Established in Spring 2019, this lectureship series was recently established to benefit the Carleton student academic experience by bringing outstanding faculty from other universities or colleges to campus to lecture on topics highlighting the intersection between economics and history. This program is intended to encourage sustained interaction between the visitors, history and economics students, faculty and the broader campus and community.  Along with teaching a class, the lecturer will also present a public talk for the class, campus, and wider community. The Lectureship will alternate between History and Economics departments every other year. 

The Economics Dept hosts the 2nd of the Ott family lectureships during Winter Term 2020 with Tim Leunig as its Distinguished Lecturer.  Leunig is an international prize-winning economist, historian and lecturer. He is visiting Carleton College from London, where he divides his time between academia and government service. He teaches economic history at the London School of Economics, is economic adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and has served as chief analyst and chief scientific adviser to the UK Department for Education. 


ECON 233 World Economic History co-taught by Professors Jenny Bourne and Tim Leunig

This course surveys world economic history from Paleolithic times to today. It helps students understand the fundamental forces that drive economic growth and living standards. We address questions such as: How did economic systems function during the ancient and medieval periods? What caused the Industrial Revolution, allowing billions of humans to escape the “Malthusian trap”? Why haven’t all countries experienced economic growth?  Finally, what lessons can we learn from the past to help us better understand what the future may hold? The course focuses on long-term trends, but we will also examine short-run cyclical phenomena such as financial crises.

January 17, 2020, 10:50am – Convocation by Tim Leunig

What Makes a Great Education? Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century”. 

Are our schools and universities best served by a traditional curriculum? Or do we need a radical overhaul to make it fit for the twenty-first century? In this lecture Professor Leunig argues that knowledge is the only firm foundation for the creativity our societies need if we are to tackle the economic, social and environmental challenges that our world faces over the next fifty years.

Dr. Leunig has written widely on current and historical economic issues. Both scholarly and witty, Leunig emphasizes the importance of cultivating creativity in our educational system – that creativity, based on knowledge, results in world-changing ideas.

January 23, 2020, 4:30pm, Boliou 104 – Economics Department Annual Veblen-Clark Lecture by Tim Leunig

“What Can We Do To Get More University Applicants to Aim High? Lessons from the UK”

Under-participation in selective universities lowers social mobility in England, the United States, and elsewhere. English universities have standardized tuition costs, and strongly heterogeneous graduate earnings. Attending a selective university is therefore strongly incentivized, yet under-participation is extensive. The British Government sent “nudge” letters to students whose prior attainment made them competitive for entry into selective universities, urging them to consider that option. Professor Leunig will talk about evidence found following this large scale English field experiment.