International Political Economy

Course Description

This course is an introduction to theories and issues in international political economy. Our emphasis will be on understanding bargaining between rich and poor countries. In particular, we will examine the political and economic conditions conducive to the development of cooperative international economic behavior among countries. The first part of the course will consider three analytical approaches to interpret economic interaction among countries - liberalism, dependency, and mercantilism. This part of the course also will consider theories used to explain the evolution of international arrangements - regimes - in the international system. The second part of the course will focus on four issue areas of key significance for North-South relations: trade, money, multinationals, and commodities. Our emphasis will be on the post-World War II transformation of rules and behavior in these issue-areas. The third and concluding part of the course will review the theoretical ideas and examine the prospects of the less-developed countries in the international system and the future of international economic cooperation. PS 126A is a prerequisite for PS 126B, which examines foreign economic policy.

Subfield: International Relations


All students are required to take the midterm and final, write a 15 page paper, and attend discussion sections. The emphasis on the examinations will be on analysis based on thought rather than simply on a recall of facts. Grading will be based on the points obtained out of a maximum of 500. The breakdown is as follows: Midterm: 100 pts.- Paper: 150 pts.- Sections: 50 pts.- and Final: 200 pts.


Although there are no formal prerequisites for this course, background in international relations, international economics, or post World War II history is essential. Students who have NOT taken any economics should NOT take the class.