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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Bradley Murg
POL S 335
Seattle Campus

Topics in Political Economy

Class description

POL S 335 provides an introduction to contemporary research on the political economy of development. This course is specifically focused on neo-institutionalism and as such provides a basis for subsequent political economy coursework as well as an understanding of the conceptual framework most utilized in the policy world. The primary issues to be addressed by the course are: How central is politics to economic development? How do political institutions impact policy choices? Why do institutions matter? Why do governments employ policies which negatively impact development? Why do inefficient institutions survive? How important are international factors relative to domestic factors? One of the aims of the discussion/reading in the class will be to test abstract theories of development using in-depth knowledge of cases, and to deepen understanding from theoretical and area knowledge.

Student learning goals

Acquisition of the necessary theoretical and conceptual tools to analyze development in Less Developed Countries (LDCs)

Understanding of the core elements of neo-institutionalism and their relevance in an LDC policy setting

Familariziation with the primary challenges confronting developing countries today and the menu of public policy options to respond thereto

An integrated comprehension of domestic and global structures in the analysis of development questions

General method of instruction

The course format is lecture based and inclusive of group discussion of required reading. Discussion will be devoted to critical analysis of the reading and application of the concepts therein to country/regional development histories.

Recommended preparation

Previous coursework in political economy, particularly neo-institutionalism is ideal however not required. The first three weeks will focus uniquely on theoretical aspects before moving into specialized topics and application of the concepts learned.

Class assignments and grading

Two reading response papers (one in the first four weeks, one in the subsequent six weeks) will be required. The midterm exam will cover the primary theoretical issues in the class. The final exam will focus on application of theoretical/conceptual approaches to the substantive issues covered in the final 2/3 of the class. The final paper will combine theoretical work and in depth research of a single case resulting in policy recommendations.

Course grades will be determined as follows: *10% attendance/participation (2 reading response paper required) *30% midterm paper *30% final exam *30% final paper


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Bradley Murg
Date: 07/28/2011