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Political Economy in International Perspective


Admission requirements

This course is for Master students Public Administration, track Economics and Governance only.
This course assumes knowledge of European economic integration (or international economics), quantitative research methods and socio-economic policy analysis at third-year bachelor level.


Globalisation, ageing of populations and high levels of unemployment pose difficult dilemmas for policy-makers. On the one hand, policy-makers may pursue socio-economic reforms in order to increase a country’s competitiveness or to improve the functioning of the labour market. On the order hand, the reality is that such socio-economic reforms are politically challenging.

In this course, we study this type of dilemmas at the intersection of economics and governance from an international comparative perspective. Questions that we address are for example: How do policy-makers adjust social assistance and unemployment benefit schemes in times of increasing migration? To what extent do international trade and capital flows trigger reforms of corporate income taxes? What is the effect of globalisation and technological change on income inequality? And how does this effect interact with public and private education systems? What is the role of global capital markets in the developments of housing prices?

Weekly overview:
1. Introduction to comparative political economy
2. Political parties, corporatism and socio-economic reforms
3. Globalisation I
4. Globalisation II
5. Automation, digitalization and technological change
6. Migration
7. Income inequality

This course consists of seven interactive seminars. During a seminar, the theme of the week will be introduced. Subsequently, students will present, review and discuss the study materials themselves. For these activities, thorough preparation is required. The study materials contain several state-of-the-art studies in the field of comparative political economy on various topics.

Course objectives

  • Understanding of key issues in the field of international economic integration and socio-economic policy

  • Understanding of key theories and methods in the state-of-the-art academic research in the field of political economy of globalisation, European integration and socio-economic policy reforms

  • Ability to use and critically evaluate scientific research

  • Ability to build, present and defend well-grounded arguments in oral communication


On the Public Administration front page of the Prospectus you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

  1. Interactive seminars where students critically review research articles.
  2. Presentations.
  3. Self-study.

Attendance: Attendance during the seminars is not compulsory, but it is necessary though.

  • During the first seminar, we will make a presentation scheme for the rest of the course.

  • Presentations and active class participation are a substantial component of the assessment.

Total course load: 140 hours:

  • Contact hours: 24 hours

  • Self-study: 116 hours

Assessment method

  1. Written exam
  • 75% of the final course grade

  • grade of 5.5 or higher is necessary to pass this course

  • re-take possible

  1. Presentations and class participation
  • 25% of the final course grade

  • grade of 5.5 or higher is necessary to pass this course

  • re-take not possible

Partial grades obtained in a previous year will remain valid in the current year.

Reading list

Articles from international academic journals, more information will be shares via Brightspace.


Register yourself via MyStudymap for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams).
Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.

Registration for this course is possible from Wednesday 13 December 13.00h

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.

More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.

Please note: guest-/contract-/exchange students do not register via MyStudymap but via uSis.


Prof.dr. O.P. van Vliet