Economic History

About the subject

Why are some countries rich and others poor? When does inequality unleash social conflicts? How do financial crises arise? Why are some companies more successful than others? With a historical perspective such questions can be answered more fully.

The focus in economic history is on production, distribution and consumption in the past, including their social and institutional preconditions. Particular areas of interest are the framework for entrepreneurship, women’s and men’s work, changed consumption patterns, the foundations of the welfare state, the history of economic thought, the effects of globalization on low-income countries and the climatological consequences of growth. Economic history gives unique possibilities to understand the big social issues of today through a longer time perspective.

Career opportunities

The education prepares the student for qualified work within both the private and the public sector, as well as in NGOs and IOs. It combines skills in economic analysis, archival work, statistical analysis and source criticism, which are relevant for professional categories like analysts, information officers, teachers, economists and journalists.

Courses and programmes


For a bachelor’s degree in Economic History you can choose to study individual courses or join one of the bachelor’s programmes listed under Courses and programmes.

A master’s degree in Economic History can only be obtained through enrolment in one of the master’s programmes listed under Courses and programmes.

More information about degrees at Stockholm University


Within the field of economic history at our department we do research on economic growth, monetary and financial conditions, work, reproduction, gendered division of labour and usage of natural resources in different historical periods. Some researchers work with conceptual analysis or discourse analysis, others work with advanced econometric analyses. A distinction of the department is the long time perspective, with a focus on the reconstruction of historical statistics from the Middle Ages until today. It is the only department in Sweden with an extensive economic historical research on medieval sources.