Due to the Corona virus education methods or examination can deviate. For the latest news please check the course page in Brightspace.


nl en

International Political Economy




Admission Requirements

Similarly tagged 200-level and 300-level courses. Moreover, having completed courses in qualitative and/or quantitative research methods will be helpful. Students that do not meet this prerequisite should contact the instructor regarding the required competencies before course allocation.


Even though the notion of ‘international development’ is central to any discussion on global justice and inequity, it has become increasingly controversial in recent years. Zooming in on this controversial subject, the course aims to discuss the various definitions of international development and analyse some of the main processes and actors that drive and hinder it. The course starts from the analytical perspectives that are common within the discipline of international political economy (IPE), but it will also consider alternative approaches within the broader field of development studies. Through a wide range of empirical case studies, drawn in particular from the African and Asian contexts, students will be challenged to critically contrast, evaluate, and connect the various theoretical approaches to the real-world problems of the ‘bottom billion’. As such, the course provides insight into the political, economic, and social processes behind international development and helps students to identify, understand, and evaluate them in a wide range of cases.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

  • Be able to understand, contrast, and apply the main perspectives within International Political Economy;

  • Be able to reflect on theories of and approaches to international development and apply and evaluate them empirically through case studies;

  • Have experience analysing a range of empirical case studies of development, particularly in the African context;

  • Have enhanced their skills of locating and selecting primary and secondary sources; and of presenting, debating, and essay writing.

Mode of Instruction

This course will be taught through two-hour interactive seminars. Seminars will generally include a short introduction by the instructor, after which students will be asked to present, debate, or otherwise reflect actively on the relevant theme and readings. Seminars will focus both on concepts and on empirical case studies. Students will be asked to prepare their own case study analyses (both as a group or individually).


Assessment: Class participation
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: Weeks 1-7

Assessment: Presentations and debates
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: Weeks 1-7

Assessment: Short essays
Percentage: 30%
Deadline: Weeks 1-7

Assessment: Research essay
Percentage: 30%
Deadline: Week 8


The course reading list will include key academic and policy-oriented texts in IPE and development studies, as well as articles from a range of academic journals (available in the Leiden e-library). Students can expect to engage with current scholarly and policy debates on such issues as aid effectiveness, the Washington Consensus, and globalisation and development. More information will follow closer to the start of the course.

Contact Information

Convenor: mailto: david.ehrhardt@qeh.ox.ac.uk

Weekly Overview

  1. Introduction and IPE perspectives
  2. Understanding development
  3. Measures, methods, and data
  4. Development and the state
  5. NGOs, classes, and private actors
  6. International institutions
  7. Development and globalisation

Preparation for first session

  • Think about what you understand by development and be prepared to discuss your thoughts.

  • Readings for the first class will be communicated closer to the beginning of the course.