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Doctoral studies at the Department of Economic History

The PhD programme in economic history offers stimulating studies with excellent career prospects both within and outside academia. The programme has a strong international orientation where both teaching and research are done in English. The PhD candidates participate in international networks and work towards international publication of their results.

Much of the research is conducted in close connection to the many research projects at the Department of Economic History or at the research centers connected to the department.

Programme structure

The programme corresponds to 240 credit points (four years of full-time study), and consists of one course component (75 credit points) and a doctoral dissertation (165 credit points). Normally the mandatory courses are taken during the first year.

 


Mandatory courses (52.5 credit points)

In consultation with the supervisors, the doctoral student is to identify a research problem and formulate a research issue that is to be examined in the doctoral thesis, and plan his or her research with regard to theory, data and methodology. Major emphasis is placed on the research design, i. e. how to address the research issue of the thesis by means of theoretical discussion, previous research and empirical material. The planning of the research is to be based on the current guidelines for doctoral theses at the Department of Economic History, and the final stage of the course is a written and oral presentation of the thesis plan.

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Course code: EHEH001

The course consists of reading and analysing a number of standard works in economic history, divided into three components: pre-industrial society, the process of industrialisation, and modern society. In addition to the required reading determined by the group of instructors, the doctoral student shall, in consultation with the course instructor, select works (monographs and/or collections of articles) to be addressed. The doctoral student is subsequently assigned the task to write an independent analytical essay for each component, based on the choice of texts and within a predetermined time frame. The components will be addressed in chronological order, and the final assessment for each component will be based on an oral exam on the written assignments.

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Course code: EHEH002

The degree must include a minimum of 7,5 credits.

The recommended courses offered at the department are Philosophy of science/Theory of science (course code EHFE013), History of Economic Thought (course code EHEH006), or a course at the faculty of Social Science Philosophy of science for the social sciences.

You may choose freely amongst courses offered at Lund or other universities, although the course must be approved by the Director of doctoral studies. 

Basic normative ethics, the history of research ethics, the utility of research, the risks of research subjects and others concerned, protection of personal integrity and personal data, informed consent and research on subjects unable to give consent, relevant legislation, ethical vetting, good research practice, research misconduct, publication ethics, the researcher as an authority and ethical aspects of external engagement.

Our recommended course is given by the faculty of Medicine.

Active and regular attendance at the department’s seminars along with completed midway and final seminars.

The degree must include a minimum of 7,5 credits quantitative methods.

The recommended courses offered at the department are EEH006F Econometrics I or EEH007F Econometrics II. However, there are several additional options, for example, courses in Economics or GIS training. You may choose freely amongst courses offered at Lund or other universities, although the course must be approved by the Director of doctoral studies. 

Read more about the department courses under the headline quantitative courses.

The degree must include a minimum of 4,5 credits qualitative methods.

You may choose amongst courses offered at Lund or other universities, although it must be approved by the Director of doctoral studies. The recommended courses are “Sources and Source Criticism” given by Stockholm University and Archives Primary Sourses, Datasets (course code EEH033F).

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Optional courses (22.5 credit points)

The selection of optional courses is regulated in accordance with the specialization of the candidate. The Department of Economic History offers numerous optional courses, but it is also possible to study elsewhere. Advanced level course credits are transferred to the PhD programme studies after individual assessment and consultation with the supervisor and the director of the PhD programme.

This course studies historical processes of growth, convergence and divergence in the global economy over the past two centuries. Two major approaches are applied. One takes its point of departure in theories of economic growth, basically on the role of capital and labour and the level of technology. The first generation of formal models, in the 1950s, predicted a convergence in income levels in the world. Recent generations of growth models allows however for income divergence among countries. The other approach takes its point of departure in theories about the international economy. Determinants as well as effects of international trade, migration, and movements of capital are studied. The impact of open economy forces on factor prices, that is, on the earnings of labour and the cost of capital, and its relation to growth is analyzed. With the application of these two approaches the course studies historical processes of growth, convergence and divergence in the global economy.

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Course code EEH001F 

Over the last decades, global growth dynamics have shifted towards the economies of the non-Western world. The world is no longer divided between the West and the Rest. Nor is the Rest to the same extent marked by stagnation. In the course, growth dynamics of the developing world during the last decades are explored in a comparative and historical perspective. The question of why some developing economies have been able to set in motion catching-up processes, while others remain stagnant, will be discussed aided by historical-theoretical perspectives with the main focus on countries in Pacific Asia, Africa South of the Sahara and Latin America. It will be theoretically and empirically assessed to what extent the growth of the so-called global South might be sustained. The course is divided into two parts. The first puts heavy emphasis on readings and lectures on analytical perspectives of development and catching up from the viewpoint of classical, although current, questions such as: the role of agricultural transformation, growth-inequality, market integration, possibilities for and experiences of industrial policy, technology transfer, social capabilities, market-state relationship, governance and domestic resource mobilization, poverty/human development. The second part of the course is more student-driven and is devoted to seminar assignments where highly topical themes are discussed on the basis of available empirical data. Examples of questions to be addressed might be: south-to-south investments flows, the impact of China, the extent to which growth is commodity-driven, issues of improving competitiveness and productivity, forces behind poverty reduction. The content of the course is delimited of both teaching and literature

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Course code EEH004F 

Innovation and technical change is central to long term economic growth but it is treated very differently in economic theories. In a comparative manner this course presents technical change within major theoretical approaches: neoclassical growth models, endogenous growth models and evolutionary structural models. Particular attention is given to an economic historical model combined with a spatial theoretical framework of regional trajectories of growth. The model is based upon complementarities around innovations forming development blocks that are driving processes of structural change. Thus, the interplay between innovations, economic transformation and economic growth is studied with an emphasis on major carrier branches both historically and in contemporary times. Innovations are analysed in relation to variations over time in, e.g., relative prices, entrepreneurial activity, investments, labour demand and employment. It is shown how this, at an aggregate level, shows up in phases of spatial convergence and divergence, respectively.

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Course code EEH??? 

This course explores and explains the processes of rapid industrialisation and socio-economic modernisation in China and the Asia Pacific drawing on a historically -comparative institutional approach. Fundamental factors and forces behind the economic transformation are analysed against the background of leading theories of economic development and social change. The course is divided into two parts. The first part uses institutional theory to analyse the emergence of the so called East Asian model and its relevance for China. The institutional underpinnings of China's transformation to market economy are analysed in comparison with previous and contemporary development experiences in the Asia Pacific, from Japan to the ASEAN countries. Themes dealt with include agricultural modernisation and industrial policy and concepts such as developmental state, export-led growth, and growth with equity are applied and critically analysed. The second part deals with current trends and forces of globalisation in the Asia Pacific region and China's role as a leading regional economy. Trade policies, the impact of foreign investments and patterns of regional integration are explored and analysed.

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Course code EEH008F 

This course covers several areas of innovation economics, such as their characteristics, their driving forces of innovation and how innovation affects economic growth. It covers several sub-themes, such as:
Market structures and innovation - describes how competitive structures and imperfect competition may induce innovation in different industries.
Institutions and innovation - drawing on the systems of innovation literature, this theme addresses how the institutional framework affects innovation. Some of these aspects are related to national innovation systems (NIS), a concept for comparative analysis of innovative performance. Innovation processes and interdependencies within a more local or regional context are further analysed focusing on regional innovation systems (RIS). In addition to governing structures we address the role of different instruments such as standards, prizes and intellectual property rights such as patents for promoting innovation.
Diffusion - implications of why innovation spreads and how it spreads into the economic environment form different perspectives. Concepts discussed include adoption, imitation and spillovers. We consider the relatively new field of network economics as well.
The role of innovation in economic growth - examines the role of innovation in economic growth through processes related to radical innovations, general purpose technologies, competence blocks and development blocks.

