The world economy: Industrial revolution to the present EC2199

This course surveys the development and integration of the world economy from the Industrial Revolution to the present day.

Focus is on the major processes that have determined economic growth: technological change, demographic transitions, trade and finance, and institutional development. The course also explores the unique paths of development for different regions of the world.

Topics covered

  • Technology, Innovation and Systems of Production
  • The Great Depression & The Economics of World Wars
  • Women and Economic History
  • Import Substitution Industrialization and Economic Development in Latin America
  • New Economic Powers: China and India
  • The Economy and the Environment.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the course successfully, you should be able to demostrate:

  • how economic growth can be shaped by markets, states and geography
  • how the process of globalization has unfolded
  • how some countries managed to ‘catch-up’, and in some cases, overtake, leading economies
  • what role technological change has played in the development of economies
  • how the organization of economies can has changed over time
  • why inequality persists, both between and within countries
  • why some economic polices been more successful than others
  • how financial crises emerge, spread and recede.


Unseen written exam (3 hrs).

Essential reading

  • Stephen Broadberry and Kevin O’Rourke (eds), The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe. Volume 2: 1870 to the present. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)
  • Stephen Broadberry and Kyoji Fukao, The Cambridge Economic History of the Modern World. Volume 2: 1870 to the present. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021)
  • Barry Eichengreen. Globalising Capital: A History of the International Monetary System. (Princeton University Press, 2019)

Course information sheets

Download the course information sheets from the LSE website.