Political Economy

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Stephane Wolton CON 5.08


This course is available on the 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 Econometrics and Mathematical Economics, MSc in Economics, MSc in Economics (2 Year Programme), MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change, MSc in Political Science and Political Economy and Master of Public Administration. 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 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 ( regarding entry to this course.

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; constitutional rules and policy outcomes; bureaucracy; media; special interest group politics; legislatures; political parties; behavioural political economy; autocratic politics; 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 January exam period.
Exam (25%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (50%, 6000 words) in the ST.

Assessment path 2
Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the January exam period.
Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer 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 2017/18: 6

Average class size 2017/18: 6

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Value: One 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: 56%



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