European Economics

One of the great things about an optional module like European Economics is that it allows you to develop your knowledge and understanding of the most important business and consumer market in the world by using some pretty simple economics from your micro and macro courses

Professor Cillian Ryan, University of Birmingham

Image by Giampaolo Squarcina

In many core micro and macro modules, there is often limited time to discuss the application of theory to the real world. This is a pity, as real-world applications can make the study of theory more interesting, as well as providing real world evidence to assess how well theory measures up to reality. Studying European economics is one way to apply theory to real-world economic issues.

European economics can cover a wide range of topics. These include elements drawn from many different areas of economics, including trade (the effects of the Single Market), Environmental economics (such as energy trading permits), and Industrial economics (the rationale behind a Europe-wide competition authority). It also addresses issues that are rarely taught in core undergraduate courses, such as the reasons for regional policy.

For instance, consider the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Agriculture is one of the world’s most unusual markets. Despite the fact that it is one of the best examples of perfect competition we can think of, it is probably the market most subject to government interference, particularly in Europe and North America. This has huge implications, not only for rich-world taxpayers but also for the earnings of many of the world’s poor food-exporting nations. The advent of biofuels and their impact on the price of basic foodstuffs adds a further layer of complications.

European economics can be taught at a variety of levels. First-year students can tackle some simple issues, while more complicated topics can be left to final year students. This is the beauty of European economics – it is varied and accessible on a number of levels.

Web Links

VoxEU’s section on European Institutions

VoxEU’s section on EU Policies

VoxEU’s section on European Regions