As a result of the Corona crisis some course information may have altered. Do check your course announcements in Blackboard!

International Political Economy

Course Code :2200PSWIPE
Study domain:Political Sciences
Academic year:2019-2020
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? 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 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 course evaluation will consist of two parts; the written part consisting of a critical review of a book of your choice and an oral exam with 2-3 questions on the sessions.

You will be expected to 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: tentative, may be subject to change


  1. Course overview, distribution of presentations / Underlying concepts in IPE
    • Oatley (2014), Ch. 1
    • Ravenhill (2014), Ch. 1

Part I: Political Economy of International Trade

  1. How to examine and understand trade politics
    • The factoral approach: Rogowski (1989), Ch. 1 & 2
    • The sectoral approach: Hiscox (2001)
  2. Who runs trade policy, the state or interest groups?
    • A society- vs. state-centered approach to trade politics: Oatley (2012), Ch. 4-5
    • Protection for exporters: Dür (2010), Intro & Ch. 1
  3. Globalization and governance of international trade
    • Let’s be cautious in legalization – e.g. the WTO (Goldstein and Martin 2000)
    • Judicialization can provide good things too! (Zangl 2008)
  4. Multinational firms and gains from international trade
  • A firm level approach to trade politics (Plouffe 2015)
  • Who pushes for, and who wins with trade agreements: Baccini et al. (2017)

Part II: Political Economy of Money & Finance

  1. The Unholy Trinity and Monetary Politics
    • Society- versus state-centered approaches: Oatley (2012), Ch. 12 & 13
    • The Unholy Trinity: Cohen (2002)
  2. Commitment and Institutions
  • Parliament, property rights, and capital markets: North and Weingast (1989)
  • The origins of central banks: Broz (1998)
  1. Developing countries and financial crises                                          
    • Latin-American ISI and the 80s debt crisis: Oatley (2012), Ch. 6, 7, 14
    • The Asian financial crisis: Oatley (2012), Ch. 15
  2. The creation and crisis of the Euro
    • Origins: Wolf and Zangl (1996)
    • Europe after the crisis: Moravcsik (2012)

Workshop: Trump, Brexit, and Challenges facing the international trade regime

  1. Workshop on global trade governance with guest speakers



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.

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

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.

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.

PLOUFFE, M. 2015. Heterogeneous Firms and Policy Preferences. Oxford Handbook on the Political Economy of International Trade.

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.

ZANGL, Bernhard. 2008. Judicialization Matters! A Comparison of Dispute Settlement Under GATT and the WTO. International Studies Quarterly  52(4): 825-854.