Undergraduate

Listed below are the courses offered in the fields of history of economics, economic history, and the philosophy and methodology of economics.

The HOPE Group welcomes students interested in writing an honors thesis on a topic in any of these fields. Students who do an honors thesis typically work independently, supervised by member of the HOPE Group.  For further details on graduating with honors at Duke, consult general information on honors in Economics.

The HOPE Group is an active participant in the interdepartmental certificate program in Philosophy, Politics, Economics.

Undergraduate Courses in the History of Economics, Economic History, and the Philosophy and Methodology of Economics

For information on Curriculum 2000 codes, prerequisites, and cross-listings, please contact the EcoTeach Center at 660-1881.

214S. Economics, Society, and Morality in 18th Century Thought. Explorations of eighteenth-century topics with a modern counterpart, chiefly (a) self-interest, liberal society, and economic incentive; and (b) the passions, sociality, civic virtue, common moral sensibilities, and the formation of taste and opinion. Original texts: for example, Bacon, Newton, Shaftesbury, Mandeville, Hutcheson, Hume, Smith, Hogarth, Burke, Cato's Letters, Federalist Papers, Jane Austen. Stress on integrating economic and political science perspectives. Instructors: De Marchi and Grant (Political Science).

302. Introduction to Economic History. A survey of Western economic history: population, production, exchange, and institutions; from antiquity to the present. Instructor: Craig or staff.

311. History of Economic Thought. Approaches to economic problems from Aristotle to Keynes, emphasizing certain models and doctrines—their origins, relevance, and evolution. Readings from Mun, Quesnay, Adam Smith, Malthus, Ricardo, Marx, Walras, Veblen, and Keynes. 

312. Adam Smith and the System of Natural Liberty. The writings of Adam Smith, including close readings of The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and selections from Mandeville, Hutcheson, Hume, Quesnay, Turgot, and Bentham. Focus on eighteenth-century views on the nature of society and the origins of prosperity, the luxury debate, and links between natural philosophy (including medical thought), and moral philosophy. Instructor: De Marchi.

313. The Uses of Economics. The various ways economics is used in contemporary society: in the scholarly community, government, private sector, civil society, other disciplines, and popular culture. Readings in original texts and interpretative commentaries. 

314. History of Modern Macroeconomics: From Keynes to the Present. How did modern macroeconomics come to be? An examination of some of the key developments in macroeconomics from the 1930s through the 1980s. Case studies of the evolution of macroeconomics in political and social context. Topics include the theory of unemployment in the Great Depression; growth theory and the rise of business cycle modeling in the aftermath of World War II; the tradeoff between inflation and unemployment in the 1950s and ‘60s; the debate over monetarism in the age of stagflation; and the rise of the New Classical Macroeconomics in its aftermath. Instructor: Hoover.

315S. Hayek and the Austrian Tradition Fundamental writings in the Austrian tradition will be explored, with an emphasis on the writings of the Nobel laureate economist and social philosopher F.A. Hayek. Instructor: Caldwell

316S. The History of Modern Economics. This class generally concerns the history of 20th century economics, focusing attention on the development of the discipline as a mainstream discourse in the United States. One of the particular concerns of the course will be to suggest the ways, and the history of how, a broad and varied set of approaches and practices early in the 20th century evolved, by late in the 20th century, to a single mainstream, now called neoclassical economics or some such variant, and a variety of marginalized discourses mostly critical of neoclassical economics. Instructor: Weintraub.

318S. Economic Science Studies. Links between science and technology studies and problems in the history, philosophy, methodology, anthropology, sociology, and rhetoric of economics. Examination of questions like: What counts as ''fact'' in economics? Who decides, and by what processes of negotiation? How gendered is economics? Naming, constructing and representing the economy. Issues of objectivity, performativity, and quantification in economics. Close readings of a variety of texts in Science Studies and Economic Science Studies. Instructor: Weintraub.

319. (Same as Phil 345). The Philosophy and Methodology of Economics. Economic methodology and the philosophy of science with a focus on its applications to economics. Includes classic contributions of economists and philosophers as well as a variety of recent topics at the intersection of philosophy and economics, such as models, causality, reductionism, and realism. Instructor: Hoover.

390S. Selected Topics in Economics: Economics and the Bloomsbury Group. We will examine economics in society by exploring in depth the place of this discipline in the affairs of the Bloomsbury Group, a remarkable association of artists and intellectuals whose lives spanned the first half of the 20th Century. The best-known central figures were Virginia and Leonard Woolf, E. M. Forster, Clive Bell, Desmond McCarthy, Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, and Roger Fry. Keynes was probably the most important economist of the century and the father of macroeconomics. Roger Fry wrote extensively on the art market, and Leonard Woolf was a leading Fabian Socialist concerned about imperialism and the institutions of the world economy.

Economic ideas were sprinkled widely throughout the Bloomsbury Group's output: in the creative writings of Virginia Woolf and Forster, in the essays of Clive Bell and Desmond McCarthy, even in the works of art. Students in the seminar will have to come to grips with economics as an influential discipline in society. This will be a chance to see how the subject looks when embedded in the humanities and the arts as well as in politics. We will ask: What are the interactions, the tensions, the potential complementarity of economics with other subjects? 

390S. Selected Topics in Economics: Keynes in Context. This seminar will examine the life and work of one of the most important figures of the twentieth century, John Maynard Keynes. The context of the development of Keynes's thought in late Victorian Cambridge, the influence of Moore and the Apostles, and Alfred Marshall, sets the stage for an examination of Keynes's emerging role as government advisor, journalist, teacher, and economist. The seminar will study, in addition to his economic writings, his connections to the Bloomsbury Group and his non-economic writings, both political and biographical. The emergent focus will be Keynes's influential General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, its intellectual background, and its consequences. Instructor: Weintraub.