Why Some Countries are Rich: An Economic History of the World

7.5 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 2EH370

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Economic History G1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 9 October 2017
Responsible department
Department of Economic History

Entry requirements

General entry requirements

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course the student is expected to be able to:

  • describe the economic transformation of the world from prehistoric times to present times
  • describe the organisation of the contemporary global economy
  • describe nations' economic systems
  • describe economic, social and political theories and factors that explain economic transformation over time


The course deals with economic transformation from a global perspective from prehistoric times to present times, but with an emphasis on the development from the European Middle Ages and onward, as well as the economic history of the Western world. The starting point is how the global economy of today is structured and how it works. The global economy is seen as a system, and its different parts from entire continents to local communities are discussed. Theories of which factors that influence economic transformation over time are presented. The economic history of the world is described with help of a number of factors as structuring tools. Concepts that have been used to characterise different periods and parts of the world become central to this description. The course also deals with important aspects of the economic system such as households, companies and politics.


Teaching consists of lectures and seminars in English.


Examination is both written examination and through active participation in seminars.