EC240      Half Unit
PPE Interdisciplinary Research Seminar

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Erik Berglof


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

This course is only available to second year students on the BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. The course will run from the beginning of Lent Term in year 2 and will continue as EC340 through to the end of Lent Term in year 3.

Course content

The course will include lectures given by top researchers from inside and outside LSE, including researchers from the public, private and third sector. The lectures will expose the students to research on the frontier in topics such as public economics, political economy and decision making in the public domain. This research and background reading will then be discussed in seminars.


7 hours and 30 minutes of lectures and 5 hours of seminars in the LT.

The course will run across three terms starting at the beginning of Lent term in year 2 of the PPE and continuing in Michaelmas and Lent term of year 3 of the PPE. Each term will consist of a series of biweekly lectures (5 x 90mins) and seminars (5 x 60mins).

Lectures will be given by outside speakers on a specific topic, such as inequality, and will allow for the opportunity to interact and ask questions. Depending on the availability of the speaker, there may be the opportunity for further discussion at an informal social event after the lecture.  The seminars will discuss the previous lecture as well as examining background reading related to the topic.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 1 presentation in the LT.

Students will write a 1,000 word formative essay in the LT of year 2 to prepare them for the summative assessment of year 3. In addition, students will discuss present current research possibly in teams. Feedback on these essays and the presentation will help prepare students for the final, summative essay and presentation.

Indicative reading

Acemoglu, Daron and James Robinson, Why Nations Fail, Crown Books, 2012;

Banerjee, Abhijit and Esther Duflo, Poor Economics, Random House, 2011;

Besley, Timothy and Torsten Persson, Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters, Princeton University Press, 2011;

Fukuyama, Francis, The Origins of Political Order, Profile Books, 2011;

Moore, Barrington, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, Beacon Press, 1966;

North, Douglass, John Wallis and Barry Weingast, Violence and Social Orders, Cambridge University Press, 2009;

Piketty, Thomas, Capital in the 21st Century, Harvard University Press, 2014;

Sen, Amartya, The Idea of Justice, Allen Lane, 2009.

An extensive list of required and further readings will be available on Moodle.


Presentation (20%), essay (70%, 2000 words) and class participation (10%).

Students will be assessed throughout the course, through essays, presentations and class participation. There will be one summative essay per term and one presentation per term in MT and LT of the third year of the PPE.

The presentation (20%) and essay (70%, 2000 words) will be in the MT and LT of year 3 (see EC340).

Class participation in EC240 and EC340 (10%).

The overall grade the students will receive will be one of four: fail, pass, merit and distinction.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2015/16: Unavailable

Average class size 2015/16: Unavailable

Capped 2015/16: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills