Example Course 11: The Economics of Financial Crises

A module providing an analytical framework to assess why crises happen, how they occur and what can be done to prevent them

Example Courses

In this chapter, we demonstrate how to create actual courses using the Economy Studies design toolkit, showing various example courses. Each of these courses flows from our central philosophy: teach students how to study the economy, rather than teaching them one form of economic thinking in the abstract. In terms of our principles, they vary: some of these example courses focus more on pluralism, others on real-world economics, others yet on thinking about values. As for the building blocks, each of the example courses uses at least one of the ten building blocks, while most use more than one.

These courses are described rather briefly in this chapter, as full syllabi, slides or exam questions would take up too much space in a physical book. More extensive course descriptions, syllabi and teaching material can be found in the online database of our partner organisation Exploring Economics.

The courses shown here are highly diverse, and mainly intended to inspire and to show the range of possibilities. Depending on the knowledge available within a department, the courses designed there could be vastly different from the examples shown here.

Example Courses:

  1. The Challenges of Our Time (Main BB1, Additional BB2, BB3, BB8, BB9, BB10)
  2. Argentina and the IMF (Main BB9, Additional BB2, BB3, BB6, BB8, BB10)
  3. The Economics of Oil (Main BB8, Additional BB3, BB6)
  4. A Historical Perspective on Economic Success (Main BB4, Additional BB1, BB6)
  5. The Digital Economy of South Korea (Main BB2, Additional BB3, BB5, BB6)
  6. Agent-Based Modelling (Main BB7, Additional BB4, BB9)
  7. The World of Production (Main BB8, Additional BB2, BB3, BB4, BB5)
  8. The Political-Economic System of India (Main BB6, Additional BB2, BB3, BB10)
  9. Economics for a Better World (Main BB10, Additional BB1, BB2)
  10. Coordination and Allocation Mechanisms in Norwegian Agriculture (Main BB5, Additional BB2, BB3)
  11. The Economics of Financial Crises (Main BB8, Additional BB3, BB4, BB6)

Example Course 11: The Economics of Financial Crises

By Kishan Rana (India)

Course outline:

Capitalism has been shown to be prone to crises. The global financial crisis of 2007/08 has been attributed to different causes according to different schools of thought.

This module teaches a range of economic perspectives to understand how financial crises occur, representing different schools of thought. These include Marx’s theory of capital accumulation and Post-Keynesian analysis such as Minsky’s financial instability hypothesis. Alongside these theories sit other free-market approaches, such as the Austrian School’s business cycle theory and Schumpeterian creative destruction. More recent, mainstream approaches include insights from Rajan’s Fault Lines and Robert Shiller’s Irrational Exuberance. Each of these approaches is taught in a historical context, using examples from previous crises.

Students will also learn about contributions from psychology and finance. The module will conclude with policy responses to crises.

By the end of the module, students will have been introduced to a range of analytical approaches to economic crises and be encouraged to form their own opinion, through their own analysis, of why crises occur, what can be done to prevent them (if anything) and how best to respond.

Required background knowledge:

Introducing the Economy (BB1), Know your own Economy (BB2)

Nominal workload:

7,5 ECTS (225 hrs)

This course uses the following building blocks:


  • Economic Theories (BB8)


  • Economic History (BB3)
  • History of Economic Thought (BB4)
  • Political-Economic Systems (BB6)