PPE Interdisciplinary Research Seminar

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Charlie Bean 32L 1.18

Prof Erik Berglof


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 third year students on the BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. The course started at the beginning of Lent Term in year 2 as EC240 and continues as EC340 through to the end of Lent Term in year 3.

Course content

The course will include lectures given by top researchers from inside and outside LSE, including researchers from the public, private and third sector. The lectures will expose the students to 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 discussed in seminars.


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

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. Each term will consist of a series of biweekly lectures (5 x 90 mins) and seminars (5 x 60 mins).

Lectures will be given by outside speakers on a specific topic, such as inequality, 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 seminars will discuss the previous lecture as well as examining background reading related to the topic.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce one essay and one presentation each in the MT and LT.

Students will write a 2,500 word essays in groups in the LT of year 2 and MT of year 3 and an individual essay of 2,000 words in LT in year 3. In addition, students will discuss and present current research. Feedback on these group essays and presentations will help prepare students for the final individual essay and presentation.

Indicative reading

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);

Acemoglu, Daron and James Robinson, Why Nations Fail, Crown Books, 2012;

Banerjee, Abhijit and Esther Duflo, Poor Economics, Random House, 2011;

Fukuyama, Francis, The Origins of Political Order, Profile Books, 2011;

Moore, Barrington, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, Beacon Press, 1966;

North, Douglass, John Wallis and Barry Weingast, Violence and Social Orders, Cambridge University Press, 2009;

Piketty, Thomas, Capital in the 21st Century, Harvard University Press, 2014;

Sen, Amartya, The Idea of Justice, Allen Lane, 2009.

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


This information is for students in the second year of the PPE Interdisciplinary Research Seminar. First year students please refer to the EC240 course guide.

Students will be assessed throughout the course, through essays, presentations and class participation. There will be one summative essay per term and one presentation per term in MT and LT of the third year of the PPE.

Presentation (20%) and essay (70%, 2000 words) in the MT and LT of year 3.

Class participation in EC240 and EC340 (10%).

The overall grade the students will receive will be one of four: fail, pass, merit and distinction.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Capped 2016/17: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

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