POL41780 The Politics of Inequality

Academic Year 2021/2022

This module will trace the political and economic history of wealth and income inequality from the 19th to the 21st century. Each seminar is based around a chapter in Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the 21st Century. In the first part of the course (chapters 1-2 with additional journal article material), we will discuss core political economy theories, concepts, indicators, and measures as they apply to wealth and income inequality. In the second part of the course, we will trace the structural transformation of capital (wealth) in Europe and the USA from the 19th century to the present (chapters 3-6, with additional journal articles). In the third part of the course, we will discuss the dynamics and structure of wage and income inequality, paying particular attention to the 99 versus 1 percent (chapters 7-12, with additional journal articles). In the final part of the course, we discuss the politics of regulating global financial capital in the 21st century, paying particular attention to the politics of public debt (chapters 13-16, with additional reading).

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this course, you will have enhanced theoretical and empirical knowledge about how to measure, assess, quantify, discuss, and critically evaluate the politics and economics of global wealth and income inequality. You will also have an understanding of the contemporary economic challenges facing policymakers and academics in the post-crisis period.

Indicative Module Content:

This is provided in the detailed syllabus on Brightspace.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Seminar (or Webinar)


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module will be delivered virtually, online.

You are expected to participate in breakout room class discussions, engage in problem based learning, and complete all the readings assigned for each webinar. 
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
Assignment: An end-of-term essay/paper. Unspecified n/a Graded Yes


Continuous Assessment: A mid-term assignment that may vary.

Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
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?

Written feedback on assignments with the option for further feedback in office hours

This will be provided in the syllabus on Brightspace.
Name Role
Mr Daniel Stairs Lecturer / Co-Lecturer