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Course code EEH009F 

The first part of the course is an overview of the population debate over the past 50 years and its intellectual roots. This part includes theories explaining both the influence of population growth on economic, social, and environmental development and vice-versa. Examples are given, showing how the theories have been used to explain the historical development of population and living standards since the Middle Ages up to modern times. The concept of living standard is extended also to include how short-term economic changes influence population behaviour. Divergence in living standards between different socio-economic groups and institutional arrangements for transfers are studied. The second part introduces ways to model the complex interrelationship between population and living standards which are appropriate for empirical testing. The students then make use of their knowledge in theory and econometrics to analyze data for a specific country or region using information available at various data bases.

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Course code EEH010F  

The course examines the impact of demographic change on the social and economic fabric of society, with a focus on issues of importance to today's policymakers. The impact of population aging will be examined in detail, as will the possible benefits / pitfalls of migration as a potential solution to population aging. The course will also examine the impacts of demographic change on individuals, through a discussion of the effects of cohort size on economic outcomes. The changing prospects for women in today's economy will also be analyzed within the framework of changing family structures. Governmental transfers dependent upon age structure, such as pension systems, will be studied, as will other aspects of intergenerational transfers.

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Course code EEH013F 

Human capital is, in short, the stock of skills that a country’s population or labor force possesses. It is an important determinant to economic growth and a strategic factor with respect to productivity. It also affects individuals’ lives in many ways through the promotion of personal well-being and economic equality. This course explores a range of topics relating to human capital formation by using historical, comparative, and current policy perspectives. Theory, methodological approaches, and empirical evidence on a range of topics are reviewed. Topics include the role of education in economic growth and distribution, the role of education and training for wage growth and career, and group differences in labor market outcomes, health and well-being. Lectures, seminars, and exams deal with human capital formation, the role of human capital during the first, second, and third industrial revolutions, and with the relation between human capital and income inequality across time and space.

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Course code EEH014F 

Historical evidence suggests that the quality and efficiency of a country's institutions, such as law enforcement, property rights, and civil rights, are significant determinants of its growth performance. Furthermore, the extent of inequality in a society is highly related to both the quality of institutions and economic growth. This course is focused on the relations between institutions, modern economic growth, and equality. Problems in the world of today are taken as a point of departure for an historical analysis that covers countries and regions in different parts of the world. The course builds on the four themes. The first theme deals with the emergence of institutions such as property rights and markets, and their role for economic growth. The second theme concerns the importance of the distribution of resources for institutional development and economic growth. The third theme is about the interrelationship between institutions, knowledge and equality of opportunity. The fourth theme deals with the emergence of the modern welfare state as an institutional response to inequality.

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Course code EEH016F 

This course analyses the major debates in development economics from a long-term perspective. Economists and economic historians are increasingly aware that the process of economic growth is complex and often characterized by path dependency. There is also increasing attention for variation in institutional settings and their consequences, like differences in economic behaviour and economic outcomes. This course reflects these developments by focusing on economic evolution in the long run and on variations between societies. Questions central to the course are: ‘can we determine historical roots of why some countries are rich and others poor, and if so, how do we approach this?’; ‘what is the role of the different factors of production in long run economic development?’; ‘what role do critical historical junctures play in long run development?’, and why is income so much more unequally divided in some countries than in others?’. During the course, students will learn about the different methods used in modern research through an in depth study of the literature and hands on econometric exercises. Explorative methodologies versus hypothesis testing are discussed. Exercises are performed with the help of econometric software whereby students are trained in the use of statistical tools but also in understanding and interpreting quantitative results in an historical context.

