DV423      Half Unit
Global Political Economy of Development

This information is for the 2019/20 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 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 Development Management, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Environment and Development, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies and MSc in Political Economy of Late Development. This course is not available as an outside option.


Please note that undergraduate economics is a big help, though not essential. 

Students will be allocated places to courses with priority to ID and joint-degree students.  If there are more ID and joint-degree students than the course can accommodate, these spots will be allocated randomly.  

Non-ID/Joint Degree students will be allocated to spare places by random selection with the preference given first to those degrees where the regulations permit this option. 


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 in MT.

Indicative reading

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


Take home exam (100%) in the MT.

The paper will be released via the course Moodle site. Please note that as this is a 48 hour take-home examination in LT (Week 0), extensions for disabilities will apply only in exceptional circumstances. Students who cannot commit to be available for the exam period may NOT register for this course.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 14.3
Merit 58.9
Pass 25
Fail 1.8

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2018/19: 62

Average class size 2018/19: 15

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information