International Political Economy

Course Description: 

This introductory seminar surveys the major topics of International Political Economy (IPE). It serves as a mandatory introductory course. There are no formal prerequisites for this seminar other than the willingness to read a lot, think hard and participate actively in class discussions. The reading load is substantial and students are expected to have done all the readings before class. 

 IPE revolves around several key questions such as how economic forces shape the political world order (and vice versa), how external economic actors influence domestic policies and politics in the realm of trade, monetary exchanges, fiscal issues, crises and more; how conflicts and coalitions emerge and shape the politics of policy making in the economic arena; how capitalist democracies work and which institutions underpin their divergent or convergent evolution; how do interests, institutions and ideas shape domestic responses to international economic challenges?

Learning Outcomes: 

The course aims at first-hand knowledge of classic debates and cutting-edge literature in IPE. This will arm students with the tools to become critical consumers of theoretical and empirical research in IPE and daily news by developing argumentative and research-related skills. 

More specifically, at the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Grasp the interplay of economic and political forces at the international level and how those influence world (dis)order;
  • Show how different domestic configurations influence international preferences and how this may lead to conflict or cooperation in the international arena;
  • Understand how common international economic shocks can lead to different political outcomes in the domestic realm;
  • Discuss the impact of interests, ideas and institutions in IPE;
  • Read and confront various strands of complex literatures on theoretical and empirical grounds;
  • Construct a sound argument and get the basics of research design.

Apart from the introduction and final exam, we will have ten lectures on core IPE topics: in the first hour, I will present the main issues on a given topic (for which the ``background'' readings are necessary), while the remaining 40 minutes will be devoted to a presentation and discussion of more advanced arguments (the ``presentation'') by 5 students: 2 will present the argument, 2 will challenge it (the 4 students have to write a position paper to be circulated 24 hours before class) and the last student is tasked with producing a critical position paper on the topic summarizing the discussion that will help all students to prepare the final exam. The presentation is 20% of the grade, the position papers 30%, the final exam 40% and participation is 10%.

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