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International Political Economy

9072 (ISS - IBEI)

Credits: 4 ECTS

Second semester

Elective Courses




This is an intermediate course in international political economy (IPE), situated halfway between an introductory course and a purely research-oriented course.

We start from accepting that IPE can be defined in three different ways:

(1)    The inter-disciplinary study of international economic phenomena which are at least partly due to politics. Example: the current trade war between the USA and China, one of whose causes may be changes in US domestic politics.

(2)    The inter-disciplinary study of international political phenomena which are at least partly due to economic events or circumstances. Example: the current tensions between the Italian government and the European Commission, one of whose causes may be the lack of growth of the Italian economy since 2007.

(3)    The use of economic concepts and methods to understand international affairs. Example: Bargaining between Britain and Iran may be analyzed using bargaining models of vote-maximizing politicians.    

IPE can be extended to cover numerous policy areas, such as trade, monetary affairs, foreign direct investment and portfolio investment, competition policy, taxation, immigration, financial regulation, development assistance, energy, water management, climate change, etc. In this course we focus mostly on three of them: international trade (sessions 3 and 4), international monetary affairs (sessions 5 and 6), and international antitrust (session 7).* The main goal during these sessions is to acquaint students with the main concepts, theories, methods, and findings in IPE. 

After the mid-term examination (which is on session 8) we conduct three detailed case studies:

  1. The current trade war between the US and China (session 9);
  2. The management of the value of the Turkish lira since 2010 (session 10); and
  3. The enforcement of antitrust rules by the European Commission against US tech giants (session 11).

The main goal during these sessions is to gain an in-depth understanding of the options available to policy-makers, the constraints limiting their freedom of action, and the opportunities they may seek to create. 


  • Mid-term examination (10 multiple choice questions plus one short essay): 25%
  • Final examination (10 multiple choice question plus two short essays): 30%
  • Presentation: 25%
  • Assiduity and participation: 20%

Competences, learning outcomes and teaching activities (PDF)