We offer two main courses in economic history at SDU in Odense, one at the bachelor level, “An Introduction to Economic and Business History” (course description), and a two week summer school at the master’s level, “Historical Perspectives on Current Economics Issues: Big Data and Applications” (course description)
The aim of “An Introduction to Economic and Business History” is to equip students with a basic understanding of the main topics in economic and business history, in particular through examples taken from the economic history of Europe. An understanding of history is increasingly being recognized as crucial for economists, for example through the lessons for developing countries today from past industrialization experiences, and from previous financial crises such as the Great Depression of the 1930s for today's challenges. Economic history describes how economies have developed over time, and how economic theory and methodology can help us understand and explain this. Business history teaches how firms have developed over time, and how ‘the firm’ has interacted with the evolution of economic, technological and political systems.
The aim of “Historical Perspectives on Current Economics Issues: Big Data and Applications” is to introduce a selection of themes from economic history with a focus on understanding how history impacts on current economic outcomes and debates. The idea is thus not simply to gain an understanding of economic history for its own sake, but most importantly a realization that it is not possible to have a full understanding of the world economy today without knowing how we got there. For example, only history can teach us why economic disparities across and within countries persist. Also certain questions such as how mobile a society is across generations or how fast immigrants assimilate over time can only be answered using “big data” (for example complete individual-level census records). The aim is also to prepare students for writing a masters’ thesis which explicitly recognizes the role of history for current economic outcomes and debates, as well as the importance of big data. This course features lectures from a leading guest professor, and their lectures will constitute the main theme of the summer school. Additional lectures will be given by local faculty, and will explore other themes in economic history as well as methods for analyzing big data such as machine learning.
We also offer a number of other relevant courses as well as supervise bachelor and master’s theses for which we have prepared a catalogue of potential topics for students which is available on request. These topics give you the opportunity to work on a topic suggested by experienced researchers with the potential to make an impact on the field of economic history. Finally, we supervise a number of PhD students, whose projects you can find here.