International Political Economy: States and Markets in the 21st Century

  • Summer schools
  • Department of International Relations
  • Application code SS-IR209
  • Starting 2022
  • Short course: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

How has COVID-19 transformed the global political economy? Is globalisation responsible for the rise of populism in the West? How will the geopolitical rivalry between China and the United States shape global business? Why have governments failed to take sufficient action to prevent climate change? The study of International Political Economy (IPE) examines the interactions between markets and politics, and aims to answer some of these important questions.

This course introduces you to the study of the dynamic interaction between the pursuit of wealth and the pursuit of power in the global economy. The course presents the key concepts and theories of IPE, and how these can be used to understand pressing empirical and economic policy questions facing policymakers and citizens in the 21st century.

Engaging with leading faculty and your peers, you will examine some of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. You will analyse key empirical cases and develop the critical thinking skills to evaluate the complex relationship between markets and politics. Applying cutting-edge research, at the end of the course you will be able to formulate convincing arguments that show a comprehensive understanding of different academic debates within the field.

Session: One  - CLOSED
Dates: 20 June - 8 July 2022 
Lecturer: Professor Jeffrey Chwieroth


Programme details

Key facts

Level: 200 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees:  Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours 

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One examination and one essay

Typical credit*: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional but may be required for credit by your home institution. Your home institution will be able to advise how you can meet their credit requirements.

For more information on exams and credit, read Teaching and assessment


At least one introductory course in either social science (e.g. political science, international relations, sociology, economics), history or law.

Key topics

  • COVID-19 and the Global Political Economy
  • The Sino-American Rivalry: The New Economic Cold War
  • Climate Change and Global Environmental Politics
  • The World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank
  • Key International Currencies: The Dollar, Renminbi and Euro
  • Banking Crises, Currency Crashes and Sovereign Defaults
  • Central Banking
  • Brexit, the European Union and the Politics of Austerity
  • Multinational Corporations and Economic Development

Programme structure and assessment

This course is delivered as a combination of lectures, class discussions and readings, allowing you to apply the theory to real-world challenges. Class discussions are an opportunity to debate some of these key challenges and receive feedback from your peers and faculty.

The course is assessed through a written essay (25%) and a final examination (75%). In addition, there will be one in-class formative assessment in the form of an evaluated presentation on a given topic. The presentation will not contribute to your final grade.

Further details will be provided at the beginning of the course.

Course outcomes

  • Understand the main perspectives on IPE and why its study is so complex
  • Investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the political and institutional context of the global economy
  • Describe how the Sino-American geopolitical rivalry shapes global business
  • Analyse the main impediments of global environmental cooperation and discuss why it is difficult to forge international agreement on climate change
  • Understand the role of key international currencies (the US dollar, Chinese RMB, and the Euro) and their role in hegemonic stability
  • Debate the role of the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank and whether their governance structures are legitimate or need reform
  • Discuss the impact of Brexit and the politics of austerity
  • Explain the political and institutional factors that contribute to financial fragility and shape the practice of central banking
  • Investigate the role of multinational corporations in the global economy and their impact on development
  • Present a coherent argument demonstrating awareness of differing academic perspectives
  • Use case study material and statistical evidence to write a coherent essay on key topics

Is this course right for you?

This course is suitable if you want a comprehensive interdisciplinary understanding of the political and institutional context in which the world economy operates. It is especially well suited to you if you are targeting a career in research, policy development, government or consulting. It is equally applicable if you would like to develop the skills needed for further academic studies.

Your department

The LSE Department of International Relations is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the world and remains a leading centre for the subject. It ranked 5th globally in the 2020 QS World University ranking for Politics and International Studies.

LSE International Relations teachers have world-class expertise in their specialist fields. Our faculty advise government agencies, multilateral institutions, NGOs, think tanks and the media on the most critical issues – from economic and environmental policies to counter-terrorism and foreign policy. From foundation level to advanced courses, students build real-world skills and gain exposure to critical issues, questions and state-of-the-art thinking on the most relevant topics in the field.

Your faculty

Professor Jeffrey Chwieroth
Professor of International Relations, Department of International Relations

Reading materials

Thomas Oatley, International Political Economy, Routledge, 6th edition (2018).

John Ravenhill (ed.), Global Political Economy, Oxford University Press, 6th edition (2020).

*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme

**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice

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