American Economic History (Econ 341)

This course explores the evolution of the American economy from pre-colonial times through the Great Depression. Topics include the economics of the Revolutionary War and the Constitution, the evolution of the banking sector, internal and international migration, slavery, the transportation revolution, the demographic transition and a range of other subjects. When I first taught American Economic History, I used Atack and Passell's A New Economic View of American History, an excellent book but one that has not been updated in 25 years. Over time, I have been gradually moving away from that initial course structure to incorporate more and more current economic history research. Note that since my research interests and training revolve around labor economics, the course is light on macroeconomics (and getting lighter each semester). Also worth noting is that the only prerequisites for this course are Introductory Micro and Macro.

Syllabus and Reading List

Reading List

Assignment Instructions

Data Project Guidelines
Data Project Slides
Referee Reports

Lecture Slides

Below are links to lecture slides for the class. Note that many of the slides may make zero sense without the context of what we were discussing in class. Hopefully they made some sense to students at the time. Also note that each link below is to a pdf file that covers several lectures' worth of slides. Some of the files are quite large.

The Pre-Colonial Economy
General Overview of Economic Growth, Pre-Colonial Times to the Present
The Colonial Economy
The Economics of Independence and the Founding of the US Economy
Money and Banking
The Transportation Revolution
Slavery and the Persistence of Black-White Gaps
Immigration, Internal Migration and Demographic Change