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Surey of American Economic History



1 Moritz Schularick, JFKI GV: Survey of American Economic History (2 SWS) This course will give students an introduction to American economic history from colonial times to the late 20th century. We will discuss the economics of the American Revolution, analyze the forces driving economic development after independence, and discuss contentious topics in 19th century economic history such as the economics of slavery. As we move into the 20th century, the economic instability of the interwar period, culminating in the economic collapse in the Great Depression, will be an area of particular interest. We will conclude by looking at the changing role of government since WW2, discuss the significance of the recent increase in income inequality and the origins of the financial crisis of 2007/2008. Throughout the seminar we will aim to apply economic reasoning to historical questions using empirical approaches whenever possible. The main textbook will be Atack and Passell, A New Economic View of American History, 2nd ed. Some basic texts will also be taken from Walton and Rockoff, History of the American Economy. The seminar will be taught in English if the participation of international students is thereby encouraged. Essays can be written in German or English. Ability and willingness to read English texts is quintessential in any case. Readings will be made available on the institute’s e-learning platform. Terms and conditions apply: every other week, you are required to write a one-page paper in which you summarize and respond to the week's readings. During each class meeting, I will ask at least one student to read their response aloud. These papers will therefore offer a recap of the material covered in the readings and an initial platform for discussion. All responses will be collected and graded. Because these assignments are designed to prepare you and your classmates for thorough engagement in each week's reading and lecture, late papers will not be accepted. There will also be a final exam at the end of the semester. Students wishing to participate in this seminar need to register early with the department of economics (R 232, Tel. 838 536 03, economics@jfki.fu-berlin.de). A detailed list of seminar topics and an introductory reading package will be available to interested students in September. Literature: Atack, Jeremy and Peter Passell (1994) A New Economic View of American History. 2nd ed., New York [a.o.]: W. W. Norton. Walton, Gary and Hugh Rockoff (2005) History of the American Economy. 10th ed., Mason, OH: Thomson South Western.