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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Joannie Tremblay-Boire
POL S 427
Seattle Campus

International Political Economy

Examines major theoretical problems, substantive issues, and schools of thought in international political economy (IPE), including issues of trade, production, and finance. Preparation for critical analysis of dilemmas entailed in establishing and maintaining an instrumentally effective and ethically acceptable IPE system.

Class description

This course concerns the intersection of politics and economics, in particular how the interaction between politics and economics affects international affairs. It is designed to give students a better understanding of the current international economic system —and its impacts on state behavior— as well as the events and political processes which led to this system and prospects for the future. We examine how and why government policymakers seek to manipulate economic factors like tariffs, exchange rates, and investment climate as well as the costs they pay if they ignore economic fundamentals and get foreign economic policies wrong. The course will be divided into 4 main sections. We will examine economic theories of trade, money, development, and globalization as well as international relations perspectives on the same issues, including realism, liberalism, Marxism, and domestic politics approaches. We then apply theories from economics and political science to the evolution of the international economy in order to see how well they explain key actors’ preferences, behaviors, and international outcomes and the ways in which reality has diverged from theoretical expectations. We also look at contemporary debates in IPE, including the future of the WTO, the political power of MNCs, the Asian financial crisis, alternatives to the Washington Consensus, a “race to the bottom,” and concerns about cultural imperialism via commercialism and capitalism.

Student learning goals

to understand the main theoretical traditions in the study of IPE

to become familiar with the language, ideas, and major events in IPE

to be able to analyze international economics and to understand such analyses in the newspaper, radio, or scholarly articles

to clearly and cohesively present and defend ideas in written and verbal formats

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

This is both a lecture and a discussion course and students will be expected to actively engage in periodic class discussions as well as attend lectures. As such, reading the required texts and class participation are necessary for success in this class. The course grade is composed of the following: class participation (15%), citation assignment (5%), current events assignment (10%), midterm exam (20%), essay (20%), final exam (30%).


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 Joannie Tremblay-Boire
Date: 11/07/2013