Economic Challenges


Course Objective

This course provides an overview of the development of economic thought
as well as an insight into the relevance of economic theories for
important current economic issues. In addition, students receive a broad
introduction to the various fields of study of Economics and Business

After successfully completing this course, the student can:

Academic Skills:
- explain the economic way of thinking;
- identify fundamental questions in economics;
- place economics as a discipline in relation to other social sciences.

Bridging Theory and Practice - Knowledge:
- describe the most important economic concepts;
- explain the role of different institutions in the economic process;
- identify the main differences and similarities between various
economic schools;
- appoint the different fields of study of the program.

Bridging Theory and Practice - Application:
- understand various forms of market and government failure;
- analyze current policy proposals from an economic perspective.

Broadening Your Horizon:
- name the most important works of prominent thinkers in economic
- situate economic theories in a social, political and historical

Course Content

Economic theories do not come out of thin air. Crucial for this course
is the insight that economists, both in the present and in the past,
respond to the social, political and economic circumstances of their
time. Their theories and policy proposals are not always in agreement
with each other, which gives rise to the emergence of different
paradigms and competing schools of thought. Studying the development of
economic thought in its historical context is an excellent way to
appreciate the richness of economics as a scientific tradition.

Each lecture starts with the discussion of an important period in
economic history, starting from classical antiquity up to modern times.
Each lecture ends with the discussion of a current 'economic challenge'.
The following topics will be discussed: climate change, markets and
morality, Brexit, limits on growth, aging, sweatshops, market failure,
influence of advertising, the Euro crisis, robotisation, nuclear threat
and big data. The relevance of the theory to the contemporary debate is
always demonstrated. Along the way, we introduce the most important
works of leading thinkers in economics such as Adam Smith, Karl Marx,
Alfred Marshall and John Maynard Keynes. The fact that their ideas about
the correct way of research and policy-making differed greatly from each
other underlines the philosophy of this course that tackling important
social questions from different angles promotes the understanding of
what economics is all about.

Teaching Methods

4 hours of lectures per week + 2 hours of tutorials per week + Q&A
lecture at the end of the course

Method of Assessment

Written exam (90%) and weekly tutorial assignments (10%)

Entry Requirements



- Robert L. Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times
And Ideas Of The Great Economic Thinkers, Touchstone 7th Revised edition
(August 1999)
- Selection of original texts via Canvas
- Lecture slides via Canvas
- Glossary via Canvas

Recommended background knowledge


General Information

Course Code E_EBE1_EC
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 100
Language of Tuition English
Faculty School of Business and Economics
Course Coordinator dr. R.I. Luttens
Examiner dr. R.I. Luttens
Teaching Staff

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture, Study Group
Target audiences

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