GV441      Half Unit
States and Markets

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr David Woodruff


This course is available on the MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Political Science and Political Economy, MSc in Public Administration and Government (LSE and Peking University) and MSc in Public Policy and Administration. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 3 groups. Priority will be given to MSc Comparative Politics students.

Course content

To introduce politics students to basic economic theorising; to discuss the nature of markets; review contemporary discussions regarding the role of the state in the economy; provide a comparison of the relationship of states and markets in different political settings and historical contexts. Indicative topics: The state and the institutional foundations of markets; states and markets in the Great Depression; domestic and international monetary institutions; varieties of capitalism and change in varieties of capitalism; economics and politics of market bubbles; politics and policy in the financial crisis of 2007-2009; the Eurozone crisis.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 28 and a half hours in the Michaelmas Term. Some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus lectures and seminars. Lectures are very likely to be exclusively online. Online seminars, if required, will involve a mix of virtual meetings and other forms of online engagement.

There will be a reading week in Week 6 of the MT.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to submit one non-assessed essay, in addition to any smaller pieces of writing that may be required attendant to online seminars.

Indicative reading

Block, Fred. “The Roles of the State in the Economy.” The Handbook of Economic Sociology, edited by Neil J Smelser and Richard Swedberg, Princeton University Press, 1994, pp. 691–710.

Keynes, John Maynard. “The Means to Prosperity.” The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes, edited by Elizabeth Johnson and Donald Moggridge, vo. VI, Cambridge University Press, 1978, pp. 335–66, doi:10.1017/UPO9781139524162.

Fourcade Gourinchas, Marion, and Sarah L. Babb. “The Rebirth of the Liberal Creed: Paths to Neoliberalism in Four Countries.” American Journal of Sociology, vol. 108, no. 3, 2002, pp. 533–79, doi:10.1086/367922.

Tooze, Adam. Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World. Allen Lane, 2018.


Essay (35%, 1500 words) in the MT.
Online assessment (65%) in January.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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: Government

Total students 2020/21: 57

Average class size 2020/21: 14

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication