International Political Economy

Course Code :2200PSWIPE
Study domain:Political Sciences
Academic year:2017-2018
Semester:2nd semester
Contact hours:45
Study load (hours):168
Contract restrictions: No contract restriction
Language of instruction:English
Exam period:exam in the 2nd semester
Lecturer(s)Dirk De Bièvre

3. Course contents *

This is a political science course on international economic decision making, building on key insights from international relations theory and economics. The course offers an overview of some of the most important insights in IPE, a now prominent sub-discipline of political science, centered around the question ‘Who wins, who loses?’. The course is taught entirely in English. Some of the questions treated are: Who liberalized international trade and why? Who initiated the liberalization of international finance? Which role do states and interest groups play in the origins of and reaction to international financial crises? Why are there multinational corporations? Why do industrialized and developing countries regulate their behavior differently? What is the origin of central banking, and why do states delegate monetary policy to independent central banks like the European Central Bank? Why have Latin-American countries economic trajectories been different from those of Asian countries? Why did the Euro-crisis erupt, and why is its solution difficult? The prerequisites for this course are your willingness to increase your analytical skills, your keenness to improve your reading and presentation skills in English, and your determination to participate actively in class.

You will be expected to present and critically review at least one of the weekly assigned readings. The evaluation in January will consist of an oral exam with 2 questions on the sessions. The third question will consist of a critical reflection on a book of your choice taken.

You will buy and read the following book from cover to cover: Oatley, Thomas (2012), International Political Economy: Interests and Institutions in the Global Economy, 5th edition, New York: Pearson Longman. Available at the Acco bookshop.

All the other sources will be either available electronically on the UA-library website as they are academic journal articles, or they will available under ‘study material’ on the course Blackboard site, when they are book chapters.

Overview of the sessions


  1. Course overview, distribution of presentations / What is IPE, or what can it be?                14/2
    • Oatley (2014), Ch. 1
    • Ravenhill (2014), Ch. 1


  1. Trade and Coalitions                                                                                                                             21/2
    • The factoral approach: Rogowski (1989), Ch. 1 & 2
    • The sectoral approach: Hiscox (2001)
  2. Do interest groups or does the state run trade policy?                                                               28/2
    • A society- vs. state-centered approach to trade politics: Oatley (2012), Ch. 4-5
    • Protection for exporters: Dür (2010), Intro & Ch. 1
  3. Judicialization and the WTO                                                                                                              7/3
    • Enforcement may inhibit cooperation: Goldstein and Martin (2000)
    • Well, it depends: Poletti and De Bièvre (2016), pp. 1-97.
  4. EU trade agreements: regulatory upgrading or downgrading?                                                14/3
    • De Ville and Siles-Brügge (2016)
    • De Bièvre and Poletti (2016)
  5. Multinational firms and Global Supply Chains                                                                               21/3
    • Background reading: Oatley, Ch. 8 & 9
    • Import-dependent firm lobbying & European Union PTAs: Eckhardt and Poletti (2015)
    • Who pushes for, and who wins with PTAs: Baccini et al. (2017)

No class 4 & 11 April: Easter break


  1. The Unholy Trinity and Monetary Politics                                                                                      28/3
    • Society- versus state-centered approaches: Oatley (2012), Ch. 12 & 13
    • The Unholy Trinity: Cohen (2002)
  2. Commitment and Institutions                                                                                                            18/4
    • Parliament, property rights, and capital markets: North and Weingast (1989)
    • The origins of central banks: Broz (1998)
  3. Developing countries and financial crises                                                                                      25/4
    • Latin-American ISI and the 80s debt crisis: Oatley (2012), Ch. 6, 7, 14
    • The Asian financial crisis: Oatley (2012), Ch. 15
  4. The creation and crisis of the Euro                                                                                                   2/5
    • Origins: Wolf and Zangl (1996)
    • Europe after the crisis: Moravcsik (2012)
  5. The Euro-zone and the dollar-zone compared in historical perspective                                 9/5
    • European Crisis, European solution: Jones (2012)
    • The difficult creation of the US dollar-zone: Frieden (2016)

Coda: Trade and investment in EU – Canada relations

  • Workshop on EU – Canada trade relations                                                                       Tue 22/5



BACCINI, L., PINTO, P. M. & WEYMOUTH, S. 2017. The Distributional Consequences of Preferential Trade Liberalization:  Firm-Level Evidence. International Organization, 71, 373-395.

BROZ, L. J. 1998. The Origins of Central Banking: Solutions to the Free-Rider Problem. International Organization, 52, 231-268.

COHEN, B. J. 2002. The Triad and the Unholy Trinity: Problems of International Monetary Cooperation. In: FRIEDEN, J. & LAKE, D. A. (eds.) International Political Economy. 4th ed. London: Routledge.

DE BIÈVRE, D. & POLETTI, A. 2016. Why the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is not (so) new, and why it is also not (so) bad. Journal of European Public Policy, 1-16.

DE VILLE, F. & SILES-BRÜGGE, G. 2016. Why TTIP is a game-changer and its critics have a point. Journal of European Public Policy, 1-15.

DÜR, A. 2010. Protection for Exporters. Power and Discrimination in Transatlantic Trade Relations, 1930 - 2010, Ithaca and London, Cornell University Press.

ECKHARDT, J. & POLETTI, A. 2015. The politics of global value chains: import-dependent firms and EU–Asia trade agreements. Journal of European Public Policy, 1-20.

FRIEDEN, J. 2016. Lessons for the euro from early American monetary and financial history, Brussels, Bruegel.

GOLDSTEIN, J. L. & MARTIN, L. L. 2000. Legalization, Trade Liberalization, and Domestic Politics: A Cautionary Note. International Organization, 54, 603-632.

HISCOX, M. J. 2001. Class Versus Industry Cleavages: Inter-Industry Factor Mobility and the Politics of Trade. International Organization, 55, 1-46.

JONES, E. 2012. The JCMS Annual Review Lecture. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, 50, 53-67.

MORAVCSIK, A. 2012. Europe After the Crisis. How to Sustain a Common Currency. Foreign Affairs, 91, 54-68.

NORTH, D. C. & WEINGAST, B. R. 1989. Constitution and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England. Journal of Economic History, 49, pp. 803-832.

OATLEY, T. 2012. International Political Economy: Interests and Institutions in the Global Economy, New York, Longman.

POLETTI, A. & DE BIÈVRE, D. 2016. Judicial Politics and International Cooperation: From Disputes to Deal Making at the World Trade Organization, Colchester, European Consortium for Political Research, ECPR Press.

ROGOWSKI, R. 1989. Commerce and Coalitions: How Trade affects domestic political alignments, Princeton, Princeton University Press.

WOLF, D. & ZANGL, B. 1996. The European Economic and Monetary Union. European Journal of International Relations, 2, 355-393.