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Economy: Europe


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.
Limited places are also open for exchange students.
Please note: this course takes place in The Hague. Traveling between University buildings from Leiden to The Hague may take about 45 minutes.


The course “Economy: Europe” is designed with two goals in mind. First, to deepen your understanding of basic economic concepts introduced in your Introduction to Economics course. Concepts such as fiscal and monetary policy, unemployment, GDP growth, currency regimes, interest rates, and corporate structure will become more familiar. The second goal is to apply these concepts to the ‘real world’ setting of Europe. In this way, your understanding of what Europe is, will gain an all-important economic dimension. What exactly is a currency union and how does it function? What is a common market? What are their strengths and weaknesses, and what are possible alternatives? For politicians today, the economic questions are by far the most important, and yet many students graduate with little or no understanding of them.

For you to understand what the European Economy is today, we need to go back several decades to see how this economy evolved. We start at the interwar period: a period of massive economic experimentation, innovation, turmoil and tragedy which would strongly shape the architects of the European Union into the 1980s and 90s. Earlier in the twentieth century, many intellectuals believed that communism, or even fascism, was a better economic system than ‘capitalism’: that these would bring the greatest economic prosperity to the majority of Europeans. When World War II destroyed the economy of Western Europe, and Russian occupation engulfed Eastern Europe in the great (and tragic) Communist experiment, the United States stepped in to shore up capitalism in the West. Under the Bretton Woods system, Western Europe became one of the most prosperous regions in the world. But Europeans remained wary of an American capitalistic model which brought wealth at the expense of waste and misery for many. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 seemed to usher in a new era of opportunity for Europe, an era crowned by the advent of the Euro and the European Union. But the crash of 2008, threatened, and still threatens, to undo much of the ‘dream of union.’ The free movement of labour that enshrined in the Schengen agreements has unexpectedly became the catalyst for mass migration from outside Europe. What does this mean for European prosperity?

The story of the European economy over the last 100 years is thus one of the most important stories that you can study if you seek to understand what Europe is and what it means in the modern world. By the end of the course you will be better equipped to answer the all-important question: What economic policies are best for Europe today? It is hoped that this course will make you much better informed on economic policy in general, and the stakes involved when economies become dysfunctional.

Course objectives

Students have:

  • Acquired an overview of the historical and contemporary economic developments and political economy dynamics in their chosen area and deepened their existing knowledge and understanding of different economic systems, economic institutions, economic processes and actors in the different regions / countries of the region, using the concepts acquired during the courses Principles of Economics and Foundations of Political Economy.

  • Been acquainted with academic debates on selected topics in the specific region.


Visit MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


Lectures are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Weekly lectures will cover issues both inside and outside the readings.


Tutorials are held once every three weeks, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. With online education, it is more important than ever to maintain communication and stay in touch with your study groups. For this reason, if you are unable to attend a session, it is required that you inform your tutor in advance. Please note that being absent at any tutorial session may have a negative impact on the grade of the assignment due for that particular tutorial session. This is at the discretion of the tutor.

Assessment method


  • Midterm Exam:

Written examination with short open questions and (up to) 50% multiple choice questions.

  • Final Exam:

    Written examination with short open questions and (up to) 50% multiple choice questions.


Partial grade Weighing
Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40%

End Grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of Tutorial grade, Midterm Exam grade, and Final Exam grade.

  • The weighted average of the Midterm Exam grade and the Final Exam grade needs to be 5.5 or higher.

  • This means that failing Exam grades cannot be compensated with a high Tutorial grade.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or the weighted average of Midterm- and Final Exams is lower than 5.5, there is a possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier Midterm- and Final Exam grades. No resit for the tutorial is possible.
Please note that if the Resit Exam grade is lower than 5.5, you will not pass the course, regardless of the tutorial grade.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2020 – 2021.

Exam review and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.

Reading list

The readings for the course will be listed in the syllabus, which will be available on Brightspace before the start of the course.


  • Enrolment through uSis for Tutorials and Lectures is mandatory.

  • Students will be enrolled for Exams by the Administration Office, as long as they have a valid Tutorial enrolment.

  • General information about uSis is available on the website.


Dr. J. Fynn-Paul

When contacting lecturers or tutors, please include your full name, student number, and tutorial group number.
Please use your University email-address (uMail) when communicating with any person or department within Leiden University.

Student Affairs Office for BA International Studies