Comparative political economy

Economics, as it usually is taught at universities, does not include many references to politics. Economics is regarded as a sphere of its own, governed by its own logic. This is a mistake. Economic activities are social activities, and as such they are intimately related to everything else that human beings do. This course will emphasize this fact. We will discuss what markets are and how they work, and the role of the state in relation to the economy. Themes include: financial institutions, poverty and inequality, entrepreneurship, consumerism, work and unemployment, climate change and globalization.

The course will help you analyze contemporary economic issues in theoretical terms. It will help you understand the logic of the arguments used by economists, but also help you question that logic. Throughout the course we will read many classical texts, but also listen to podcasts and watch online lectures. All the pages are phone-compatible.

The final grade for the course is based on two requirements: 1) final, research paper of 5,000 words; 2) active class participation, including a presentation. In addition, you should write a research proposal of some 3,000 words. All students are expected to do the readings for each week, and come to class prepared to discuss them. The presentations will be summaries of podcasts and video lectures (see “Other Resources” in each week). The research proposal will be carried out as a group assignment, to be presented at a mid-term seminar.

Required material: