GV517      Half Unit
Comparative Political Economy: New Approaches and Issues in CPE

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Catherine Boone and Prof David Soskice


This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in European Studies, MRes/PhD in International Development, MRes/PhD in Management (Employment Relations and Human Resources) and MRes/PhD in Political Science. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is open to research students (MRes and PhD) from any of the LSE departments.

Course content

This half-unit reading seminar will survey a set of major topics in the Comparative Political Economy (CPE) of advanced capitalist and developing countries. We will consider different analytic strategies for conceptualizing variation in national economic structure, explaining change in economic structure, and understanding the political causes and effects thereof.  The seminar is designed for MRes and PhD students (research students) across the School wanting to familiarize themselves with some of the major themes, controversies, and research frontiers in CPE.  Our goal is to nurture innovation in doctoral-level CPE research at the LSE.

While situating our analyses in the context of a changing global economy, our focus will be on describing and explaining transformation at the level of nation states.  Drivers of change can be found in the locus and organization of political power, in technological change, and/or in the dynamics of capital.  Our seminar will explore both productive connections and tensions that emerge across these explanatory models.

Course materials are organized around three major topic areas (though like most else in CPE they are interrelated):  redistribution, accumulation, and domestic regimes.  A great many questions fit into these areas and our idea is that the seminars should enable students to raise issues related to their research.


This course provides a minimum of 30 hours of seminars in the Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching may be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus seminars. There will be a reading week in LT Week 6.

Formative coursework

For formative work, feedback will be provided on a dissertation proposal or chapter.

Indicative reading

Pablo Beramendi, Silja Hausermann, Herbert Kitschelt, and Hanspeter Kriesi, “Introduction,” in Beramendi et al, The Politics of Advanced Capitalism (Cambridge U. Press/ CUP, 2015).

Torben Iversen and David Soskice, Democracy and Prosperity: Reinventing capitalism through a turbulent century (CUP 2019).

Carles Boix, Democratic Capitalism at the Crossroads: Technological Change and the Future of Politics (Princeton 2020).

Kay Schlozman,. Henry Brady and Sidney Verba, Unequal and Unrepresented: Political Inequality and the People’s Voice in the New Gilded Age (Princeton University Press, 2018).

Charles Stafford, Economic Life in the Real World (Cambridge, 2020).

Jonathan Rodden, Why Cities Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Divide, (Basic, 2019).

Richard Baldwin, The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work (London: W&N, 2019), Chs. 4, 7.

Melissa Zeigler Rogers, The Politics of Place and the Limits to Redistribution (Routledge 2016).

Gary Gereffi, Global Value Chains and Development: Redefining the contours of 21st century capitalism (CUP 2018).

Rina Agrawala, Informal Labor, Formal Politics, and Dignified Discontent in India (CUP 2014).

Julia Lynch, Regimes of Inequality: The Political Economy of Health and Wealth (CUP 2019).

L-E Cederman, K. Gleditsch, and H. Buhaug, Inequality, Grievances and Civil War (CUP 2013).


Coursework (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Each student will submit a 20-25 page (double spaced) research paper, dissertation proposal, or draft dissertation chapter as the basis of assessment for this course. 

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: 7

Average class size 2020/21: 4

Value: Half Unit

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