Political Economy

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Ronny Razin 32L.4.01


This course is available on the BSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics, BSc in Economics, BSc in Economics and Economic History, BSc in Economics with Economic History, BSc in International Social and Public Policy and Economics, BSc in Mathematics and Economics, BSc in Mathematics with Economics, BSc in Mathematics, Statistics and Business, BSc in Philosophy and Economics, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and Economics and BSc in Social Policy and Economics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


This course makes use of key concepts in economic theory as well as econometric analysis. We welcome all students with  a strong background and proven record in quantitative courses, such as econometrics (EC220 or EC221 or EC2C1 or EC2C3 and EC2C4, or equivalent), statistics (ST107 or  ST102, or ST109 combined with EC1C1, or equivalent) microeconomics (EC201 or EC202 or EC2A1 or EC2A3, or equivalent) and  mathematics (MA107 or MA100).

Course content

The course seeks to introduce students to the major theoretical models of Political Economy and the available empirical evidence. Sample topics to be covered include: Social Choice theory and Preference aggregation; Comparative electoral systems; Political economy of income redistribution; Turnout in elections; Strategic and Sincere voting; Political Parties; Debates and Communication; Political Agency Models; Citizen-Candidate Models; and some Empirical Studies of Political institutions.  


15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 15 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of classes in the ST.

There will be a reading week in Week 6 of LT (no lectures or classes that week).

This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 50 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term.  

Formative coursework

Four pieces of written work (two per term) will be handed in and assessed by class teachers.

Indicative reading

There is no text book covering all the material in the course. The following books are recommended as supplements to what is covered in the lectures:

  • Analyzing Politics, Rationality, Behavior and Institutions, K.A. Shepsle and M.S. Bonchek. W. W. Norton & Company, New York, London.
  • Liberalism Against Populism, W.H. Riker, Waveland Press, Prospect Heights, Illinois.

For additional readings see:


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2021/22: 59

Average class size 2021/22: 15

Capped 2021/22: No

Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of numeracy skills