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Political Economy: Asia




Admissions requirements

Introduction to Comparative Politics.


This course offers an introduction to the political economy of contemporary South, Southeast, and East Asia. Economic development in Asia poses a number of striking puzzles: while harboring the world’s fasted growing economies, Asian countries differ considerably in terms of economic development and income levels. And while the state is playing an important role in economies throughout Asia, the ‘developmental state’ has sometimes generated highly collusive relationships between the worlds of business and politics. Focusing on these puzzles, our central task is to explore the interaction between politics and economic performance across countries and over time, both theoretically and empirically. Along the way, we will address issues such as the role of the state in economic development, corruption and rent-seeking, environmental politics, democracy, political institutions, the character of Asia’s tycoons, reform and adjustment.

By the end of the course, students will have a firm grasp on the basic debates about politics and economic performance in Asia. Students will be able to evaluate critically various theoretical explanations for why particular countries have grown or stagnated, and will understand how to examine the internal logic of these explanations by engaging in comparisons between countries and time periods.

Course objectives

After successful completion of this course, students are able to:


  • describe and think critically about key debates and perspectives concerning the political economy of South, Southeast and East Asia

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


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

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


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course is conducted in seminar-style meetings. This requires thorough preparation through the study of the compulsory readings and active engagement on the part of the students. Class meetings will include short lectures, moderated plenary and group discussions as well as student presentations. The attendance of classes is compulsory.


Student performance will be assessed in four ways:

  • First, in-class participation assesses the ability to engage in informed and critical discussions of the subject matter. Therefore, students are required to prepare each class by carefully reading the compulsory literature and have the main contents present in mind and questions ready for discussion (10%)

  • Second, the lecturer will assign and schedule two student presentations for each class, starting from Week 2. Strictly within 15 minutes, each student will be asked to, once, introduce a theme that is related to the respective class, but not covered in the compulsory literature. Presentations are followed by Q&A and discussions (20%).

  • Third, students are required to write an essay of 3000 words (excluding references/bibliography) taking on one of the essay questions provided in the course outline (or, after consultation, a different topic). The essay must be submitted by 10 march, essay outline by 28 February (40%).

  • Fourth, students will take a final exam in the last week of the course (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

A list of compulsory reading will be provided in the class schedule. Students are asked to access the compulsory readings via the university library electronically and/or at the course reserve shelf at the Wijnhaven Library on Turfmarkt 99, The Hague.


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


Dr. Ward Berenschot (Block 3)
Dr. Elena Burgos Martinez (Block 4)