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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Economics : Economics

Undergraduate Course: Economics of Self-Management (ECNM10007)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Economics CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryMost Western societies are proud of being political democracies, but democracy rarely operates within the firm. Governments can be criticised freely and are answerable to those they seek to govern. By contrast, managers are not, in general, answerable to those they seek to manage, and the mildest criticism can be dangerous. The central question of this course is 'what would happen if workers ran their own firms?' Would self-managed (i.e. worker-managed) firms take the same decisions as their capitalist counterparts? Could such an economy be efficient? As well as these issues, the course covers related topics such as profit-sharing, codetermination and wage-earners' investment funds. The approach is partly theoretical, but also covers empirical studies of British, Italian, Spanish, Scandinavian and Yugoslav firms.
Course description Topics covered include: comparative theory of capitalist and self-managed firms; general equilibrium of the self-managed economy; monitoring and the labour-process; workers' cooperatives under capitalism; industrial democracy, codetermination and worker-directors; the effect of worker participation on wage-bargaining and productivity; financial participation, profit-sharing and share-ownership schemes; collective ownership, wage-earners' investment funds.

The course is taught through a programme of lectures. Learning-by-doing, through groupwork and presentations is an important ingredient of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Economics 2 (ECNM08006)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have an equivalent of at least 4 semester-long Economics courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. This MUST INCLUDE courses in Intermediate Macroeconomics (with calculus); Intermediate Microeconomics (with calculus); and Probability and Statistics. If macroeconomics and microeconomics courses are not calculus-based, then, in addition, Calculus (or Mathematics for Economics) is required.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. A knowledge and understanding of key economic issues arising from worker-managed firms and related topics, including principles, models and associated mathematical techniques, along with empirical evidence on and applications and policy implications of those models and a deeper understanding of recent research activity in some more specialised areas.
  2. Research and investigative skills such as problem framing and solving and the ability to assemble and evaluate complex evidence and arguments.
  3. Communication skills in order to critique, create and communicate understanding and to collaborate with and relate to others.
  4. Personal effectiveness through task-management, time-management, teamwork and group interaction, dealing with uncertainty and adapting to new situations, personal and intellectual autonomy through independent learning.
  5. Practical/technical skills such as, modelling skills (abstraction, logic, succinctness), qualitative and quantitative analysis and general IT literacy.
Reading List
Useful references are: Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory and Labor-Managed Firms, vol. 13, A Bryson (ed.), 2012.

Self-management: economic theory and Yugoslav practice (paperback edn.), S Estrin, 2010

Economic Democracy: the political economy of self-management and participation, D A R George, 1993

There is no single text that covers all aspects of this course at an appropriate level. A variety of advanced readings will be used, mainly from economics journals and research monographs.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills See Learning Outcomes
Additional Class Delivery Information 1 x 2hr lecture per week, plus 4 x 1 hour tutorials in addition.
Course organiserMr Donald George
Tel: (0131 6)50 3849
Course secretaryMrs Anna Domagala
Tel: (0131 6)51 5305
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