Political Economy

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Stephane Wolton CON 5.08


This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in Economics, MSc in Economics (2 Year Programme), MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change and MSc in Political Science and Political Economy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


Students must have completed Introductory Course in Mathematics and Statistics (EC400).

In very exceptional circumstances, students may take this course without EC400 provided they meet the necessary requirements and have received approval from the course conveners (via a face to face meeting), the MSc Economics Programme Director and their own Programme Director. Contact the Department of Economics for more information (

Students should have completed courses in intermediate level microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics.

Course content

An advanced treatment of Political Economy, covering theory, evidence and current issues. The course material will expand students’ capacity to think about policy relevant issues at the intersection between economics and political science, and will cover democratic and autocratic politics. Topics include election as information aggregation; politics as a principal agent problem; political economy and public finance; constitutional rules and policy outcomes; bureaucracy; media; special interest group politics; legislatures; political parties; direct democracy; rebellion and terrorism; democratization; international conflicts.


22 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 11 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

At least two written assignment for handing in per term (assignment will include some work with data sets provided by the instructor).

Indicative reading

Most of the reading is from journal articles; lists will be supplied at the start of each term. Two books supply the basic framework: T Besley, Principled Agents? Selection and Incentives in Politics, Oxford University Press, 2005 and T Persson & G Tabellini, Political Economics: Explaining Political Outcomes, MIT Press, 2000.


Assessment path 1
Exam (25%, duration: 2 hours) in the LT week 0.
Exam (25%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (50%, 6000 words) in the ST.

Assessment path 2
Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the LT week 0.
Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Students taking MSc Economics must take Assessment path 1 and will be required to submit the extended essay at the beginning of the ST.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2015/16: 7

Average class size 2015/16: 6

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2014/15 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 73%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)