Introduction to International Relations (IPE) (Undergraduate)

This course introduces the politics of international economic relations and globalization or ``International political economy,'' or ``IPE.'' IPE focuses on the interactions at work in government regulation of the market – that’s the ``political economy'' part of the term –specifically in aspects of the market that involve cross-border transactions – hence,``international.'' More specifically, our subject includes policy choices, institutions, and outcomes in international trade, multinational corporations and investment abroad, currency arrangements, external borrowing and debt, and other cross-border financial flows. We will ask and answer questions such as, ``Why do states manage to cooperate economically sometimes but not always?'' ``Why do governments promote or restrict integration with global markets under different circumstances?'' ``What forces shape the rules that states have crafted to govern their behavior on trade, investment, and currency matters, and what impact do those rules have on state behavior?'' We will approach these subjects theoretically. That means we are interested in finding generalizing explanations that provide insight into many IPE phenomena. Our framework, in doing so, focuses on theoretical building blocks: who are the relevant actors? What are their interests? What is the structure of power and institutions in which they interact? We will particularly address the role of collective action problems, incomplete information, commitment problems, and special interest group politics as sources of conflict in international political economy. The objective is for you to learn to think scientifically about political and economic affairs so that you learn to look for generalizing explanations that can be evaluated and supported by empirical evidence.

Download Syllabus 

Academic Term: 
Weekly Materials: 
WeekNameAttached files
Week 1
Week 2
Why do states trade?
Week 3
Why do states restrict trade?
Week 4
What is the source of comparative advantage?
Week 5
Trade is what states make of it?
Week 6
What explains the politics of immigration?
Week 7
What is the impact of remittances?
Week 9
Why do companies invest abroad?
Week 10
Why doesn’t more investment flow to developing countries?
Week 11
How and why do states compete for investment?
Week 12
Introduction to international currency politics and monetary policy
Week 13
Why can’t states get everything they want (in monetary policy)?
Week 14
The problem of international cooperation on financial policies