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Unit information: International Political Economy in 2015/16

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Unit name International Political Economy
Unit code SPAI10005
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Jeremy Green
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit introduces students to some of the core themes of the sub-field of International Political Economy (IPE) and also provides an overview of the historical development of the world economy by examining key moments of transition and transformation through the lens of contending IPE perspectives. The unit will provide students with an empirical basis for understanding the evolution of the international political economy and the key actors and structures that have shaped this process. The unit examines the historical development of the international economy, covering issues such as the 19th century gold standard, the post-Bretton Woods monetary order, the era of financial globalisation, the Great Depression, World War 2, the crisis of the 1970s and the 2007/8 Global Financial Crisis. Students will mobilise theoretical insights to explain and understand these empirical focal points.

  • Develop critical understanding of different IPE perspectives
  • Gain knowledge of key historical transformations within the international political economy
  • Engage contemporary themes in IPE through the critical application of different theoretical perspectives
  • Understand key processes and mechanisms that are central to the functioning of the international political economy

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the key actors and structures within the international political economy
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the historical development of the international political economy and identify key junctures of transformation
  • Adjudicate between contrasting perspectives on IPE with reference to key empirical issues

Teaching Information

The unit will consist of two one hour lectures and one seminar of one hour per week.

Assessment Information

Formative: 1500 word essay.

Summative: 2 hour exam (100%).

The assessments will evaluate all of the intended learning outcomes listed above

Reading and References

Robert Gilpin (1987) The Political Economy of International Relations, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Eric Helleiner (1994) States and the Re-emergence of Global Finance: From Bretton Woods to the 1990s, Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Jeffrey Frieden & David Lake (2000) (eds) International Political Economy: Perspectives on Global Power and Wealth, New York: Bedford St. Martin’s.

Barry Eichengreen (2008) Globalizing Capital: A History of the International Monetary System, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Robert O’Brien & Marc Williams (2013) Global Political Economy: Evolution and Dynamics 4th Edition,

Basingstoke: Palgrave.