EU469      Half Unit
The Political Economy of Finance in Europe

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Angelo Martelli


This course is available on the MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Political Economy of Europe, MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Fudan) and MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access) and demand is typically very high. Priority is given to students from the European Institute, so students from outside this programme may not get a place.


A basic understanding of economics and economic terms is highly recommended. Students who never had any teaching in economics should consult the online course EU409 and talk to the course convener.

Course content

In the first half, the course gives students insights into the post-war evolution of finance, its regulation and its relationship to the other sectors of the economy. The historical evolution, continuities and innovations, will be explored in a comparative perspective. In the second half, we take up topical debates in the political economy of finance literature. Two questions run through the course: first, how does the international experience differ from or resonate with discernible trends in European countries and the experience of European integration? And how do non-financial actors (governments, transnational firms, middle-class households) support the rise of finance even though the risks involved are not well understood and hard to manage? The course would deepen students’ understanding of the core courses in the Political Economy of Europe by making them aware of the role that finance played in different phases of post-war history and in European integration. 


  • This course is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, and a simulation totalling a minimum of 27 hours across Winter Term. 
  • This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Winter Term.
  • We do a simulation of G-20 negotiations on financial regulation in week 10, which has been successfully tried and tested before with MPA students. Using the report of the G20 Eminent Persons Group report on Global Financial Governance – Making the Global Financial Systems Work for All – the simulation will see students working in teams to represent the interests of particular nations and international organisations involved in global financial governance.
  • A review session will be held at the start of the Spring Term to prepare for the exam.

Formative coursework

  • Students will be expected to produce one (1200 word) essay in the WT.
  • Students must write up a short report in preparation of the simulation game.

Indicative reading

  • Abdelal, Ravi (2007). Capital rules. The construction of global finance. Cambridge, MA and London, England: Harvard University Press
  • Epstein, Rachel A. (2017). Banking on markets: the transformation of bank-state ties in Europe and beyond Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Kindleberger, Charles P., & Aliber, RobertZ. (2011). Manias, panics and crashes. A history of financial crises (6th ed.). Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (selected chapters)
  • Krippner, Greta R. (2005). The financialization of the American economy. Socio-economic review, 3(2), 173-208.
  • MacKenzie, Donald A. (2006). An engine, not a camera: how financial models shape markets. Cambridge, Mass., London: MIT Press.
  • Reinhart, Carmen M., & Sbrancia, M. Belen (2015). Debt Liquidation. Economic Policy (April), 291-333.
  • Story, John, & Walter, Ingo (1997). Political economy of financial integration in Europe: the battle of the systems. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Woll, Cornelia (2014). The power of inaction: bank bailouts in comparison. Ithaca: Cornell University Press (selected case studies)


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the spring exam period.

The summative assessment will take the form of an e-exam in the Spring Term. E-exams are assessments run under invigilated exam conditions on campus. Students will complete the assessment using software downloaded to their personal laptops.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2022/23: 50

Average class size 2022/23: 17

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (LT)

Value: Half 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
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness