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IR120: Trade, Development and the Environment


Course Content

Some of the most complex problems in global politics exist at the nexus between international trade, development and environment. While globalisation has made countries ever more interdependent, the capacity of the international system to deal with global challenges remains limited. A wide range of global problems still awaits effective international solutions – from the depletion of natural resources and global climate change to the creation of an effective and fair trading system and the promotion of economic development.

This course examines the global politics of trade, development and the environment, against the background of continued economic globalisation and the emergence of new forms of global governance. Using historical reflection, conceptual discussion and in-depth case studies, the course aims to promote a better understanding of how we can reconcile the competing objectives of free trade, environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation.

The course is divided into three parts: the first part introduces the theory and history of trade policy, economic development and environmental protection. The second part investigates the ways in which key actors in global politics – states, NGOs, global corporations and international organisations – are shaping outcomes in international policy-making. The final part examines the potential for effective global governance in selected case-studies: the global politics of climate change; the clash between intellectual property rights and access to essential medicines in the developing world; and the international trade conflict over genetically modified (GM) food.

World-class LSE teaching

With a vibrant research culture, the LSE Department of International Relations is one of the oldest and largest in the world, and remains a leading world centre for the development of the subject. Its reputation for international excellence was recognised in the most recent National Research Assessment Exercise when the International Relations and Government Departments, received one of the highest rankings.               

On this three week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE.



Falkner, Robert (ed), The Handbook of Global Climate and Environment Policy, Cheltenham: John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

Harman, Sophie and Williams, David (eds), Governing the World? Cases in Global Governance, London: Routledge, 2013.

*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



2017 course dates to be confirmed.

Lecturer: Dr Robert Falkner

Level: 100 level

Fees: Click here for information

Prerequisites: None

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: Written work 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.