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Political Economy: Asia




Admissions requirements

Principles of Economics.


This course offers an introduction to debates on the political economy of Asia. The focus is on the connection between politics and economy in the region, but we also examine how these are interrelated with the social and cultural domains. The course looks at the contemporary dynamics of different Asian economies and positions these dynamics in the history of the region. A range of countries in Asia in discussed, including the industrialized countries in the East (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan), the more established countries of Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines) as well as those that only opened up to globalization after the Cold War (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar), the region’s two port-city-states (Singapore and Hong Kong) and, of course, the emerging regional hegemon (China). In discussing the various countries of East and Southeast Asia, we consider important themes on the micro and macro level, including but not limited to the developmental state, informal economy, ethnic and family business, foreign investment, regional integration, urban versus rural development, economic crisis, resource dependency and state-business relations.

Course objectives

  • Acquire understanding of and think critically about key debates and perspectives concerning the political economy of Asia

  • Assess the interrelatedness of economic development, political regimes, and the social and cultural contexts of Asia

  • Comprehend and analyze academic literature pertaining to the themes discussed in the weekly seminars

  • Actively engage in seminar discussions and give an oral presentation on one of the weekly themes

  • Formulate an original research question and write an essay corresponding the academic level on a subject of choosing related to the course content


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Seminar-style meetings in which active engagement of students is required. Class meetings will include short lectures, (group)presentations and discussions. Attendance of class meetings is compulsory.


  • Class participation (10%)

  • Oral presentation (20%)

  • Short essays / weekly assignments (30%)

  • Final essay (30%)


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Literature will be assigned corresponding to the weekly themes in the course syllabus. Students will need to purchase the following book before the start of the course: Studwell, J. (2013) How Asia Works: Success and Failure in the World’s Most Dynamic Region. London: Profile Books.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact