Economic History

Economic history has long been an important part of the core curriculum in the graduate program at Yale. In addition to faculty in the economics department, there are faculty in the history department and other parts of the university with interests in economic history. Find addtional information on the Program in Economic History page.

    Timothy W. Guinnane
    Professor of Economics, Yale University
    Contact information & office hours:

Overview of Courses

We offer to graduate-level courses intended for economics PhD students every year. Econ 580 focuses on Europe. Econ 581 deals with the United States. In addition, we typically have one or more long-term visitors in residence, and these people offer courses about other times and places. Economics Ph.D. students doing a field in economic history may also be interested in taking courses offered by the History Department.  These courses do not satisfy the PhD requirement, and they will not be part of the basic course offerings for a field in the Economic Department, but they can be useful additions for students in some areas.  Interested students should consult the economic history faculty in the Economics Department for further information.


There one is the formal weekly workshop. Most presentations at this workshop are by speakers invited from other universities.

Ph.D. Requirement

Students in the economics Ph.D. program must have completed either Econ 580 or Econ 581 before they can be admitted to candidacy. Note that Econ 585 does not satisfy this requirement.

Economic History in the Oral Exam

Economic history can be either the major or the minor field in a student’s oral examinations. In each case, the student will have taken both Econ 580 and Econ 581. An oral exam with economic history as a minor field will cover the material from these two courses as well as material from a single topic agreed by the students and instructors in economic history. An oral exam with economic history as a major field will cover Econ 580 and Econ 581. In addition, the student will be responsible for a presentation that could lead to a dissertation topic, and for additional readings relevant to that project.

Other Recommended Courses

Students intending to write a dissertation in economic history will probably find it useful to take courses offered in the history department or elsewhere in the university. There are no formal requirements of this sort, however, and such additional coursework is agreed after discussion with the relevant faculty.