TAS215 Transatlantic Economics

Teacher responsible:

Dr. David Skully

Brief course description:

This course explores two aspects of transatlantic economics: it examines economic relations between Europe and (North) America, their evolution and prospects, focusing on tensions and how they are (or are not) resolved; and it undertakes a comparative analysis of public policies to examine whether and how European and North American rules, norms and values differ – is there divergence or convergence? Variations among the 50 U.S. states, 10 Canadian provinces and 27 EU member states will also be emphasized.

This is not a traditional economics course: it does not assume or require formal background in economics or calculus. Much of the reading is from the allied disciplines of sociology, political science and law.


1. Explore whether there are distinct European and American models of economic and social policy;
2. Consider the future of transatlantic economic relations in light of the current financial and economic crises;
3. Provide a non-formal introduction to developments in economic theory and applied social science research;
4. Advance participants' economic and financial literacy and refine writing and research skills.


1. Diffusion of Innovations and the Analysis of Policies, Values and Norms

The Current Crisis
2. The Financial Crisis
3. The Economic Contraction

Transatlantic Economic Relations
4. Geography, Trade and Integration
5. The Dollar and the Euro
6. Agricultural Policies and Trade Disputes
7. Regulation and Anti-Trust

Comparative Public Policy
8. Markets, States and Other Non-Market Institutions
9. Employment, Unemployment and Leisure
10. Pensions and Children
11. Healthcare and Insurance
12. Taxation, Federalism and Income Distribution

Three sessions will be determined by the interests of course participants

Reading list:

Elster, Local Justice: How Institutions Allocate Scarce Goods and Necessary Burdens; Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945; Rogers, The Diffusion of Innovations.

Economics is an article-based rather than book-based discipline: Readings will be drawn from non-technical (well-written) papers by key economists including Becker, Coase, Mundell, Stigler, Stiglitz, Krugman, Kahneman, Tversky, Keynes and Hayek; we will also examine comparative studies from other disciplines.