Professor John Munro passed away on December 23, 2013. This site is maintained and kept online as an archive. For more infomation please visit the Centre for Medieval Studies

Professor (Emeritus) John H. Munro passed away December 23, 2013

Department of Economics
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G7

Updated: 7 March 2013


The Economic History of Modern Europe to 1914

For the academic year 2012 - 2013

Brief Course Description:

This is a course on comparative economic development and especially comparative industrialization and urbanization in modern Europe from the late seventeenth century up to (but not including) World War I and the Russian Revolution (1917). Unlike my ECO 301Y course, which is basically thematic and topical in organization, this course is based on the nation state: in view of the importance of governments and state economic policies (fiscal, monetary, commercial, social, etc.) in modern European economic development. Five nation states are covered, up to 1914 (i.e., to World War I): the Dutch Republic (the Republic of the United Provinces, which became the Kingdom of the Netherlands, after 1815), Great Britain (Ireland is omitted), France, Germany, and Russia.

The first term is devoted to the Dutch (chiefly by independent readings) and the English/British Industrial Revolution. The second term, completing the British story up to 1870, then examines the industrialization of France, Germany, and Russia in the nineteenth century (from the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914). It will conclude with a survey of major changes in the British economy from 1870 to 1914, to be viewed in the light of the new foreign competition from the major continental countries, and also the United States of America. We will see, in part thanks to the combination of Free Trade and the Gold Standard, Great Britain enjoyed by far the highest standard of living in Europe, on the eve of World War I (if lower than the American standard of living).

Within each country or nation state, our examination of economic development and industrialization will consider, first, market integration and state economic policies; then demographic developments (population growth and urbanization); and then we shall consider the changes, and the interactions of those changes, within each of the major economic sectors: agriculture, commerce (domestic and foreign trade), banking and finance, and then industrialization itself (in the mining and manufacturing industries).

The course will also consider the social consequences of economic changes, especially those of 19th-century urban industrialization -- and a major essay topic (each year) is devoted to the Standard of Living Debate during the Industrial Revolution. Indeed, a major issue in this course is the relevance of the Kuznet's Curve (named for a former Nobel prize winner in economics): does economic growth and modern industrialization necessary follow a U-shaped curve, so that such growth necessarily involves a transfer income from the lower to the upper strata, depressing living standards of the working classes in particular, who only much later enjoy the ultimate fruits of industrialization, in far higher living standards.


My Office Hours (John Munro): from mid-September 2012

The Teaching Assistant (TA) for ECO 303Y:

Important Web Links for this Course:

Information on Lectures in ECO 303Y

The Course Outline and Other Important Web Documents for Eco. 303Y1 in 2012 - 2013:

Note that these web documents are posted in PDF [portable document format] or in html (but not both). The posted lectures can, in fact, be accessed only the HTML document for this site.

BIBLIOGRAPHIES: for essays in undergraduate economic history courses

The bibliography lists and the individual bibliographies, in both short and long versions, are accessible in both html and pdf formats. But in order to retrieve the individual bibliographies you must use the hmtl files below, for the A and B essay topics, below, given in both the short and long formats. Within each list chosen, click on the highlighted and underlinded topic, in either the html or pdf format. Since it is not possible to download such files from a pdf document, no pdf version of these bibliographies is provided below. On the other hand, from the html lists below you are best advised to select the pdf version of the bibliograpy files, since the text and layout of the bibliographies are much clearer in that format; and indeed the statistical appendices can generally be read only in pdf format. Bibliographies in the short-format, usually in two pages, contain the key readings and a few questions to guide you in formulating your essays.

Bibliographic Guide to Some Readings in Modern European Economic History: chiefly to be used for term essays.

Formats and Other General Observations . Also in pdf format .

Recommended Readings for A and B List Essays in ECO 303Y. The Economic History of Modern Europe, to 1914

See also EH.Net [Economic History Network] Recommended list of readings in European Economic History , prepared by Professor Timothy Guinanne of Yale University (for EH.Teach).

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