PS 3510
International Political Economy
 3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

We are in an era of unprecedented global economic integration. It affects the wealth and power of nations, and the culture and societies of peoples around the globe. This development has often been called "globalization," and it has fierce critics as well as passionate supporters. International Political Economy is the study of the politics of this emerging global economy. How is it organized? Who controls it? Who gains, and who loses, from the world's increasing interdependence? The course addresses the major topics and issues of the global political economy, as well as examines the role and policies of the United States towards them

Course Objectives:

Students will leave the course understanding  how the global economic system is managed,  how the current form of this management has evolved, and  the major theories that explain this evolution.  Students will know how the central global economic institutions operate, and the controversies that surround their actions.  Students will be aware of American policies and goals towards the global economy, and the contemporary issues with which it is involved. Finally, students will develop their analytic abilities viz. the interaction of the global political and the global economic orders.
Prerequisites and Corequisites:

An introductory course in international or comparative politics is required for this course.  It is recommended that students have had a course in economics or, minimally, be comfortable with basic economic terminology. 

Course Topics:
The course material is presented in 12 "lessons."  Each lesson consists of overview materials, followed by a required  reading from the course text, supplementary readings and guided internet web site visits, a review that highlights the key points raised during that week's lesson, and, should there be a written assignment for that lesson,  instructions for how to proceed.
The lesson topics, and their key organizing questions, are as follows:

I.      Introduction to International Political Economy
  • What is "international political economy" (IPE)?
  • How is it different from international politics or international economics?
II.     International Politics and International Economics
  • How are the two related, and does one cause the other?
  • The Three theoretical Traditions of IPE
III.    International Money
  • Why the does the world need global rules to manage money?
  • What is the role of the American dollar in the IPE?
  • What are the international institutions that manage money globally, and how do they operate?
IV.    Foreign Direct Investment
  • Why do countries, companies, and individuals invest overseas?
  • What is the history of this investment?
  • Is this investment good or bad for the host country?
  • How is this investment regulated globally?
V.     International Debt Crises
  • What is a debt crisis, and how serious is it?
  • How are debt crises handled globally? 
  • Why were there so many crises in the 1980s, and what was their effect?
  • What have been the major crises since that time?
  • What role should the US play in resolving debt crises?
  • Will there be future crises? How should they be managed?
VI.    The Politics of International Trade
  • Why do countries trade with each other?
  • Why has international trade grown so rapidly in recent years?
  • Do some countries exploit others through this trade?
  • What are the international institutions that manage trade globally, and how do they operate?
  • Do we need more (or less) regulation of international trade
VII.   U.S. Trade Policy
  • What has been the history of US trade, and trade policy?
  • How does the US government negotiate with other countries on trade issues?
  • What are the US administrative agencies that deal with trade, and what do they do?
  • What are America's foreign trade goals?
VIII.  The Multinational Corporation
  • What is a multinational (or transnational) corporation?
  • Why do they exist?
  • Does anyone regulate these international businesses?
  • Do they exploit the countries in which they operate, or the workers of those countries?
  • What is the US policy towards these companies?
IX.    North-South Relations
  • How do the rich and poor nations of the world interact with each other?
  • Do rich nations have an obligation to help poor nations?
  • Do rich nations exploit poor nations?
  • What is foreign aid? Is it a good idea?
  • Should the operations of the global economy be changed to help the poor?
X.     NAFTA and Regionalism
  • Why was NAFTA enacted?
  • What are the arguments for and against NAFTA?
  • Do other countries have regional trade agreements?
  • Is this "regionalism" the way of the future?
XI.    Globalization: The Great Debate
  • What is globalization? 
  • Why is it occurring, and should it (can it?) be stopped?
  • Who should regulate the process of globalization?
  • Where will globalization lead?
XII.   Contemporary Issues
  • How should we govern the global economy?
  • Do we need a new trade round?
  • Are economic sanctions a useful tool of foreign policy?
  • Is the US too dominant in global affairs?  Or should it be the leader?
  • Can terrorism bring down the global economy?
Specific Course Requirements:
Students should have computer hardware and software that allows them to read and send email, access the internet, and enter the WebCT website. 
Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements
Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course:

