IR480      Half Unit
Globalisation and the State in Developing Countries

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Natalya Naqvi


This course is available on the MSc in Global Politics, MSc in International Affairs (LSE and Peking University), MSc in International Political Economy, MSc in International Political Economy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Political Economy (Research), MSc in International Relations, MSc in International Relations (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in International Relations (Research) and MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

What role should the state play in economic development? How has globalisation effected what the state can still actually do to promote economic development? Between the 50s and 80s, the East Asian ‘developmental state’ model delivered rapid industrialisation through extensive state intervention, seemingly refuting not only the claims of free market economics, but also of dependency theory: that poor countries could never develop due to the very nature of the capitalist world system.

Since the 80s, the applicability of the East Asian model was challenged in new ways. Structural changes in the global political economy, including the end of fixed exchange rates, increased capital mobility, the development of international financial markets, privatisation of the commanding heights of the economy, the proliferation of restrictive trade and investment agreements, and the rise of global value chains, led many to argue that even if it was economically beneficial for other countries to implement the East Asian model, this was no longer possible because globalisation had dramatically constrained the power of the nation state. Others argued that concerns over the constraints posed by globalisation were overblown, and that domestic interests, institutions, and ideas were responsible for holding back structural transformation of the economy.

This course will combine debates in IPE, over how the process of globalisation has transformed the capacity for state action, with debates in the political economy of development over the role of the state in the process of late development. Students will gain an understanding not only of the debate over how much domestic policy autonomy developing countries have after globalisation, but also of the kinds of policies they need this policy space for. Problems of underdevelopment are approached through the prism of both core-periphery power relations, and power relations arising from the domestic productive structure.



20 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 presentation and 1 other piece of coursework in the LT.

The 10 weekly writings (see summative assessment) also contain a formative element.

Indicative reading

  • Kicking Away the Ladder, Ha Joon Chang
  • States and Markets, Susan Strange
  • States Versus Markets, Herman Schwartz
  • Globalisation in Question, Hirst, Thompson and Bromley
  • The Myth of the Powerless State, Linda Weiss
  • Reclaiming Development Economics, Chang and Grabel
  • The Developmental State, Woo-Cummings
  • Business and the State in Developing Countries, Maxfield and Schneider


Essay (90%, 4000 words) in the ST.
Other (10%) in the LT.

Weekly writings: 10%

10 Weekly 1-page bullet point outlines answering one of the assigned seminar questions.

Essay (4000 words): 90%

Students choose one region or country and discuss how changes in the international system in one of the above issue areas has impacted on prospects for development – relying on the theoretical perspectives we discussed in week 2.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2017/18: Unavailable

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Controlled access 2017/18: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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