Not available in 2020/21
DV524      Half Unit
International Institutions and Late Development

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Kenneth Shadlen CON.6.07


This course is available on the MRes/PhD in International Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Please note all students are asked to submit a brief statement of 150 words (max) on why they want to take the course.

2/3 of the spaces should go to ID and joint degree students, distributed on a random basis.

1/3 go to non-ID/joint students, distributed on a random basis.

Everyone else goes on the waitlist, and as spots open the course leader will allocate these, without regard to degree/dept, on the basis of the brief statements.

Course content

This course examines the politics of the international economy. We analyse the overarching rules and regulations that structure the international economy, and thereby provide context for development policy, and we assess the role of a range of actors (e.g. governments, firms, non-state actors) in shaping and reshaping the international economic order. We are particularly interested in understanding the ways that developing countries respond to and participate in international regimes and organisations, and how changes in global economic governance affect opportunities for economic development. The first week, which synthesises a variety of explanations of the role that international organisations play in global politics, establishes the theoretical spine for the course. We then examine governance in international sovereign debt and finance, public and private. We analyse the politics of debt relief for the poorest and most heavily-indebted countries, where most of the debt is owed to public creditors; and we analyse the politics of debt restructuring for middle-income countries where significant shares of the debt is owed to private/commercial creditors. The course then turns to the politics of international trade, investment, and intellectual property. This cluster of five sessions is organised around a dialogue between multilateral and regional frameworks for integration into the global economy, with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) serving as our principal point of reference. We examine the emergence of the WTO, both in terms of the substance of the Uruguay Round agreements and as an inter-governmental organisation with its own set of procedures for agenda-setting, rule-making, and dispute-settlement. We then examine emerging arrangements for global governance in the areas of foreign investment and intellectual property. And, then we focus explicitly on the resurgence of new, North-South, bilateral and regional trade agreements, considering the implications of such agreements for development and the factors that contribute to their proliferation. In concluding the course, taking a step back and reviewing the term's material from a "birds-eye view," we analyse contrasting trajectories of change in two development regimes, one regarding "industrial transformation" and mobility in the international division of labour, and another regarding "humanitarianism" and poverty reduction.


20 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

There will be a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students have an opportunity to submit written work for formative assessment. Details of the exercise will be announced early in the term.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list is presented at the beginning of term.


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (50%, 4000 words) in the ST.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills