Victor A. Menaldo
POL S 584
Overview of current developments in comparative political economy. Topics may include globalization, the welfare state, partisan models of economic policymaking, economic development, and trade.
Why are some countries wealthy while others are poor? Why are some countries more unequal than others? What explains the strong cross-country correlation between state capacity, the rule of law, and economic development? In order to answer these questions, this class explores the political determinants of economic development—the reasons why some countries consistently accumulate wealth and experience productivity gains while others don't. Particular emphasis will be placed on 1) the role of the state in stimulating the development of financial and capital markets 2) how the resources that are ultimately produced through this politicized process are distributed 3) the willingness and ability of governments to tax income, wealth, investments, and consumption, and 4) how governments decide to use these revenues: whether to provide public goods, redistribute them, or simply to steal them. A general focus on self-enforcing institutions, and a particular focus on why suboptimal policies are often such a resilient equilibrium, will shed considerable light on these puzzles.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
Response papers; research proposal