Introduction to Alternative Perspectives in Economics ECON1011

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course has four distinctive aspects. The first is a coverage of methodology and history of economic thought, which are not usually part of standard micro and macro courses. The purpose of this section is not to provide a narrative of what came before 'current' economics and when, but to situate current economics historically so as to understand the context in which it emerged and its scope of application, and the institutional and political reasons for its persistence.

The second distinctive aspect is a critical analysis of orthodox micro and macro theories. The purpose of this section is to examine central features of these theories, reveal their possible deficiencies, and bring out the sorts of considerations that could enhance our understanding of the economy.

The third and fourth distinctive aspects of the course introduce students to two schools of thought alternative to the current orthodoxy, namely, Marxist economics and post-Keynesian economics.


Lectures: 2 hours of lectures x 10 weeks.

Tutorials: 2 hour tutorials x 5 weeks.

Tutorial timeslots can be selected on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

A grade D or above in both Economics 1A and Economics 1B.

Excluded Courses



ILO being assessed

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to generate an understanding of:

■ the different perspectives (schools of thought) on the key principles of economics;

■ the methodology of the discipline; theories of how individuals, firms and governments behave and the economy works, and the constraints they face;

■ the nature of policy actions available to policy-makers;

■ the role and methods of empirical analysis;

■ the importance of history and of the cultural and social environment;

■ the relationship of economics with other disciplines.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course students should be able to:

1. Assess the extent to which the scope of application of economic theories and the ascendancy of schools of thought is affected by the historical context in which they emerged.

2. Describe and discuss the key tenets of post-Keynesian and/or Marxian economics and how they differ from those of the current mainstream.

3. Discuss and evaluate the contribution of different schools of economic thought and approaches to economics for our understanding of the economy.

4. Contrast the policy implications resulting from alternative theoretical perspectives on various economic topics.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.