IR470      Half Unit
International Political Economy

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr James Morrison


This course is compulsory on the MSc in International Political Economy, MSc in International Political Economy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in International Political Economy (Research). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

An advanced introduction to concepts and contending contending theoretical, analytical, and methodological approaches in international political economy, and an overview of contemporary issues in international economic relations.

This course is the core course for MSc International Political Economy. It aims to introduce students to various approaches to the study of international political economy (IPE), and to apply theories to important contemporary empirical issues. The first part of the course introduces students to the main theoretical concepts in and analytical approaches to political economy, emphasising the overlap between international and comparative approaches. After surveying the main schools of thought in the subject, it examines more recent theoretical developments, including the comparative and domestic approaches that have become increasingly prominent in the literature. The second part of the course addresses contemporary issues related to multinational corporations, globalisation and developing countries. The third part of the course focuses on methodological approaches to international political economy, exploring research design and qualitative and quantitative methods. Previous background in international relations, international economics, comparative politics and history is helpful but is not a requirement. Students with no previous background in the subject should read Walter and Sen, 'Analyzing the Global Political Economy' (2009), Oatley, 'International Political Economy' and Ravenhill, 'Global Political Economy' by the end of the first term.

Watch a short introductory video on this course:


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

There will be a lecture course on International Political Economy commencing in week one of the MT, with an examination preparation and expectations lecture in week 2 of ST. Students will be assigned to International Political Economy seminar groups which accompany the lecture series; each seminar group will be run by a teacher involved in the MSc IPE programme. A supplementary series of 14 lectures on Introduction to Some Concepts in Economics will also be given as part of the lecture course, explaining the law of comparative costs, purchasing power parity, the quantity theory of money, the balance of payments and other concepts currently used in the literature. This supplementary lecture series is primarily intended for those with little or no background in international economics and is not examinable.

Students on this course will have a reading week in week 6, in line with departmental policy.


Formative coursework

One 2,000-word essay will be set and marked by the seminar teacher.

Indicative reading

It is advisable to begin reading before the lectures start, and the following general texts are recommended. A more complete source-list is provided in the course outline. Oatley, 'International Political Economy' (2012); Ravenhill, 'Global Political Economy' (2011); Walter and Sen, 'Analyzing the Global Political Economy' (2009); J Frieden, D Lake and JL Broz (eds), 'International Political Economy' (2009); J Frieden, 'Global Capitalism' (2006); Robert Gilpin, 'Global Political Economy' (2001); Susan Strange (1998), 'States and Markets'.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Students will be asked to answer three out of ten questions.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2016/17: 82

Average class size 2016/17: 14

Controlled access 2016/17: Yes

Lecture capture used 2016/17: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information