Topics in Economics and Politics

Ludwig List
Arts and Society, Cross-Disciplinary Strategies
2023S, scientific seminar (SEW), 2.0 ECTS, 1.0 semester hours, course number S04484


Topics in Economics and Politics - Understanding Inflation


Course Content


This class aims to help students understand inflation with its various economic implications. It does so by following the structure of a guided reading: Here, we will read central texts of/about different schools of thought and discuss what aspects of inflation they highlight, their idea how humans and institutions work etc. Apart from presenting various basic economic concepts, several goals, instruments and fundamental debates in economic theory and policy will be explained and discussed. In general, the course design provides space for discussion with the goal of enabling debates during class via comparing different points of view in political economy. Finally, it motivates the students to elaborate proper arguments on their own and to gain experiences in the presentation of content and their own opinions.

The class is structured in five sessions. In each session, I will present to you one aspect of inflation, starting from the basics - what inflation is and how it can be measured. After each session, you are expected to read texts that present the main idea that was discussed in the previous session. Furthermore, you organise in groups in order to prepare these texts and provide valuable inputs for the debate in the following session. After a discussion of the presented texts, I will give an new introduction to the texts that you are supposed to read for the next session. The five sessions are designed as follows:


March 16th:  What is Inflation?
April 27th: The (Neo-)Classical understanding of inflation
May 4th: The Keynesian understanding of inflation
May 11th: Inequality/Distribution effects of Inflation
May 25th: Global effects of inflation


The focus of this course lies in

  • Understanding what inflation is and how it is measured
  • Getting to know different economics schools' opinion on the causes of inflation
  • Obtaining knowledge about the outcome of inflation on other parts of the economy, such as foreign trade and private/public debt
  • Being able to follow newspapers when it comes to public debates about political disputes over inflation


Learning Outcomes

This course’s goal is to

  • Analyse todays’ problems related to Austrian, European and international economic policy regarding inflation
  • Take away your fears that economics is to distant for me to understand
  • Create awareness of the need for more engagement with economic history and history of economic thought

After finishing the course, you should be able to

  • Assess problems of inflation using social and economic criteria
  • Differentiate between different points of view regarding economic theory and policy
  • Use a wider array of arguments for future debates.



Examination Modalities


As part of grading, you are expected to hand in four short reflections of the former session and  the mandatory texts at the beginning of the session. Apart from the content of the texts and the debates of last session, summaries need to include 1-2 questions regarding text passages that the students did not understand as well as 1-2 reflections that emerged during the reading of the texts.


Grades are given based on the students’ active participation as well as their presentation in groups. Participation consists of the students’ reflections (30 %), participation in class (40%) and a group presentation of one set of texts (30%).





“Students from other faculties or universities will be given a place on the course subject to room capacities.”



Ludwig List:




 A proper discussion and learning process, especially in a guided reading, needs the students to read the texts alone BEFORE class. It is not expected that the students grasp every aspects of the texts (that’s what university teachers are there for, after all). It is emphasised, however, that while it is the teacher’s duty to prepare and lecture the students, it is the student’s responsibility to come to class prepared and having read the mandatory literature.


Recommended Literature (not needed for successfully finishing the course)

Allen, R. C. (2011). Global Economic History: A Very Short Introduction (1 edition). Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press.

Blaug, M. (1997). Economic Theory in Retrospect (5 edition). Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hobsbawm, E. (1989). The Age of Empire: 1875-1914 (Reprint edition). New York: Vintage.

Hobsbawm, E. (1996). The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991 (1st edition). New York: Vintage.

Hobsbawm, E. (2000). The Age of Capital, 1848-75. London: Orion Pub Co.

Kurz, H. D. (2017). Geschichte des ökonomischen Denkens (2nd ed.). München: C.H.Beck.

Robbins, L. (2000). A History of Economic Thought: The LSE Lectures (New Ed edition). Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Key Words

history of economic thought, economic history, economics, political economy


16 March 2023, 15:30–18:00 CDS Lecture Room
27 April 2023, 15:30–18:00 CDS Lecture Room
04 May 2023, 15:30–18:00 CDS Lecture Room
11 May 2023, 15:30–18:00 CDS Lecture Room
25 May 2023, 15:30–18:00 CDS Lecture Room

Course Enrolment

From 01 March 2023, 00:00 to 27 April 2023, 20:40
Via online registration

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Master): Study Areas 1-3: Study Area 3: Economics and Politics 569/020.03

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Master): Elective Field: Free Electives 569/080.80

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Bachelor): Economy and Politics: Deepening / Application 700/004.20

Co-registration: possible

Attending individual courses: possible