EU491      Half Unit
Political Economy in Theory and History

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Bob Hancke CBG.6.02


This course is available on the 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 not available as an outside option.

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.

Course content

This course aims to provide a comprehensive coverage and analytical understanding of the evolution of the political economies of Europe within the context of the process of European integration. The course tries to understand how the relation between state and economy in both Western Europe and Central and Eastern Europe has evolved over the post-war period. We look at how capitalism and democracy were reconciled in different European socio-economic models and what role European integration played in their evolution.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 25 hours across Autumn Term. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Autumn Term, and a review session will be held at the start of the Spring Term to prepare for the online assessment.

Formative coursework

One 1200-word essay in AT.

Indicative reading

  • Blyth M. (2013) Austerity: the History of a Dangerous Idea, Oxford: OUP [esp. ch’s 1-3, an engaging and controversial book on a big question of our times]
  • Dinan, D. (2014): Europe Recast: A History of the European Union, Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2nd ed. [JN30 D58 Course Coll.]. [a historical account of the beginnings that makes for a really good read]
  • Dinan D. (2010), Ever Closer Union: an introduction to European integration, Palgrave MacMillan (4th edition) [Course collection HC241.2 D58]
  • Durlauf S. and Blume L. (eds) (2008+), The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online [see for instance entries by De Grauwe on monetary union, Gaspar and Issing on ECB monetary policy, Pelkmans on the single market, Swinbank on the CAP, etc.]
  • Eichengreen B., The European Economy since 1945: Coordinated Capitalism and Beyond, Princeton University Press.
  • Hall P. and Soskice D. (eds.) (2001): Varieties of Capitalism: The institutional foundations of competitiveness. Oxford University Press. [Introduction, a key text on the different combinations of institutions we find in European economies, an effective riposte to the claim that we all have to become the same because of globalisation]
  • Majone, G. (2014) Rethinking the Union of Europe Post-Crisis: Has Integration gone too far?, Cambridge: CUP [One of the leading contributors to understanding of the trajectory of European integration raises awkward questions about the limits of integration]
  • Wiener, Antje, and Thomas Diez. European Integration Theory. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.


Online assessment (100%) in the ST.

The online assessment for this course will be administered via Moodle.  Questions will be made available at a set date/time and students will be given a set period in the ST to complete the answers to questions and upload their responses back into Moodle.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2022/23: 74

Average class size 2022/23: 15

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT)

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