DV423      Half Unit
Global Political Economy of Development

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Robert Wade CON. H707


This course is available on the CEMS Exchange, IMEX Exchange, MPA in International Development, MSc in African Development, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in Management, MSc in Management (CEMS MIM), MSc in Management (MiM Exchange), MSc in Media, Communication and Development, MSc in Political Economy of Late Development and MiM Exchange. This course is not available as an outside option.

Please note that in case of over-subscription to this course priority will be given to students from the Department of International Development and its joint degrees (where their regulations permit). The instructors reserve the right to limit enrolment on the course. At the instructors’ discretion, enrolment may be denied to any student on the basis of a pre-quiz. The course is capped at 70 students.

Course content

The course starts from the Adam Smith question of how national economies create more, or less, income and wealth. But rather than drill down into particular countries it paints the big picture. Economic growth and technological change in long-term perspective. The four waves of first ‘trade’, then ‘production’ globalization. The ‘evolution’ of  inter-state regimes, including for trade, capital flows, exchange rates. The Bretton Woods regime, and the post-Bretton Woods dollar standard. The organization of the World Bank, the IMF, some other agencies in the UN System, the G20. The  major financial/economic crises of 1997-99 and 2007-continuing. In contrast to much writing in International Political Economy, it looks at these things from the perspective of the low and middle-income countries (in the spirit of the Swahili proverb, "Until lions have their own historians tales of hunting will always glorify the hunters"), and does not assume that the neoliberal-globalization policy regime which G7 states urge upon the rest of the world is conducive to ‘catch-up’ development, even though the frequency of extreme poverty is falling.  


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students have the option of writing one essay of 2,000 words.

Indicative reading

Core text: John Ravenhill (ed), Global Political Economy, 4th edition, OUP, 2014.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 16
Merit 66.9
Pass 17.1
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2015/16: Unavailable

Average class size 2015/16: Unavailable

Controlled access 2015/16: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information