Core Subject: Theories and issues in International Political Economy

Course content

This course offers an advanced introduction to the field of International Political Economy (IPE). The course divides into three inter-related parts. The first considers the history of the international economy and the various ways in which it has been ordered politically. The part of the course supplies a vital historical backdrop to contemporary debates, but it also allows for an early discussion of competing theoretical accounts of world order and the necessary and sufficient conditions for the construction and maintenance of a liberal economic order. The second part of the course examines these theoretical positions in more detail. The following are covered: liberal and realist theories of international politics, economic liberalism, economic nationalism, constructivism Marxism and varieties of critical IPE and feminism. These first two parts of the course are taught intensively through two 3-hour sessions per week for the first seven weeks. The third part of the course takes a thematic approach to the study of contemporary IPE. Topics covered include finance, production, trade, consumption, the environment, gender and development. Several recurrent themes will be woven into these discussions, which will each be covered in one 2-hour class across the second part of the course. These themes include debates about the locus and operation of power, the significance of institutions, the prospects for ‘global governance’, the role of the state under conditions of ‘globalisation’ and the importance of ideas (such as neoliberalism).


The course is structured as follows:


1(a) Introduction

1(b) IPE: the anatomy of a field

2(a) The world economy in the nineteenth century

2(b) Inter-war crisis of the world economy

3(a) The rise and fall of the Bretton Woods system

3(b) Globalisation and beyond

4(a) Economic nationalism

4(b) Economic liberalism

5(a) International Relations theories of IPE

5(b) Constructivist IPE

6(a) Marxism and IPE

6(b) Critical theory and feminist IPE

7. Midterm workshop

8. Trade

9. Production

10. Finance

11. Consumption

12. Environment

13. Development

14. Conclusions, the future of IPE and examination preparation


Core subject in the core-subject line in International Political Economy. Only accessible to students who are admitted to International Political Economy.


NB! All exams (both ordinary and re-exams) will take place at the end of the autumn semester only, as core subjects are not offered in the spring

Classes will consist of a mixture of mini-lectures, small group exercises and plenary debates and discussions. The course will be team taught with an emphasis on active learning.

The following is an indicative list of core readings. A finalized list of core and required readings will be provided before the start of the course.


Abdelal, R, Blyth, M. and Parsons, C. (eds) Constructing the International Economy, Cornell University Press, 2010.


Bakir, C. ‘Bargaining with Multinationals: Why State Capacity Matters’, New Political Economy 20(1), 2015, pp.63-84


Bedford, K. and Rai, S.M. ‘Feminists Theorize International Political Economy’,  Signs 36(1), 2010, pp. 1-18


Best, J. ‘Hollowing Out Keynesian Norms: How the Search for a Technical Fix Undermined the Bretton Woods Regime’, Review of International Studies, 30(3), 2004, pp. 383-404.


Blyth, M. Handbook of International Political Economy, Routledge, 2009.


Blyth, M. ‘Torn Between Two Lovers? Caught in the Middle of British and American IPE,’ New Political Economy, 14(3), 2009. pp. 329-336


Chang, H.J. Economics: the User’s Guide, Bloomsbury 2015


Chang, H-J. ‘Kicking Away the Ladder: Infant Industry Promotion in Historical Perspective’, Oxford Development Studies, 31(1), 2003 pp. 21-32


Chorev, N.  ‘The Institutional Project of Neo-Liberal Globalism: The Case of the WTO’, Theory and Society, 34(3), 2005, pp. 317-355


Christoff, P. and Eckersley, R. ‘A World Fit for Us All’, in Globalization and the Environment, Rowman and Littlefield, 2013, pp. 1-31


Clift, B. Comparative Political Economy: States, Markets and Global Capitalism, Palgrave, 2014.


Clift, B. and Woll, C. ‘Economic patriotism: political intervention in open economies’, Journal of European Public Policy 19(3), 2012, pp. 307-323


Cohen, B.J. International Political Economy: An Intellectual History, Princeton University Press, 2008.


Cox, R. ‘Social Forces, States and World Orders: Beyond International Relations Theory’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies vol, 10, no. 2, 1981, pp. 126-55.


Crouch, Colin The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism, Polity Press, 2011.


Hall, P. and Soskice, D. (eds) Varieties of Capitalism, Oxford University Press, 2001.


Helleiner, E.  ‘Economic Nationalism as a Challenge to Neoliberalism? Lessons from the Nineteenth Century’, International Studies Quarterly 46 (3), 2002, pp. 307-329.


