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IR102: Capitalism, Democracy and Equality: The Political Economy of the Advanced Nations



Course Content

This course introduces students to the complex and conflictual relationship between democracy and capitalism in the advanced market economies (North America, Europe, Australasia and Japan). The focus of the course is on the different ways in which democratic states have sought to promote economic growth and redistribute resources in favour of different political interests. The course presents some key concepts and theories of comparative political economy, and uses them to compare institutions, policies and outcomes across countries and over time. 

The aim is to understand why some advanced countries have grown faster than others, why some are more unequal than others, why countries have addressed common international pressures in such different ways, and how they have responded to the current crisis. Key areas of enquiry include the growth of the public sector, the structure of the welfare state, the role of electoral and party politics, the politics of monetary and fiscal policy, the distribution of income and capital, and the consequences of the current crisis.


Esping-Andersen, Goesta (1990). Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism. Cambridge: Polity.
Hall, Peter and David Soskice (eds.) (2001). Varieties of Capitalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Glyn, Andrew (2006). Capitalism Unleashed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Crouch, Colin (2011). The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism. Cambridge: Polity.
Blyth, Mark (2013). Austerity. The History of a Dangerous Idea. New York: Oxford University Press.
Piketty, Thomas (2014). Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Cambridge MA: Belknapp

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice



Session: Two

Dates: 11 - 29 July 2016

Lecturer: Dr Jonathan Hopkin
Dr David Woodruff

Level: 100 level

Fees: Click here for information

Prerequisites: None

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One essay and one written examination

Typical credit**: 3 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU) 

How to apply?

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*assessment is optional – see FAQs

**You will need to check with your home institution. Read more about credit transfer here.