Historical perspective



Instructor Prof. Carlo Brambilla

Email: carlo.brambilla@uninsubria.it

Office hours: see the instructor homepage and clic on “ricevimento studenti”, or by appointment.



History – and economic and business history are no exception – can be considered as the result of countless decisions taken by as many different actors, often intertwined with one another. The course aims at showing that all those decisions are taken in a context, a context characterized by uncertainty and by limits to the choices actors can make. And that, in this sense, path dependence and uncertainty may affect the main determinants of economic growth – innovation & technological development, entrepreneurship, and institutional change. The course will analyze such issues by presenting some relevant cases in modern economic and business history.


Class format

  1. At the beginning of each class, the instructor introduces and gives the framework of the topic, occasionally presenting a specific case study, of which the students have read about in advance. Students prepare for each class by reading in advance the reading materials for that class (see below), being prepared to discuss it.
  2. Students presentations. During the course six specific sessions are reserved to students, in order to let them present a case study, to be discussed with the class.



There are only three grades for this course: failure; pass; pass with distinction.

Evaluation depends on two factors: participation to class discussion (40%), and presentation of a case study (60%)

Reading materials

The relevant articles and papers are posted on the e-learining platform Moodle, in each class module. Books can be found at the university library (www.uninsubria.it/web/biblioeco), or be bought in the internet (e.g. www.amazon.it).


All meetings take place in the Seminar Room, Department of Economics, Via Monte Generoso 71, first floor.