GV517      Half Unit
Comparative Political Economy: New Approaches and Issues in CPE

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof David Soskice and Prof Catherine Boone


This course is available on the MRes Political Science and PhD in Political Science. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is open to research students from any of the LSE departments.


This course will be open to research students (PhD students) from any of the LSE departments. 

Course content

This half-unit reading seminar will survey a set of major topics in the Comparative Political Economy (CPE) of advanced capitalist and developing countries. We will consider different analytic strategies for conceptualizing variation in national economic structure, explaining change in economic structure, and understanding the political causes and effects thereof.  The seminar is designed for PhD students (research students) across the School wanting to familiarize themselves with some of the major themes, controversies, and research frontiers in CPE.  Our goal is to nurture innovation in doctoral-level CPE research at the LSE.

While situating our analyses in the context of a changing global economy, our focus will be on describing and explaining transformation at the level of nation states.  Drivers of change can be found in the locus and organization of political power, in technological change, and/or in the dynamics of capital.  Our seminar will explore both productive connections and tensions that emerge across these explanatory models.

Course materials are organized around three major topic areas (though like most else in CPE they are interrelated):  redistribution, accumulation, and domestic regimes.  A great many questions fit into these areas and our idea is that the seminars should enable students to raise issues related to their research.


30 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

For formative work, feedback will be provided on a dissertation proposal or chapter.

Indicative reading

Ben Ansell, From the Ballot to the Blackboard: The Redistributive Political Economy of Education Reform, CUP 2014

Beramendi, Hausermann, Kitschelt and Kriesi eds. The Politics of Advanced Capitalism CUP 2015

Brynjolfsson & McAfee, The Second Machine Age, Norton 2014

VoxEU.org,  Secular Stagnation: Facts, Causes and Cures CEPR 2014 (chaps by Summers, Eichengreen, Krugman, Gordon, Glaeser,  Mokyr, Crafts)

Kimberly Morgan, "Path Shifting of the Welfare State: Electoral Competition and the Expansion of Work-Family Policies in Western Europe", World Politics, Jan 2013

Ellen Meikins Woods,  "Unhappy Families: Global Capitalism in a World of Nation-States," Monthly Review, 51/3 (1999).

Acemoglu, Daron, and James A. Robinson, Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), chapters 2-3 (pp. 15-87).

Ali Kadri, Arab Development Denied: Dynamics of Accumulation by Wars of Encroachment (Anthem 2014).

Richard F. Doner, The Politics of Uneven Development: Thailand's Economic Growth in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge U. Press, 2009).

Harvey, D. The New Imperialism: Accumulation by Dispossession, Monthly Review, 2004

Jean-Paul Azam, Trade, Exchange Rate and Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (Cambridge University Press), 2008.

Ben Ross Schneider, Hierarchical Capitalism in Latin America: Business, Labor, and the Challenges of Equitable Development  (CUP 2013).


Coursework (100%, 5000 words) in the LT.

Each student will submit a 20-25 page (double spaced) research paper, dissertation proposal, or draft dissertation chapter as the basis of assessment for this course. 

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2016/17: 3

Average class size 2016/17: 2

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