PPE Interdisciplinary Research Seminar

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Michael Callen


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

This course is only available to second year students on the BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

Course content

The seminars will engage students with research on the frontier in topics such as public economics, political economy and decision making in the public domain. This research and background reading will then be further discussed in the following week’s seminar. Attendance is required in all seminars.


7 hours and 30 minutes of seminars and 5 hours of classes in the LT.

Seminars which take place in weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9, are 1.5 hours to allow time for Q&A; subsequent discussion classes, which take place in weeks 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10, are 1 hour each. Attendance is mandatory in both seminars and classes.

Seminars in weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 will be given on a specific topic, such as inequality, universal basic income, or limits of markets,  and will allow for the opportunity to interact and ask questions. The subsequent discussion classes will discuss the previous week’s seminar as well as examining background reading related to the topic.

Formative coursework

Seminar participation and all coursework for this course will be assessed summatively (see below).

Indicative reading

AcemogluDaron and James Robinson, Why Nations Fail, Crown Books, 2012;

Besley, Timothy and Torsten Persson, Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters, Princeton University Press, 2011 (will be used as the core text book, and students will be asked to familiarise themselves with the core modelling framework developed in the book);

An extensive list of required and further readings will be available on Moodle.


Students will be assessed by one essay and class participation. The final summative grade will weigh together the essay (60%) and class participation (40%).

The overall grade the students will receive will be one of four: fail, pass, merit and distinction. This mark is reported on the transcript, but does not count towards the degree classification.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2018/19: 37

Average class size 2018/19: 19

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: Non-credit bearing

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