Hoskins, T.E. Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion, Pluto Press, 2014


Hufbauer, G.C. and Cimino-Isaacs, C. ‘How will TPP and TTIP Change the WTO System?’ Journal of International Economic Law, Published online August 2015, pp. 1-18


Ikenberry, J. ‘ A World Economy Restored: Expert Consensus and the Anglo-American Postwar Settlement’, International Organization 46(1), 1992, pp. 289-321


James, H. ‘The multiple contexts of Bretton Woods’, Oxford Review of Economic Policy 28(3), 2012, pp. 411-430.


Katzenstein, P.J. and Nelson, S.C ‘Reading the right signals and reading the signals right: IPE and the financial crisis of 2008,’ Review of International Political Economy 20(5), 2013, pp. 1101-1131


Keohane, R.O. ‘International liberalism reconsidered’, in John Dunn (ed.) The Economic Limits to Modern Politics, Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 165-194.


Kindleberger, C The World in Depression 1929-39, University of California Press, 1973, chapter 14, pp. 288-305.


Marx, K. and Engels, F. Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848.


O’Brien, Robert and Williams, Marc Global Political Economy, 5th  edition, Palgrave Macmillan 2016


Paul, D.E. and Amawi, A. (eds)The Theoretical Evolution of International Political Economy: A Reader, 3rd edition, Oxford University Press, 2013


Phillips, N., Bhaskaran, R. Nathan, D and Upendranadh, C ‘The social foundations of global production networks: towards a global political economy of child labour’, Third World Quarterly, 35(3), 2014, pp. 428-446


Picketty, T. Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Harvard University Press, 2013.


Polanyi, Karl The Great Transformation, Beacon Press 2002 (Originally published 1944)


Porter, T. Globalization and Finance, Polity Press, 2005


Ravenhill, John (ed.) Global Political Economy, 5th  edition, Oxford University Press, 2016.


Ravenhill, J. ‘Commentary: Global Value Chains and Development’, Review of International Political Economy 21(1), 2014, pp. 264-274


Rodik, D Economics Rules: Why Economics Works, When It Fails, and How to Tell the Difference, Oxford University Press 2017.


Ruggie, J.G. ‘International Regimes, Transactions and Change: Embedded Liberalism in the Postwar Economic Order,’ International Organization, vol. 36, no. 2 (1982), pp. 379-416.


Schor, J.B. ‘Prices and quantities: Unsustainable consumption and the global economy’, Ecological Economics, 55(3), 15 November 2005, pp. 309-320


Schwartz , H. and Seabrooke, L. ‘Varieties of Residential Capitalism in the International Political Economy: Old Welfare States and the New Politics of Housing’, Comparative European Politics 6(3), 2008, pp. 237-261.


Schweller, R. ‘Realism and the Present Great Power System. Growth and Positional Conflict Over Scarce Resources’, chapter 2 in Kapstein, E.B. and Mastanduno, M. (eds), Unipolar Politics. Realism and state strategies after the Cold War, Columbia University Press, 1999, pp. 28-67


Seabrooke, L. and Wigan, D. ‘Global wealth chains in the international political economy’, Review of International Political Economy, 21(1), 2014, pp.  264-274


Selwyn, B. ‘Twenty-first-century International Political Economy: A class-relational perspective’, European Journal of International Relations  21(3), 2014, pp. 513-537.


Strange, S. ‘International Economics and International Politics: A Case of Mutual Neglect’, International Affairs, 46(2), 1970, pp. 304-15


Strange, S. States and Markets, Bloomsbury Academic 2015 [1998]


Veblen, T The Theory of the Leisure Class, Unwin 1970 [1899]


Watson, M. Foundations of International Political Economy, Palgrave, 2005.


Watson, M. ‘Trade Justice and Individual Consumption Choices: Adam Smith’s Spectator Theory and the Moral Constitution of the Fair Trade Consumer’, European Journal of International Relations, 13 (2), 2007, pp. 263-288.


Watson, M. The Market, Agenda Publishing, 2018.


Webb. M.C. and Krasner, S.D. ‘Hegemonic Stability Theory: An Empirical Assessment’, Review of International Studies 15(2), 1989, pp.183–98


Core readings will draw heavily upon the following journals: Global Governance, International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, New Political Economy, Review of International Political Economy, Review of International Studies, Socio-Economic Review.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Type of assessment
Oral examination
Synopsis and oral examination
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • English
  • 56


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

Department of Political Science, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Political Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Ben Rosamond   (2-70804e7774813c79833c7279)
Saved on the 29-04-2021

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