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Course code EEH031F 

The course accounts for the historical emergence and establishment of the overarching international frameworks for a just and prosperous society such as the UN system of human rights and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. These encompassing visions have to account for several challenging aspects of contemporary global development, such as poverty issues, inequalities, environmental concerns, transformations of international trade brought by the supply chain revolution, and governance complexities presented by for example the rise of China and its state-capitalist authoritarian model of development. In this regard, attention will be given to discussing the role of the private sector and the emergence of multistakeholder partnerships and corporate social responsibilities and the shift from voluntarism to novel public regulations of supply chains, especially in the EU. The course will examine how the economy of today is shaped by the imperatives linked to climate change and post-covid reconstruction and discuss the extent to how these transformations relate to new spaces and challenges for inclusive and rights-based development. The conduct of both private and public actors, as well as their interdependencies in what some call the ‘state-business nexus’, will be analysed.

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Course code EEH039F 

Quantitative courses

The degree must include a minimum of 7,5 credits quantitative methods.

The recommended courses offered at the department are EEH006F Econometrics I or EEH007F Econometrics II. However, there are several additional options, for example, courses in Economics or GIS training. You may choose freely amongst courses offered at Lund or other universities, although the course must be approved by the Director of doctoral studies. 

The course is divided up into two parts. The first part consists of basic theory and methods relating to multivariate linear regression, limited dependent variable regression and time series analysis. It also considers how to apply these methods through examples of how such methods are used in economic history. This part also introduces computer software (e.g. Stata) for quantitative analysis. In the second part of the course, students analyse a quantitative problem using actual data from economic history, and report results in individual papers.

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Course code EEH006F 

The course consists of two parts. The first part consists of more advanced theory and methods relating to causal approaches surpassing the multivariate linear regression, limited dependent variable regression and time series analysis covered by Econometrics I. It also considers how to apply these methods through examples of how such methods are used in economic history. It discusses issues like selection bias, the bad control problem, and unobserved heterogeneity and the pitfalls associated with them as well as the possibilities to deal with these issues. This part advances the knowledge of empirical analysis making use of computer software (e.g. Stata). In the second part of the course, students independently analyse a more advanced quantitative problem using actual data from economic history, and report results in individual papers, showing awareness of the pros and cons of various causal approaches in econometrics.

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Course code EEH007F 

To carry out a research project, raw datasets need to be selected and manipulated to create variables that are appropriate to the research question, and the data needs to be formatted in the way that is required for the statistical analysis to be used. The aim of this course is to provide students with advanced knowledge on the use and management of micro-level demographic data. The course will be primarily hands-on and different types of datasets will be employed. The appropriate selection of datasets and variables to answer a research question will be discussed, as well as issues of data quality, data cleaning and the handling of missing data. During each meeting, the necessary steps to create different types of variables will be shown. The course is designed as a tutorial where the student attends meetings and conducts independent work, which will be discussed with the instructor and other students in the group.

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Course code EEH028F 

The course will cover basic theory and methods relating to multivariate linear regression and time series analysis. It considers how to apply these methods through examples of such methods used in economic history research. The course also introduces computer software for quantitative analysis. The course introduces students to methods for how to analyze a quantitative problem using econometric analysis, and how to report and discuss the results in a research paper.

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Course code EEH037F

Advanced Topics, tutorial courses

The significant role of agriculture in the development process for both long-term economic growth and poverty reduction is a classic theme in both Economic History and Development Economics. The relative decline of agriculture and simultaneous rise of the industrial and service sectors rests on the productivity of, and resource transfer from, the former. This tutorial provides the tools to go into depth on the dynamics and variation of these processes. In this course, we will review the theoretical debates on the role of agriculture both in terms of its mechanisms of change and its interaction with other sectors. Empirically, the course will have a broad geographical scope including cases from Asia, Latin America and Africa. This will allow a study and further understanding not only of the successful and completed cases of transformation but also those that are still in the midst of the process.

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Course code EEH024F

Investigating and theoretically explain why inequality is so much higher in some countries than in others and what drives changes over the long run are questions that have been central in economic history and economics. Despite the continued scholarly attention, which has included theoretical development as well as the adding of increasing empirical evidence, clear answers are still lacking. Until recently, most studies were concerned with inequality trends in the developed world, albeit there is now a slowly growing literature on the developing South including Asia, Latin America and Africa.

