International Political Economy

Course Description: 

This course is a specialized graduate-level seminar in international political economy (IPE) that assumes little or no background in the field. The course surveys four main substantive domains of the international economy that are increasingly inter-related: trade, investment, finance and development. In addition, the last part of the course addresses emerging issues of international migration and environment. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach and examines readings from both economics and political science. At the end of the course, students will be able to analyze phenomena and answer questions such as: why are democracies generally more open to international trade than authoritarian states? Why are some developing countries more attractive to international investors than others? Why is the value of the Saudi Arabian Riyal fairly constant over time while that of the Euro is constantly changing? Students will see that these economic policy outcomes are influenced by domestic actors – voters, interest groups, political parties, politicians, bureaucrats – as well as political institutions, domestic and international

Learning Outcomes: 

The course consists of “lecture” and “seminar” sessions. The lectures equip students with basic theoretical knowledge and methodological tools to be able to read contemporary IPE literature. The seminars delve deeper into the literature to identify possible directions in which the existing scholarship can be advanced. The aim of the course is to equip students with necessary knowledge and skills to conduct independent research and build on the current state of knowledge in the field and in doing so, promote research on contemporary IPE. 



  1. Participation and presentation (20%):  students are required to participate actively in class and present papers during the “seminar” sessions.
  2. Comment papers (30%): each student will submit two comment papers on the readings of a “seminar” session of his/her own choosing. These sessions may be the same sessions in which the student is assigned to present papers. The paper may include relevant readings from a “lecture” session, but please don’t write exclusively on the “lecture” readings. The paper should be 1000 words in length and provide i) a succinct summary of the research question, methodology, and major findings of the readings; ii) an analytical review that identifies their strengths and weaknesses of the readings; and iii) possible research questions that follow from the commentary. The paper should be submitted by noon of the day before the “seminar” session so that it can be circulated to the class.
  3. Policy papers (30%): each student will submit two policy papers on a policy debate of his/her own choosing. The paper should be 1000 words in length. It should i) take a position on the debate; ii) explain why this position is taken; and iii) consider possible criticisms and defend the position against them. The topics of policy debate are announced during class together with the deadlines of the policy paper. Each topic of policy debate has its own deadline.
  4. For this assignment, students will have a choice between Option A and Option B:

Option A: Statement of purpose (20%): each student will assume that he/she is applying to a PhD program of his/her own choosing and intends to carry out research in the field of IPE. Thus, each student will write a statement of purpose, which is typically required of an applicant by almost all PhD programs. The statement should i) clearly identify a research question in IPE, ii) justify its scholarly significance and iii) mention the people (potential advisors) whom you want to work with during your PhD study and how you may benefit from their expertise. The statement is expected to be 4-5 double spaced pages in length and is due on November 30th, 2017.

Option B: Country report (20%): each student will assume that he/she is a specialist of country X employed in a consultancy firm. One of the firm’s client, a big multinational corporation (MNC) producing consumer electronics is considering investing in country X. To make an investment decision, the CEO of the MNC would like to know i) the general economic environment of country X concerning foreign direct investment (eg: cost of labor, availability of land and etc.); ii) the condition of the consumer electronics industry in country X (eg: any rivals?); iii) government policies governing FDI in country X, both general and industry specific and iv) the relationship between the government and MNCs and the level of political risk in country X. Your task is to write a report on country X addressing these issues, where country X is a country of your choice. The report is expected to be 4-5 double spaced pages in length and is due on November 30th, 2017.

 Penalty for late work:  1 percentage point of overall grade per calendar day

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