Political Economics

Module description

This module studies economic policy as the equilibrium outcome of strategic interaction among rational individuals. It uses economic theory to explain issues such as what determines the size and form of redistributive programmes, the burden of taxation across alternative tax bases, the extent and type of public goods provision, the extent of corruption by public officials, and political business cycles.

Full module specification

Module title:Political Economics
Module code:BEE3058
Module level:3
Academic year:2021/2
Module lecturers:
  • Dr Jan Auerbach - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:



BEE2025 and BEE2026



Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Module aims

The aim of the module is to study the interdependence between economics and politics. Emphasis will be given not only on analysing theories of political economy but also on the empirical evidence and the policy implications of these models.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate how political forces shape markets and other economic institutions and how economic motivations permeate the political environment

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 2. demonstrate analytical skills, specifically the ability to use theoretical models to analyse practical economic problems

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 3. demonstrate analytical and critical thinking
  • 4. deliver coherent argument in written work

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 & Teaching activities22Lectures
Scheduled Learning & Teaching activities5Tutorials
Guided Independent study123

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
Final Exam802 hours1-4Written Feedback
Problem Set201,500-2,5001-4Written Feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Final ExamExam (80%) 2 hours1-4August Examination Period
Problem SetProblem Set (20%)1-4August Examination Period

Syllabus plan

  • Social choice theory (Rational preference, Aggregation of individual preferences, Majority voting and Dictatorship, Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem)
  • The single-peaked preference theorem and its applications (Hotelling model, Downsian electoral competition, The model of legislature, Commitment problem in the committee system, Coalitional government formation)
  • Strategic voting
  • Collective action problem
  • Applications to topics such as redistributive programmes, taxation, government debt, corruption, etc.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Gehlbach, S, (2013), Formal Models of Domestic Politics, Cambridge University Press. Here is more info about the book:

Varian, Hal R., (2014), Intermediate Microeconomics, W. W. Norton & Company.

Module has an active ELE page?


Origin date

September 2012

Last revision date