POLSC411: International Political Economy

Course Syllabus for "POLSC411: International Political Economy"

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This course will introduce you to the field of international political economy.  International political economy combines two very important aspects of international relations: politics and economics.  The goal of this course is to make you aware of the ways in which economics and politics influence each other when it comes to creating policy.  It explores the interrelated nature of both economics (via its emphasis on markets) and politics (via its emphasis on power).  This course is thus both an economics and a politics course.  However, please note that though we will review some economics concepts, this course is not an econometrics course and does not require a background in economic methods. Economic policy can be an important instrument of statecraft and diplomacy between countries.  For example, countries often use trade relationships, promises of aid, loans, and investments to build goodwill.  On the other hand, countries can also use economic policy to punish or express disapproval towards other countries.  The United Nations Security Council will often, for example, use economic sanctions as a policy instrument when a country is found to be in violation of international law. In this course, you will also learn about the international organizations and regimes that are designed to facilitate international economic transactions and ensure economic stability, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  We will also review the impact that globalization has on the world economy and the gap between rich and poor countries.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Identify, explain, and compare major theories in the field of international political economy.
  • Analyze the effects of trade policies on domestic and international actors.
  • Evaluate the costs and benefits of Foreign Direct Investment and Sovereign Debt.
  • Explain the development of the international currency system and analyze the effects of domestic policies.
  • Compare and contrast approaches to human rights and access to basic human needs.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader of Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (e.g. .doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Be competent in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed the following courses: ECON101: Principles of Microeconomics; ECON102: Principles of Macroeconomics; POLSC211: Introduction to International Relations

Course Information

Welcome to POLSC411: International Political Economy. General information about this course and its requirements can be found below.
Course Designer: Michael Mosser
Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials. Unit One is of special importance, as it is the foundation for the more advanced material presented in the later units. You will also need to complete the Final Exam.

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the materials in each unit.

In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again following a 14-day waiting period.

Time Commitment: Completing this course should take you a total of approximately 94.5 hours. Each unit includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. These advisories should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories, determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take you 16 hours. Instead of attempting to complete the entire unit in a few sittings, it might be useful for you to consider each subunit as a discrete entity, only working on the subunits for which you can devote the appropriate time and resources. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunit 1.1 (a total of 2.5 hours) on Monday night; subunit 1.2 (a total of 3.5 hours) on Tuesday night; subunit 1.3 (a total of 4.5 hours) on Wednesday night; etc.

Tips/Suggestions: Please follow the directions in each unit of the course outline section to navigate through the course materials. Please see the prerequisite and required courses in the course requirements section above. If you are struggling with a concept, it may help to refer back to these courses for a refresher of basic economics and international relations concepts. It will be helpful to take careful notes as you work through the readings, video lectures, and other resources. These notes will be useful for studying as you prepare for the Final Exam.

Preliminary Information

  • International Economics: Theory and Policy

    You will be prompted to read sections of this book throughout the course.  You may choose to download the text in full now and skip to the appropriate section as prompted by the resource boxes below, or you can simply download the specific sections of the text assigned as you progress through each resource box below.

    Link: International Economics: Theory and Policy (PDF)

    Terms of Use: This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.