PPE Interdisciplinary Research Seminar

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Charlie Bean 32L 1.18

Prof Erik Berglof


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 third year students on the BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. The course started at the beginning of Lent Term in year 2 as EC240 and continues as EC340 through to the end of Lent Term in year 3.

Course content

The course will include seminars given by top researchers from inside and outside LSE, including researchers from the public, private and third sector. These seminars will expose the students to 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 discussed in biweekly discussion seminars.


The course will run across three terms starting at the beginning of Lent term in year 2 of the PPE (see EC240 course guide) and continuing in Michaelmas and Lent term of year 3 of the PPE (EC340). Each term will consist of a series of biweekly seminars by guest speakers (5 x 90 mins) and discussion classes (5 x 60 mins). Attendance is mandatory in both seminars and classes.

Seminars by guest speakers will be given by outside speakers on a specific topic, such as inequality, and will allow for the opportunity to interact and ask questions. Depending on the availability of the speaker, there may be the opportunity for further discussion at an informal social event after the lecture.  These seminars 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

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);

Acemoglu, Daron and James Robinson, Why Nations Fail, Crown Books, 2012;

Banerjee, Abhijit and Esther Duflo, Poor Economics, Random House, 2011;

Fukuyama, Francis, The Origins of Political Order, Profile Books, 2011;

Moore, Barrington, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, Beacon Press, 1966;

North, Douglass, John Wallis and Barry Weingast, Violence and Social Orders, Cambridge University Press, 2009;

Piketty, Thomas, Capital in the 21st Century, Harvard University Press, 2014;

Sen, Amartya, The Idea of Justice, Allen Lane, 2009.

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


This information is for students in the second year of the PPE Interdisciplinary Research Seminar. First year students please refer to the EC240 course guide.

Students will be assessed throughout the course, through essays and class participation. There will be one essay per term in MT and LT. Class participation will be assessed throughout.

The final summative grade will weigh together the essays (80%) and class participation (20%) from all three terms (the essays will be weighted 25%, 25% and 50%, respectively).

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: 34

Average class size 2018/19: 18

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