POL40820 Governing the Global Economy

Academic Year 2021/2022

*** Not available in the academic year indicated above ***

This module will introduce students to Critical Political Economy (CPE) as a conceptual basis for understanding development and change in the global economy and, in particular, how that economy is politically governed. A key theme of the module is the centrality of political institutions and ideas in moulding and determining economic outcomes and, more generally, the interconnectedness of politics and economics. A neo-Gramscian approach is adopted, showing how concepts such as ‘hegemony’ and ‘critical theory’ can help explain why and how institutions, ideas and economic relations change over time. One such change is embedded in the idea of ‘development’, and the (contested) role of the state in the promotion of economic development is one theme that will be explored early in the module with particular reference to the idea of the ‘developmental state’.

We then turn our attention to descending layers of economic governance, beginning at the global level with an analysis of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation, as well as the way in which development finance (including aid) helps govern the global economy. Regional governance is our next port of call, chiefly consisting of a detailed case-study of the currently fast changing political economy of the European Union. And our last layer is national economic governance, again built around a case study, in this case the political economy of states and markets in the Republic of Ireland. Finally, we use the tools of CPE to explore the current economic, climate and health crises and to ask whether fundamental shifts are taking place in global economics and politics.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Learning outcome: the capacity to interpret contemporary debates about the global economy (such as those about so-called `globalisation') within an explanatory framework that emphasises the interaction of political and economic factors and an understanding of how historical structures change over time.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Principally lecture-based, with scope for in-class Q&A and some groupwork/discussion 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: Essay - 6000 words Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Essay: x1 essay - 4500 words Week 7 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback on the first essay will be provided within 3 weeks of its submission