Module code: ECO2060

Module Overview

Financial and business history examines the evolution of the modern economy via theories of the firm. It covers organization, finance, management and entrepreneurship using a historical perspective to illuminate how these factors have changed over time. The content focuses on the role of technological and institutional changes in shaping the constraints and opportunities faced by firms, and how firms have adapted their strategies in response. 

Module provider


Module Leader

SIMS Peter (Economics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 62

Lecture Hours: 22

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 33

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Content includes, but is not limited to: the concept and role of the entrepreneur; the historical origins of modern organisational forms of business; the principal-agent problem and methods of ownership and management; the evolution of banking in Britain; nationalization and government ownership of business; international and multinational business organization; patents and intellectual property regimes.  

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 1 30
Coursework COURSEWORK 2 70

Alternative Assessment

Not applicable

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate understanding of the theories and themes of financial and business history, to assess their validity and application to a variety of historical cases and circumstances, and to critically evaluate arguments made in the business history literature. This foundation is extended to a consideration of the relevance of various economic concepts in the understanding of the relationship between finance, technological change and business organization, and how this relationship has differed between economies and over time.

One of the key skills students will develop in this module is academic writing, building on skills developed at level 4, and towards the level of mastery needed at level 6, 7, and for employability.

Therefore, the summative assessment for this module consists of two writing assignments:

  • a midterm essay  

  • a final essay 

The assessment strategy is intended to provide students with opportunities to apply their knowledge, synthesis and critical thinking skills honed during seminar discussions, with sufficient time for additional independent reading, writing, editing and referencing. The essays test understanding of the module content, as well as their ability to write well-reasoned arguments using evidence and ideas from a variety of sources. Detailed feedback for the midterm essay will help students focus on areas for improvement for the final essay.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive verbal feedback during lectures and tutorials through direct questioning. After the class tests, the test questions, solutions, and main feedback will be discussed in class. All this feedback will help students to judge their own performance and prepare for the final exam. Practice exams will provide the students with guided learning so they can identify issues they may be having with the content by comparing their answers to the provided solutions before the tests. Readings from the textbook will also be assigned so the students can see the material presented in a different way since breadth of perspective is typically helpful. Feedback on the writing assignment will also help the students to identify any misconceptions. In addition, students will be encouraged to attend student consultation hours of the teaching staff to receive further individual verbal feedback.


Module aims

  • To familiarise students with the ways in which both micro-economic and other analytical tools can illuminate our understanding of the historical development of financial markets and business.
  • To provide an overview of economic history from a macroeconomic perspective
  • To teach students to express that understanding in written arguments

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Display knowledge of the chronology of the development of finance and business from the Industrial Revolution to modern times KC
002 Explain the way in which technological change and innovation have helped shape the development of business and industrial organization KCPT
003 Write clear, well-evidenced answers in response to open-ended question prompts KCPT
004 Understand how contextual factors shape both the structure and strategy of businesses   KCP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: Build an appreciation of the usefulness of economic concepts in historical analysis through lectures and independent reading Allow students to communicate their knowledge of relevant economic concepts in (group) discussions effectively. The learning and teaching methods include: 

Students will attend lectures. The purposes of these lectures are to introduce students to the context of business and financial history, its main governing theories, and to examine particular historical cases and events from those perspectives. Connections will be drawn between economic theories that students will have encountered at levels 4 and 5, including supply-side models, the theory of the firm, market structures, and will also build on the contextual economic reasoning developed in Contemporary Issues in Economics. Sustainability will be emphasized throughout the module, in understanding how firms, markets and institutions of business have adapted to change, both at the individual strategic level and in terms of the overall population of firms across the world. Examples drawn from historical time and a variety of global cultures will help students connect abstract theory to cases in a way sensitive to differences in social, political and institutional context.

Students will participate in in-person discussion seminars. The purpose of this seminar is to help students develop academic reading and contextual analysis skills, and to allow space for critical interrogation of ideas, texts and theories. These sessions not only help enrich student understanding of context, but also allow for different modes of engagement, including active participation and critical thought. These skills are fundamental to the practical application of economic reasoning, and thus are key for employability. Students will be expected to read one essential text per week, and to complete an associated worksheet designed to scaffold that reading towards the key concepts. 

Throughout the module, students will receive guidance in academic reading, writing, citations and referencing. This will include direct instruction in the form of mini-lectures and feedback in seminar discussions, and indirect contextual instruction through the required and recommended readings. Students will be encouraged through Socratic questioning to think critically, evaluate theses and arguments, weigh evidence, and synthesise disparate sources into original, coherent arguments. This practice will in turn scaffold the level of understanding necessary for the summative essays.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ECO2060

Other information

The School of Economics is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities particularly in the following areas:

Sustainability: This module teaches the fundamentals of firm strategy and survival, including adaptation to changing contexts in terms of technology, institutions, and markets.  

Global and cultural awareness: The themes and topics of this module include international and multinational business, including examples not only from Europe and North America, but East Asia, India, and Latin America. Sensitivity to historical and cultural context is key to successfully applying economic ideas to different times and places. 

Employability: This module emphasizes key skills for the workplace, including clear and focused writing, information search, and synthesizing multiple information sources to answer questions in context. It also examines the structure, strategy and behaviour of firms, entrepreneurs and agents, all of which has direct application to the operation and management of businesses in general. 

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Business Economics and Data Analytics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Business Economics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Economics and Finance BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Economics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.