Undergraduate course

Political Economy

Teaching semester

Spring - irregular (the course is offered in spring 2017)

Objectives and Content

SAMPOL214 is a course that provides a rigorous survey of studies in and perspectives on the relationship between the state and the economy under capitalism. The readings and topics are drawn from the disciplines of both political science and economics. A wide range of methodological, ideological, and theoretical approaches will be studied, with an effort to consider the contemporary relevance of each respective perspective. Following Part I of the course, which provides an introduction to the nature of political economy, Part II will introduce rational choice theory and some applications in the study of political phenomena. Part III of the course introduces the problems that occupy the attention of macroeconomic theory as well as the major theoretical/methodological/ideological/policy approaches of the Chicago School, Keynesianism, and Marxism. Part IV presents the Phillips Curve and general debates concerning the potential unemployment/inflation trade-off, following by studies that consider the impact of public policy upon the distribution of income. This section also incorporates political actors and governments under democracy and the relationship between their electoral interests and the macroeconomic policy choices that they make. Part V moves on to the study of business cycles and economic crises under capitalism, placing particular emphasis upon the contemporary global economic downturn, its nature, and the role of the state in affecting the severity and longevity of economic downturns.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course the student should be able to:


  • discuss and debate key rival perspectives in macroeconomic theory, including fiscal and monetary policy;
  • demonstrate a familiarity with the history of economic ideas in the twentieth century and their manifestation in public policy;
  • understand and apply rational choice models to key research questions in political science;
  • analyse the sources and consequences of the global economic crisis of 2008.


  • demonstrate an understanding of formal economic logic, concepts and models and their relevance for political science;
  • assess claims made by politicians, policy makers and researchers concerning the efficacy and consequences of alternative economic policy approaches.


General competence

  • critically analyse and evaluate the ideological and theoretical foundations of alternative economic models and policies and engage in discussions and analyses of the consequences of such models and policies for economic outcomes and social well-being.

Required Previous Knowledge

Fulfillment of general admission requirements.

Recommended Previous Knowledge


Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and seminars.

Hours per week: approximately 4

Number of weeks: minimum 8

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance


Forms of Assessment

4-hour final desk examination (60%) + maximum 2000-word mid-term home essay (40%)

Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale; grade F is a fail.

Subject Overlap

Students may not earn credit for both SAMPOL213 and SAMPOL214.

Assessment Semester

Spring - irregular (offered in spring 2017)

Reading List

The curriculum is new, starting from spring 2010

Course Evaluation

The course is to be evaluated according to the guidelines found in Handbok for kvalitetssikring av universitetsstudia. Course is evaluated regularly.


Department of Comparative Politics


Contact Information


Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam. The exam location will be published 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: Written exam and essay

    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam
    • Exam part: Essay

      Submission deadline
      15.03.2018, 17:00
      Examination system
      Digital exam
    • Exam part: Written examination

      01.06.2018, 09:00
      4 hours
      Examination system
      Digital exam