Supplementary Materials:
All students must subscribe to a free email service that delivers a daily compendium of political events affecting the global economy.  (Alternatively, one may access the service's website daily.) Subscription information is given in the first week's course lesson.  Additional readings and web site materials will be assigned for each topic.  All materials will be available through internet sources.  Specific materials are discussed in the course lessons to which they pertain.
Hardware Requirements:
The minimum requirements can be found at
Software Requirements:
The minimum requirements can be found at
Instructor Information
Please see the separate page inside the course to find instructor contact information as well as a statement of virtual office hours and other communication information.
Assessment and Grading
Testing Procedures:
There is a mid-term (after lesson #6) and final examination for this course.  Both exams will feature a mixture of short answers and essay questions.  They are open book. Each exam will be distributed ten days before it is due. 
Grading Procedure:
Exam grades are based upon the student's accuracy of fact and sophistication of argument. Student's should be able to deploy the knowledge gained from the course text and supplemental materials to analyze real-world issues in determining the cause, consequences, and preferred outcome of those issues. Compositional skills are not the primary emphasis of this course, however consideration will be given to the grammar, spelling, and organization of all written work.

It is expected that exams and other written assignments will be delivered to the instructor before 10 pm (us central time) on their due date. This date will be clearly indicated upon the issuance of the assignment. The grade of an assignment or exam will be reduced 15 points for every day (24 hour period) that it is late. No assignment or exam will be accepted more than 72 hours after it is due. At that time the student will be given a grade of 0 (zero) for that work.
Grading Scale:
100 - 90   -- A
  89 - 80   -- B
  79 - 70   -- C
  69 - 60   -- D
below 60  -- F

Each course assignment is graded independently. The final grade will be the weighted average of all assignments and exams.
Assignments and Participation
Assignments and Projects:
To successfully complete this course, students must take both exams, complete two written assignments, and participate in class discussion.  The contribution of each to the final course grade is as follows:

 Examinations                                              Pct. of Course Grade

1.   Mid-term Exam (following Lesson #6)             [25%]                           
2.   Final Exam (following Lesson #12)                  [30%]                                    

The two exams have the same format of short answers and essay questions, although the final will include one comprehensive essay question. 

Written Assignments

1.   Each student must complete TWO of the four written assignments.  [25%]
Assignments will be introduced following Lessons #3,5,7,9.  Each assignment is related to the topics of the previous two  lessons.  You will be asked to develop an argument in response to specific question(s) about that topic. The argument will be approximately 750 words in length, and may include exhibits such as web site links, or references to stories presented in the daily email of global events that you receive.  You may choose the two assignments that you wish to complete.  Each assignment is due within two weeks of its introduction.

Class Participation 

1.    See below  [20%]

Class Participation:
Students should expect to contribute actively to the discussion between the professor and the class that will be occurring throughout the course.  The professor will lead by offering items for discussion on the discussion board.  As the course progresses, many of these items will relate to current issues and events.  Students are free and encouraged to offer their own issues and questions for discussion.  Participation means adding your own comments and responding to those of others.  Because students will not be on-line at the same time, the course will use the discussion board, and not chat rooms, for the course discussion.
While there are no specific times or places when students must be on-line or do their work, the course does have a timetable organized around the twelve lessons. Students should complete one lesson per week to make certain they can participate in the discussion and complete their exams and written assignments on time. Don't fall behind, it is very difficult to catch up!
Course Ground Rules
International Political Economy is delivered in an asynchronous environment, which means that students will be working at their own pace, subject to the necessary assignment deadlines.  But as you proceed, don't forget:
  • Course discussion is an important part of your experience, your learning, and your grade
  • Always check to see if there are any new course announcements from the instructor
  • Don't wait to learn how to navigate in WebCT
  • Please use the assigned college or university e-mail address, and not your personal e-mail address
  • If you should have a technical problem, address it immediately
  • Remember that you are in a classroom.  Observe course "netiquette" and be considerate of others at all times.
Guidelines for Communications
  • Guidelines
  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments maybe taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts. (You never know what fonts someone else's machine can read!)
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members.
Discussion Groups:


  • Discussion is the heart of the course, so don't be bashful, but...
  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
    Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather than starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other's ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.

Because there is no expectation that either students or the instructor will be on-line at the same time, there will be no course chat room, or chat discussions. 

Web Resources:

For written assignments, you may wish to consult:


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in the Regents Degree Program. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading must be included in all courses. 

Students With Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the left to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.

Technical Support

Telephone Support:
If you are having problems logging into your course,
timing out of your course, using your course web site tools, or other technical problems, please contact the AskRODP Help Desk by calling

1-866-550-7637 (toll free)

or go to the AskRODP website at: