism and Beyond (Princeton, 2008).

Course Readings (reference):

  • Berend, An Economic History of 20th century Europe (Cambridge, 2006).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


For tutorials
Dr. J. Fynn-Paul