DV423      Half Unit
Global Political Economy of Development

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Robert Wade CON.7.07


This course is available on the Global MSc in Management, Global MSc in Management (MBA Exchange), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Columbia), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Sciences Po), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in African Development, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in Political Economy of Late Development and Master of Public Administration. This course is not available as an outside option.

Please note that undergraduate economics is a big help, though not essential. In case of over-subscription priority will be given to students from the Department of International Development and its joint degrees (where their regulations permit). The instructors reserve the right to limit enrolment on the course. At the instructors’ discretion, enrolment may be denied to any student on the basis of a pre-quiz. The course is capped at 70 students.


Undergraduate economics gives a big advantage, but is not pre-requisite.

Course content

The course examines the political economy of 'North-South' or ‘core-periphery’ relations, focusing on how changes in international organisations and the international policy framework affect developing countries' economic trajectories and national-level strategies (eg in production, trade, FDI, finance) for interaction with the global economy. It covers the performance of the world economy as a whole (trends in growth and shrink, inequality, poverty); international systems of production, trade, and finance; the rules or regimes which govern interaction between economies, states and firms (regimes such as Bretton Woods, and the Post Bretton Woods dollar standard); and several international organisations (such as the World Bank,  IMF, UNCTAD, G20). Along the way it analyses the major financial/economic crises of 1997-99 and 2007-09. In contrast to much writing in International Political Economy, it looks at these things from the perspective of the low and middle-income countries (in the spirit of the Swahili proverb, "Until lions have their own historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunters"), and does not assume that the G7 states provide a generally benign (‘win-win’) environment for development in the rest of the world (as in the G7 mantra “free trade and free entry for FDI benefits us all”).


15 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the MT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures in the LT.

There will be a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students have the option of writing one essay of 2,000 words.

Indicative reading

Core text: John Ravenhill (ed), Global Political Economy, 5th edition, OUP, 2017.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.

Student performance results

(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 16.7
Merit 61.4
Pass 21.1
Fail 0.9

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2017/18: 64

Average class size 2017/18: 13

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2014/15, 2016/17 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 96%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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