International Political Economy

Course Code :2200PSWIPE
Study domain:Political Sciences
Academic year:2020-2021
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 functioning of the trade system? 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 was 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. In-class participation and presentation is required. The course evaluation consists of an oral exam consisting of 2 questions and a discussion of a book review that you will have handed in on beforehand.

You will be expected to buy and read the following book from cover to cover: Oatley, Thomas (2012/2018), International Political Economy: Interests and Institutions in the Global Economy, 5th or 6th 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 / Underlying concepts in IPE
    • Oatley (2012), 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 support for international trade
    • Import-dependent firm lobbying: Eckhardt and Poletti (2016)
    • Intra-industry divisions over trade: Osgood (2017)
  4. World Trade Organization and legalization in global trade governance
    • Let’s be cautious on legalization: Goldstein and Martin (2000)
    • WTO Dispute Settlement Post 2019: Pauwelyn (2019)
    • Background reading: Oatley (2012) chapter 2 – The WTO and the world trade system.

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)
  3. 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
  4. The EU’s institutional balance in the aftermath of the euro crisis
    • Varieties of Capitalism and the Euro crisis: Hall (2014)
    • The European Central Bank in the European Project: Jones (2019)