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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Economic and Social History

Undergraduate Course: Malfeasance and misbehaviour in finance: perceptions and realities, 1636 to the present (ECSH10100)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe historical evolution and persistence of tropes of criminal or immoral behaviour (real or merely perceived) by individuals and firms engaged in financial transactions, and the misbehaviour of financial markets as a whole.
Course description This Honours option course looks at historical claims of criminal or immoral behaviour by individuals and firms engaged in financial transactions, and at the misbehaviour (in the behavioural economics sense) of financial markets as a whole. The course aims to bring together concepts from financial history, behavioural economics, sociology and anthropology to investigate the evolution and persistence of tropes of financier behaviour and the social attitudes towards the financial industry over the last five centuries.

The course is structured thematically around nine categories of claimed financial malfeasance and/or misbehaviour, ranging from bubbles, mass swindles (e.g. Ponzi schemes), individual rogue and insider trading, to broader issues considering the relationship of principals and agents, creditors and debtors, and "free" financial markets and state authorities and regulators. Two seminars in the beginning of the course give an overview of the industry and its people down the centuries. There is no chronological progression in the seminars: In each one, students will be introduced with apparently similar situations arising both in recent times and also in the more remote past, and will be asked to contemplate (a) whether such similarities are anything other than superficial; (b) insights on the attitudes of contemporaries when faced with such situations, and their evolution over time.

Students will be introduced to a variety of primary sources, including financial information, press reports, pamphlets, legal and parliamentary sources, non-textual sources like cartoons and satirical prints, fictional and autobiographical accounts, and literary journalism. Part of the assessment of the course will be the written presentation of a primary source connected with one of the themes discussed in the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, PTs are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 504030).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have 3 History courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Enrolments for this course are managed by the CAHSS Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department. All enquiries to enrol must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
1,000 word Primary Source Analysis (25%)
3,000 Essay (50%)
350 word Forum Participation (25%)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their essays. Sufficient time will be given between assignments so that feedback can be incorporated into correcting and improving future performance. Students will have the opportunity to discuss their feedback with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework, an ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative, intellectual integrity and maturity, and an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Kindleberger, Charles, Manias, Panics, and Crashes: a history of financial crises (Wiley, 4th edition, 2000)

Shiller, Robert, Irrational Exuberance (Princeton University Press, 2005)

Karen Ho, Liquidated (Duke University Press)

Abolafia, Mitchell Y., Making Markets: Opportunism and Restraint on Wall Street, Cambridge (Mass): Harvard University Press, 1996

David Graeber, Debt: The first 5,000 years (Melville House, 2014)

Niall Ferguson, The ascent of money: a financial history of the world, London 2008

George Robb, White-collar crime in Modern England: Financial fraud and business morality, 1845-1929, (Cambridge University Press, 1992)

Richard H. Thaler, Misbehaving: the making of behavioural economics (Penguin 2015)

Chancellor, E., Devil Take The Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation, Macmillan, 1999

Mark Freeman, Robin Pearson & James Taylor, Shareholder Democracies: Corporate governance in Britain and Ireland before 1850 (University of Chicago Press, 2012)

Mackay, C. (1841) Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Wiley, collection 1996)

Manne, Henry G., Insider Trading and the Stock Market, New York: The Free Press, 1966
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course will help students to develop the following core graduate attributes:
- Skills and abilities in research and enquiry;
- Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy;
- Skills and abilities in communication;
- Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Paul Kosmetatos
Tel: (0131 6)50 3838
Course secretaryMiss Lorna Berridge
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