EC240      Half Unit
PPE Interdisciplinary Research Seminar

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible



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 seminars given by academics from inside and outside LSE, as well as speakers from the public, private and third sector. These guest seminars will engage students with 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 further discussed in the following week’s seminar led by the teacher responsible for the course. Attendance is required in all seminars.


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

Seminars by guest speakers, which take place in weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9, are 1.5 hours to allow time for Q&A; subsequent discussion classes, which take place in weeks 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10, are 1 hour each. Attendance is mandatory in both seminars and classes.

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 (as EC340). Each term will consist of a series of biweekly seminars by guest speakers (5 x 90mins) and discussion classes (5 x 60mins).

Seminars in weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9  will be given by guest speakers on a specific topic, such as inequality, universal basic income, or limits of markets,  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 subsequent discussion classes led by the instructor will discuss the previous week’s seminar as well as examining background reading related to the topic.

Formative coursework

Seminar participation and all coursework for this course will be assessed summatively (see below).

Indicative reading

AcemogluDaron and James Robinson, Why Nations Fail, Crown Books, 2012;

Besley, Timothy and Torsten Persson, Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters, Princeton University Press, 2011 (will be used as the core text book, and students will be asked to familiarise themselves with the core modelling framework developed in the book);

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


This information is for students in the first year of the PPE Interdisciplinary Research Seminar (i.e. 2nd year BSc PPE students taking EC240). 3rd year BSc PPE students taking the second year of this course please refer to the EC340 course guide.

Students will be assessed throughout the course, through essays and class participation, which will include structured discussions in a panel or group presentation form. In the first year (EC240) students will be assessed by one essay and class participation. There will be one essay per term in MT and LT of the third  year of the PPE, when this course continues as EC340, and class participation will be continued to be assessed.

The final summative grade will weigh together the essays (60%) and class participation (40%) from all three terms (the essays will be weighted 25%, 25% and 50%, respectively).

The overall grade the students will receive will be one of four: fail, pass, merit and distinction. This mark is reported on the transcript, but does not count towards the degree classification.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2018/19: 37

Average class size 2018/19: 19

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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