Twentieth Century Economic Thought

Home/ Twentieth Century Economic Thought
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSLS2EC2264

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon/Winter Semester, Second year

Course Coordinator and Team:

Email of course coordinator:


Aim: By focusing on some key twentieth century economic thinkers, this course will complement other courses in furthering the objective of introducing students to the idea of rival conceptualizations of the capitalist economy and urging them to explore the relationships between the nature of that economy and its evolution and the theoretical perceptions of it. The offering of such a course in the menu of electives is thus consistent with the conceptualization of the MA Economics as one which will draw on different theoretical perspectives and traditions within the discipline to offer a well-rounded training that would enable students to develop a socio-political and historical perspective on the economy and the discipline which analyses it. The course will continue the exploration of differences in the economic analysis of capitalism begun in the course on Theories of Value and Distribution by focusing on some key twentieth century economic thinkers in the mainstream tradition as well as those who challenged mainstream thinking. The course will situate the contribution of key economic thinkers within the political economy of the twentieth century and contextualize the methodological debates in twentieth century economics.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Develop an advanced level expertise on various theoretical perspectives within the discipline of economics.
  2. Develop the capacity to locate various contemporary theories and analysis within the fundamental theoretical traditions that have emerged within the discipline. This is an essential skill for critical appraisal of the existing economic literature.
  3. Develop the capacity to comprehend and articulate complex arguments and perspectives through their term papers and essays.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. From political economy to economics: the separation of the micro and the macro
  2. Pre-Keynesian Macroeconomics in the Neoclassical Tradition: Wicksell, Fisher and Schumpeter
  3. Non-Marxist Critiques of Neoclassical theory – Veblen, Keynes, Sraffa
  4. Understanding the current crisis of capitalism: Critical Debates and Contemporary Implications – Marx, Keynes and Sraffa

Assessment Details with weights:

Group Presentations (20%): Students are expected to make 30 minute presentations on topics related to various theoretical frameworks within the discipline of economics.

Term-paper (40%): Student will write a 2500 word paper with a critical approach on topics covering convergences and disagreements of various theoretical perspectives in economics in the 20th century, from those covered in the course.

End-Semester Examination (40%): Students will appear in an in-class examination answering reflective questions from within the topics covered in the course.

Reading List:

  • A.K. Dasgupta, Epochs of Economic Theory
  • I Fisher, Booms and Depressions: Some First Principles
  • I Fisher, Elementary Principles of Economics
  • J M Keynes, General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
  • P Sraffa , Production of Commodities by means of Commodities: Prelude to a critique of economic theory , Cambridge University Press
  • K Marx, Capital, Vol 1, 2 and 3, Progressive Publishers
  • K Marx, Grundrisse, Progressive Publishers
  • Dimitris Milonakis and Ben Fine, From Political Economy to Economics: Method, the social and the historical in the evolution of economic theory, Routledge
  • J Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis, Allen & Unwin, London
  • J Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism And Democracy
  • T Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class, Houghton Mifflin School,
  • T Veblen, The Theory of Business Enterprise
  • K Wicksell, Interest and Prices
  • K Wicksell, Lectures in Political Economy


  • R Gilpin, 2001, Global Political Economy: Understanding the International Economic Order, Princeton
  • Lawson, T. 1997, Economics & Reality, London and New York, Routledge
  • A Leijonhufvud,1973, Life Among the Econ, Western Economic Journal, 11(3), 327–337, September.
  • G Mongiovi and F Petri (2005), Value, Distribution and Capital, Routledge
  • J Schumpeter, Imperialism and Social Classes,
  • G Vaggi and P Groenewegen, A Concise History of Economic Thought: From Mercantilism to Monetarism, Palgrave Macmillan
  • A Saad-Filho and D Johnston (eds), Neoliberalism: A Critical Reader