GV441      Half Unit
States and Markets

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr David Woodruff


This course is available on the MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Political Science (Conflict Studies and Comparative Politics), MSc in Political Science (Global Politics), MSc in Political Science (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 with permission 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 in Political Science students. In 2022-2023 all students on Department of Government programmes who wished to were able to take the course.

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 Autumn Term.

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

Formative coursework

All students are expected to submit one non-assessed essay.

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, vol. 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.


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

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 13
Merit 68.5
Pass 17.8
Fail 0.7

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2022/23: 41

Average class size 2022/23: 10

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
  • Problem solving
  • Communication