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Comparative Political Economy



[BSc] WP, PSc, ID

Admission Requirements

You are required to have successfully completed Quantitative Research Methods or an equivalent course and have working understanding of political science, economics and/or development as evidenced by successful completion of 100- and 200-level courses in these fields of study. If you are not sure, write to the course instructor. Course Administration and the instructor will check each record – to make sure you don’t accidentally take a course that you’re likely to fail.


In this seminar, we will strive to understand how political and economic factors have interacted across countries historically and in current settings. We will examine the ways in which political interests, agents and institutions influence economic performance and vice versa – how economic variables affect political action. We will pay attention to how political-economic theories are build, how they interact with one another, and how they are explored or tested using various sources of evidence. Given the breadth of topics and coverage of countries with different records of industrialization, democracy and economic performance, our goal is seemingly modest, but in reality ambitious – to further our understanding of key ideas, debates, and methodologies in comparative political economy in a structured way. This task requires dedication, diligence, imagination, and, – well, as much of arts and sciences, – sacrifices.

Course Objectives

Our key objective in this course will be to advance our understanding of the interaction between political and economic factors.
If you persevere and successfully make to the end of this course despite temporarily losing many a brave friend in this battle and your own sanity, you should be able to:

  • understand and critically discuss major issues, debates and theories in comparative political economy;

  • critically apply existing theoretical frameworks to evaluate specific country experiences in a comparative perspective;

  • empirically identify existing or potential sources of challenges for specific countries, their neighbors, partners and foes;

  • work toward developing tailored remedies for such challenges and present findings to stakeholders and informed non-specialists;

  • further strengthen your case for acquiring a right to give a grin at those economists and policy practitioners who seem to ignore politics, structures, and institutions.

Mode of Instruction

We will meet for two 2-hour seminars each week, starting each class with a brief recap and following with a discussion of a specific topic based on assigned readings. Most of our discussions will take the form of a structured interaction, including case-based debates, role-plays and simulations, so as to channel our brainstorming and musing productively, efficiently and in a fun way. Collaborative “experiential learning” exercises should help us apply our theoretical knowledge, hone analytical skills in simulated real-life settings, perceive the “reality” from the perspective of actors whose behavior we want to understand, and foster productive team work. We will use multi-media material to help us connect the dots among various ideas and phenomena.


To be confirmed in course syllabus:

Your preparation, research, contribution and reflection are essential for your success in this course, for the quality of our interaction and, ultimately, the learning of the whole group (and indirectly you again!).

Assessment: Contribution to in-class discussions and exercises
Percentage: 10%
Deadline: Weeks 1-7

Assessment: Contribution to weekly online discussions
Percentage: 10%
Deadline: End of each week, weeks 1-7

Assessment: In-class presentation (on sources of evidence on the class topic)
Percentage: 10%
Deadline: Weeks 1-7

Assessment: Mid-term paper (1500-2000 words)
Percentage: 15%
Deadline: Week 4 (Sunday midnight)

Assessment: Group project (a script and enactment of a short original stage play)
Percentage: 30%
Deadline: Week 7 (Sunday midnight)

Assessment: Final research essay (2500-3000 words)
Percentage: 25%
Deadline: Week 8 (Sunday midnight)


(subject to change)
Links to most course readings (journal articles) will be placed on Blackboard.

The following book is required:
Caporaso, James A., and David P. Levine. 1992. Theories of Political Economy. Cambridge University Press.

Contact Information

Instructor: Anar K. Ahmadov

Weekly Overview

(subject to changes)
Week 1: What is Political Economy?
Week 2: Classical Theories of Political Economy
Week 3: Politics, Institutions, and Development
Week 4: The Emergence and Dynamics of Democracy and Autocracy
Week 5: Elections, Parties, and Economies
Week 6: International Political Economy and Domestic Politics
Week 7: Varieties of Capitalism

Preparation for first session