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Unit information: Comparative and International Political Economy in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Comparative and International Political Economy
Unit code POLI20012
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Mircea Popa
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The unit aims to equip students with a basic understanding of the interactions between politics and the economy, from a domestic and international perspective. The unit assumes no prior knowledge of economics, and does not employ any mathematical modelling. Given the novelty of some of the topics, a very gentle introduction will be provided. The broad topics to be covered include the political aspects of:

  • the regulation of markets and businesses,
  • the redistribution of income,
  • international trade,
  • international financial flows,
  • economic growth.

The unit aims are:

  • Providing politics students with a set of skills often explicitly required by employers in the public and private sector.
  • Making students comfortable with the basic debates in political economy.
  • Providing students with an understanding of the fundamentally political nature of some topics in economics.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

- Employ the basic tools of economics to analyse policymaking.
- Evaluate the need for market regulation by governments in particular cases.
- Evaluate the distributional effects of taxing and spending policies as well as the political implications of these effects.
- Evaluate the distributional effects of international trade as well as the political implications of these effects.
- Assess the political implications of international financial flows.

Teaching details

1 x two hour lecture per week

1 x one hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

  • 1000 word essay (25%)
  • 3000 word essay (75%)

Both essays assess all learning outcomes listed above.

Reading and References

Oatley, Thomas. 2018. International Political Economy. Routlege (Older editions are generally fine).

Frieden, Jeffry, David Lake, and J. Lawrence Broz, eds. 2017. International Political Economy: Perspectives on Global Power and Wealth. WW Norton. (We need the latest edition for this one.)

Agemoglu, Daron, and James Robinson, 2013. Why Nations Fail. Crown Business.

Piketty, Thomas. 2014. Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Harvard University Press.

Rivoli, Pietra. 2014. The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy. Wiley.