Economic Controversies - EC538

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
5 15 (7.5) DR WJC Collier


EC304 Principles of Economics, EC305/EC306 Mathematics for Economics Mode A or B, EC309 Statistics for Economics





This module teaches you the skills of economic reasoning and argument by exposing you to critical debate within the discipline. It is designed for students who have completed Stage 1 Economics.

The module draws on current and past controversies to give you a critical insight into theoretical and empirical differences of opinion and approach to economics in the real world. The curriculum provides an insight into the academic and professional development of the discipline, and provides opportunities to develop a range of highly transferable skills and lay the foundations to many of the skills required for modules taught at Stage 3.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

2 lectures
4 workshops
2 small group tutorials
2 drop-in sessions

Method of assessment

100% Coursework:
40% Non-technical summaries (1,000 words) (2 x 20%)
60% Extended essay (4,000 words)

Preliminary reading

• M Blaug (2009), Economic Theory in Retrospect, 5th edition, CUP
• M Blaug (1992), The Methodology of Economics or How Economists Explain, CUP

The following journals will be used where relevant surveys of the literature for each topic are identifiable:

• Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association
• Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association
• Journal of Economic Surveys, John Wiley and Sons
• Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press
• Economic Policy, Oxford University Press
• Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies

Other journal articles, book chapters and research publications (NIESR, IPPR, IEA, pamphlets) are included in the assigned readings and/or referenced in plenary lectures. In each instance, students should be able to obtain the readings freely using available electronic resources.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will:

Be practised in the the application of economic models and theory
Be able to understand and abstract the essential features of an economic controversy or issue
Have developed the ability to assimilate and critically evaluate economic issues in depth
Be able to synthesize and critically compare different economic analyses of an economic issue
Be able to construct coherent economic arguments by making reference to relevant theories and empirical evidence
Be practised in developing logical and coherent economic arguments verbally and in writing
Have developed economic and independent learning skills

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