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International Political Economy

Module description

The module looks historically at the way ‘politics’ is put into the term political economy, from Adam Smith onwards, to question mainstream economic ideology. It evaluates assumptions about the identity of economic agents, the visions in economic thought that this gives rise to and the significance for theory building. These philosophical perspectives are used to critically explore contemporary issues in international political economy such as the nature and logic of capitalism, the rise of neo-liberalism, new economic thinking and globalisation.

Additional Information:

International Political Economy critically reviews the economic paradigms that provide alternative explanations for how the material world is explained. As such the course content is inherently international throughout.

Sustainability & Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility
Given the critical nature of the course the meaning of issues like sustainability, ethics and corporate social responsibility are examined within paradigms that the course examines. That is to say that there are economic and political interpretations of what the term might mean.

The philosophical and critical nature of the course affords students the opportunity to examine the issues that would otherwise be taken for granted. The course challenges understandings of common sense. As a consequence students’ analytical skills are enhanced enabling a possible deeper conception of the nature of the problematic under investigation. A case study is provided by the financial crash of 2007-8.

Full module specification

Module title:International Political Economy
Module code:BEE3042
Module level:3
Academic year:2022/3
Module lecturers:
  • Mr Rakesh Banerjee - Lecturer
Module credit:15
ECTS value:


Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

The aims of the module are to develop the themes introduced in the first year modules in the Introduction to Political Economy and the Philosophy of Economics by their application to contemporary issues in globalisation, ethics and morality, economic methodology and ideology.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Describe the concept of institutions.
  • 2. Explain the role of institutions in shaping economic conditions.
  • 3. Explain the role of history in shaping institutions.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Discuss an important underlying framework for economic development.
  • 5. Indicate the frontier research topics in the area of economic development.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Demonstrate writing and analytical skills.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity20Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity5Seminars
Guided Independent Study125Researching, reading, reflection; Preparation for lectures, tutorials and seminars;

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Students will be provided with materials for discussion in tutorials. Feedback will be provided on the basis of the discussion. 60 Minutes1-6Oral/Online

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written examination802 hours1-6Written(via ELE/eBart)
Individual Ex202000 words1-6Written(via ELE/eBart)

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Examination (80%)2 Hours Exam1-6Referral/Deferral Period
Individual Essay (20%)2000 words1-6Referral/Deferral Period

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction
  • The empirical relationship between institutions and economic development
  • Colonialism and institutions
  • Persistence of institutions
  • Functions of institutions
  • Democracy and economic development
  • Social institutions
  • Historical conditions and institutions in Africa
  • Historical conditions and institutions in the Middle East

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

    • Articles to be provided in the syllabus

             Avner Greif, “Institutions and Path to Modern Economy”, 2006.

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Last revision date