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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. The turmoil and economic experimentation of the 1920s and 30s led to a new set of institutions being established in the aftermath of WWII. Since that time, western European countries witnessed an unprecedented ‘boom’ in living standards, which has been maintained despite boom and bust cycles. Throughout this period, however, Europe remained deeply devided, 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 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, threatened, and still threatens, to undo much of the ‘dream of union.’ What is best for Europe? How do we define and answer this question in terms of prosperity? Having completed this course, it is hoped that students will additionally 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.

Course objectives

  • understanding of key European economic institutions: e.g., , EC, ECB,

  • understanding of key market components: e.g., bond market, interest rates

  • understanding of monetary policy: e.g., balance of payments, devaluation, M

  • understanding of economic regulatory tools and their history

  • understanding key debates in recent European economic history and policy

  • understanding of non-capitalist alternatives tried in Europe

  • influence of politics on economics

  • critical thinking, writing, studying, information management, presentation skills


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Lecture and tutorials

Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Course Load

Lectures: 24 hours
Tutorials: 8 hours
Lecture Prep: 36 hours
Tutorial Prep: 16 hours
Paper (handed in during tutorial): (research/writing): 20 hours
Tutorial Presentation prep: 6 hours
Exam Study (15 hrs each): 30 hours
Total: 140 hrs.

Assessment method

Tutorials 30%;
Midterm exam 30%;
Final exam 40%

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.

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


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).

Additional text (recommended):

Course Readings (reference):

  • I. 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.


Dr. J. Fynn-Paul, email