a topic in the economic history of Europe.

This assignment requires you to write a 6-10 page paper, including bibliography and references, on a topic in the history of economic thought. The proposal, which includes the sources that you propose to consult N.B. The proposal is not a summary of the paper.


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What topic should you choose?

Whatever you want—so long as it is on some aspect of the history of economic thought, including

· The life and work of one particular economist who did most or all of his/her work prior to 1939 (e.g., Adam Smith or J. M. Keynes) or other writer on economics (provided he or she made a significant contribution to the debate, e.g., Bernard Mandeville).

· A school of thought in one country (e.g., institutional economics in the U.S.).

· Some combination of the two—an economist and a school of thought (e.g., Knut Wicksell and the Swedish school of economics).

· The development of economics in one particular country over a period of time (e.g., economic science in the U.S. during the Progressive Era, approximately 1890 to 1920).

· The development of an approach over a period of time (e.g., the marginalist revolution from 1871 to 1914—or you might wish to include precursors like William Forster Lloyd).

· The development of a concept (e.g., division of labor, from Antiquity to Adam Smith and beyond, or the theory of comparative cost (comparative advantage), associated with James Mill, Robert Torrens, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill).

· How a topic has been discussed and analyzed by economists (e.g., slavery, land, intellectual property, profit, high wages), and you would likely set start and finish dates for the discussion (e.g., slavery from Adam Smith to John Stuart Mill, economic thought and the Irish question, 1817-1870, what economists had to say about British rule in India, or underconsumptionist theories from Mandeville to Keynes), including a topic specifically to do with economic policy (e.g., the tariff question in U.S. history—tariffs for protection or tariffs for revenue).

· How an event has been discussed and analyzed by different economists (e.g., the Great Depression by F. A. Hayek of the Austrian school and J. M. Keynes of the UK Cambridge school).

Be advised that you may not choose an economist whose work was mainly or entirely after the Second World War, or an event that occurred after the Second World War—so no Milton Friedman or Great Recession—or a topic that only arose after that war—so no Internet. And, although it is important to describe the historical context in which your chosen economist is writing, remember that you are not writing a paper in economic history, but in the history of economic thought. My advice would be to choose a topic that is narrow and focused—not broad and diffuse.



How to research the topic

To get you started, consult Alessandro Roncaglia’s A Brief History of Economic Thought (2107).

Then then check out the resources in Online Resources: An Introduction (revised 10.04.2020). (I sent you the first version at the beginning of the semester.)

(Don’t rely on OneSearch, the search engine on our library website.)

And it’s okay to use discriminating and thoughtful use of websites containing worthwhile material (but be sure to cite correctly what you find—full URL and date visited).



Instructions for writing the paper


The paper should be typed in Times New Roman 12-point font (and use italic, bold or underline sparingly) and double-spaced (like this sentence).

The paper should be 1500-2500 words in length (not including the bibliography) with one-inch margins top and bottom, left and right. Your full name and the word count (not including the bibliography) should appear on the cover sheet. Large, clearly labeled diagrams may be used where appropriate. A bibliography and/or references typed in a consistent format should be included at the end of the paper. A 1500-2500 word paper (not including a cover sheet, diagrams, and bibliography) would fill 5-8 pages depending on the spacing between paragraphs.

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