Global political economy

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North-South relations and the global economic order

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Live dates: 
Thursday, 1 October 2020

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Aims and scope: 

This course provides an introduction to global political economy for students of international relations, development and security, focusing on the link between economic development, international relations and security, from a global perpective. The course is divided in three parts. It starts with a brief introduction to development economics to help students understand some important differences between the economies of developed and developing countries, the so-called Global North and Global South. Why do some countries grow faster than others? How do inequality and poverty relate to economic development? What drives migration from the South to the North, what are its effects, and how can we deal with it? Do poor people make the wrong decisions? Why is credit more expensive in developing countries? Does international development aid work?

The second part introduces the strategic approach to the study of international politics. It starts by laying the foundations, introducing students to different ways to think about the national interest, and showing them how to use the strategic perspective to better understand what happens in all aspects of international politics. Also covered is a basic, intuitive introduction to game theory and other evidence- and logic-based tools for analyzing international relations. A second topic analyses war, and provides a more thorough evaluation of how domestic political incentives and domestic institutions of governance shape choices about conflict initiation, escalation, and termination. A third topic focuses on peace, and builds on the logic of collective action to help students see why it is so difficult to get national governments to do what is right even when they can agree on what is right. It covers the effectiveness of international organizations and international law, including an evaluation of environmental issues, human rights enforcement, and the domestic and the international political economy of trade. Finally, a fourth topic discusses world order, emphasising efforts to promote the spread of democracy, alleviate poverty, and fight terrorism, examining which strategies work, which do not, and why.

The final part of the course focuses on the political economy of North-South relations, analysing from a critical perspective how changes in international systems affect relations between developing countries and the rest of the world. It analyses the international monetary system, institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, and the link between international finance and development. It also analyses the world trade system, the WTO, and the link between international trade and development. Along the way it analyses the major financial crises and their link to development. It ends with an analysis of globalisation and its consequences for economic development, international relations and security.

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is an approach for learning content through an additional language (foreign or second), thus learning both the subject and the language simultaneously. This approach to teaching and learning has never featured as strongly on university curricula as it does now. Besides, the great revolution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has had a tremendous impact on education. For the development of foreign language communication skills in particular, ICT is an ideal platform for developing interactive strategies and methodologies that promote independent learning, peer interaction, and language use for real communicative purposes. In a world where broadband connections and mobile-data enabled smartphones are widespread, and where students are digital natives, there is great potential for combining CLIL with ICT. If we add to this the opportunities that international university partnerships and networks offer for student interaction across borders, we have all the necessary ingredients for a successful course.

1. Introduction to global political economy. Part one: 2. Introduction to economic development. Concept and measurement. 3. Economic growth. The Neoclassical growth model and alternative growth models. Endogenous growth. Empirical evidence. Conditional convergence. 4. Economic inequality, poverty and development. Population and development. The dual economy. Rural-urban migration. Rural markets: land, labour, capital, and insurance. 5. International trade, international finance, and development. Development policy. Part two: 5. Evaluating arguments about international politics. The strategic perspective: when foreign policy collides with domestic politics. Tools for analyzing international affairs. An introduction to game theory. 5. Why war: the big picture. Domestic theories of war. 7. How international organizations work, or don’t work. Global warming: designing a solution. Human rights, international law and norms. Free trade or fair: the domestic politics of tariffs. 8. Globalization: international winners and losers. Foreign aid, poverty and revolution. Can terrorism be rational? A democratic world order: peace without democratization. Part three: 9. The political economy of North-South relations. 10. The WTO, the world trade system, and international trade arrangements. The political economy of international trade. International trade and development. 11. The international monetary system and international monetary arrangements. The political economy of international finance. International finance and development. 12. Globalisation and its consequences.

Indicative reading: 

Part one: Ray, D. (1998). Development economics. Princeton University Press; Basu, K. (2003). Analytical development economics: the less developed economy revisited. MIT Press; Banerjee, A. & E. Duflo (2012). Poor Economics. Public Affairs; Thirlwall, A.P. (2011). Economics of development. Palgrave Macmillan. Todaro, M. P., & Smith, S. C. (2015). Economic development. Pearson. Part two: Bueno de Mesquita, B. (2013). Principles of international politics (5th edition). CQ Press. Getmansky, A. & Quiroz Flores, A. (2013). Applying the strategic perspective: problems and models (5th edition). CQ Press. Part three: John Ravenhill (ed) (2014). Global Political Economy, 4th edition, Oxford University Press; Thomas Oatley (2013). International Political Economy, 5th edition, Pearson/Longman; Andrew Walter and Gautam Sen (2008). Analyzing the Global Political Economy, Princeton University Press.

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