The aim of the tutorial is threefold:

1) To provide an in-depth discussion of theoretical perspectives of the long run causal relationships between economic growth and inequality, emanating from structural, political-economy and macro-sociological traditions

2) To enable students to analytically and methodologically identify the strengths and weaknesses of the theories

3) To teach students how to apply theory to empirical cases

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Course code EEH025F 

The role of aid in the development process for long-termeconomic growth, poverty reduction and improving quality of life is a classic theme inboth Economic History and Development Economics.The aim of this course is to analyze the theoretical and ideological underpinnings,practical implementation and long-term effects of aid directed towards thedeveloping countries from 1950s onwards.It takes as a point of departure the contemporary, and animated, debate on the fruitfulness of aid to assess success or failure of different types of both bilateral andmultilateral aid initiatives in a historical perspective. It also considers the implications of the rapidly changing aid landscape in terms of new aid actors and alternatives toaid during the changes taking place in the global economy. The real-world practiceand allocation in terms of aid flows and donor preferences will be related to thedevelopment needs of recipient countries. Empirically, the course will have a broad geographical scope including experiencesfrom Asia, Latin America and Africa. This will allow for a deeper understanding of notonly cases where development aid has played a prominently conducive role fordevelopment but also cases where it has impeded economic and social progress.

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Course code EEH032F 

Economic historians make use of primary sources to study economic development inthe past. To this end we reassess original sources or collect data that were collected inthe past, by compilers who often had their own, specific purposes. To be able to useprimary sources therefore requires the application of thorough source critique.This course introduces the student to primary sources. Where does one find primary sources? How should one interpret them and evaluate their validity and reliability? How can one deal with scarcity, and excess, of data, respectively? And how should one process data retrieved from primary sources? The course prepares the student for using primary sources in the context of a researchproject, and to thus make a novel contribution to the field of economic history.

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Course code EEH033F 

This course discusses the history of economic and social inequality, focusing on the Western world since the Middle Ages. The aim is to bring students up to speed withthe research frontier in research on historical inequality. While some attention is paid to classic studies, the emphasis is on newer research.The core issues are these:

First, what is defined as inequality and what is measured? Concepts of income and wealth are introduced and discussed, and we discuss alternative empirical approaches to the overall theme of “inequality”. The disciplinary divides and boundaries between economics, economic history, history, sociology andother relevant disciplines are discussed. We discuss the connections between economic, social, and political inequality in history. We also go through the main types of sources used in historical studies of inequality: tax data, probate inventories and wills, and social tables.

Second, we go through recent empirical research on economic inequality through history. We discuss strengths and limitations of the literature and what we know a lotabout and what is omitted from the literature. We discuss where the research field isgoing and what kind of research is needed going forward. The course gives students a deeper understanding of economic inequality, its history and its development.

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Course code EEH034F 

The significant but elusive role of the state in the development process for long-termeconomic growth, poverty reduction and improving quality of life is a classic theme inboth Economic History and Development Economics. The balance between the State and the Market or the State and Society has been, and still is, subject to vivid andsometimes animated debates. For instance, the state as a guarantor of functioninginstitutional arrangements, provider of public goods and orchestrator of developmentinitiatives are central items of these debates. So are the different qualities andcompetences that are required to handle rapid change of exogenous factors such asliberalization, globalization and technological changes.

This tutorial provides the tools to go into depth on the dynamics and variation ofthese processes in the developing world. In this course we will review the theoreticaldebates on the role of the state both in terms of its mechanisms of change and itsinteraction with other sectors. Empirically, the course will have a broad geographicalscope including experiences from Asia, Latin America and Africa. This will allow for adeeper understanding of not only cases where the state has played a prominentlyconducive role for development but also cases where the state has impeded economicand social progress.

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Course code EEH035F 

In this course, the aim is to study the development of economic thinking since the 18th century and the methodology of economics. The course is made up of two parts. The first part consists of an overview of the development of the economics discipline during the last 250 years, along with its relationship to economic history. The course initially deals with the so-called classical political economy represented by thinkers like Smith, Ricardo, Malthus and Say. Furthermore, developments of Marx, as well as historical and institutional schools, which evolved alongside the marginalist revolution with Jevons, Menger, Walras, during the last part of the 19th century. The 20th century begins with Marshall and foundation of neoclassical economics and is followed by the breakthrough of modern macroeconomics with the Keynesian analysis and its successors such as Hicks and Arrow/Debreu and, furthermore, the monetarist and neoclassical challenge in the second half of the century. Finally, the multi-faceted development alongside the neoclassical mainstream towards and into the 21st century is examined. Some attention is devoted to the quantification and mathematising of economics and economic history during the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the development of economic history as an independent discipline in Sweden. The second part deals with the methodology of economics in a scientific and social science context. How has the academic discipline economics developed in relation to trends in social science such as positivism and postmodernism? Moreover, theories and schools in economics are also analyzed from epistemological and sociology of science perspectives based on the theories and work of Popper, Kuhn and Lakatos.

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Course code EHEH006 

Based on demand

A few courses are provided with irregular intervals. For these courses to be offered there needs to be a demand amongst PhDs and the department must have the necessary teaching capacity, or there may be some other outstanding circumstance.

This course presents and discusses some of the fundamental debates in African economic history. Emphasis is placed on research in recent years.   The course consists of four themes: (i) a broader overview of the research field, (ii) long-term economic and agrarian change, (iii) state formation and capacity, (iv) inequality, welfare and poverty.   Within each theme we discuss and compare central perspectives and debates that students are expected to be able to contrast and critically examine. The first part of the course consists of literature seminars where selected mandatory reading is discussed. During the second half of the course, each student is free to identify an individual in-depth study area that fits into the overall framework of the course.

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Course code EHEH005 

The course gives an introduction to basic concepts within time series analysis. The univariate analysis of time series in this course is based upon ARMA/ARIMA models. Multivariate time series analysis is based on VAR models. Non-stationary time series are analysed using unit root tests, co-integration methods and VEC models. Students have the choice of specialising in the analysis of volatility models or non-stationary panel data models. Theoretical studies are interwoven with practical applications in financial economics and macroeconomics.

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Course code EEH017F 

The aim of this tutorial is to provide students with advanced knowledge of central aspects of family demography, including fertility, family formation, divorce, and cohabitation. The course will examine the family as a dynamic institution, incorporating a historical and comparative perspective, focusing on late 20th century developments in economically-developed countries. Students will gain competence in both theoretical and empirical analyses, which include critical assessments and understanding of current analytical approaches in family research. The interconnectedness of fertility, paid work, and policy will be contrasted across Nordic countries, as well as those adhering to other welfare regimes. The consequences and implications of changes in the family for individuals and society at large will be explored, with an emphasis on the changing roles of women.

The course is designed as a tutorial where the student independently reads the designated literature and discusses it with the instructor, and possibly with other students in the group. In addition, the student works with written assignments given by the instructor. The course is divided into three parts. The first part places an emphasis on basic theories of the family and on related developments including but not limited to marriage, cohabitation, and divorce. Part two of the course will focus on three inter-related topics: fertility; the effects of parenthood on work, time use and gender equality; and fertility, work and policy in a comparative perspective. The final part of the course will be devoted to a final paper, which students will present in a final seminar presentation.

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Course code EEH020F 

This course introduces the subject of network analysis and statistical methods for analyzing historical and contemporary large networks. The course contains four themes: i) a broader introduction to the field of network analysis and complex systems, ii) basic concepts, including centrality and degree distribution, iii) cluster analysis (community detection analysis), and iv) network dynamics (evolution, diffusion, link prediction).

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Course code EEH044F