Student Pages
Undergraduate course

Political Economy

Main content

Teaching semester

Spring - irregular

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. Its central theme is that of understanding and contrasting orthodox and heterodox approaches to macroeconomic theory. The readings and topics are drawn from the disciplines of both political science and economics. A wide range of rival methodological, ideological, and theoretical approaches will be studied, with an effort to consider the contemporary relevance of each respective perspective. Part I of the course surveys a range of introductory topics including a historical overview of the discipline, fundamental concepts, and rational choice theory. Part II of the course introduces the key theoretical and policy problems that occupy the attention of macroeconomic theory. A thorough elaboration and comparison of classical/neoclassical and Keynesian theories will set the stage for surveys of monetary and fiscal policy approaches. Part III of the course focuses on the state/market relation, presenting the Phillips Curve and general debates concerning the potential unemployment/inflation trade-off. In addition, we will also cover topics and readings related to the political business cycle, inequality, and social democracy. Part IV moves on to the study of business cycles and economic crises under capitalism, placing particular emphasis upon the 2008 financial crisis, its origins, its aftermath, and its consequences for the distribution of income and political influence, both in the US as well as the EU.

Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes: 


  • 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


Recommended Previous Knowledge


Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

Students may not earn credit for both SAMPOL213 and SAMPOL214.

Access to the Course


Teaching and learning methods


Hours per week: approximately 4

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance


Forms of Assessment

Portfolio assessment. The portfolio consist of two parts:

  • Part 1: 4-hour mid term desk examination (40 %)
  • Part 2: 8-hour final take home examination (60 %)

An overall assessment of the portfolio with one final grade will be given

Grading Scale

Graded A-F  

Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester. Only students who have a valid document of absence valid document of absence will be entitled to take a new written exam the following semester.

Reading List

The reading list will be ready before 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 Decemeber for the spring semester. 

Course Evaluation

All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.  

Course Coordinator

Course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB. 

Course Administrator

The Department of Comparative Politics at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme. 

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.

  • Type of assessment: Portfolio assessment

    Submission deadline
    08.05.2023, 17:10
    Withdrawal deadline
    • Exam part: Written examination

      23.02.2023, 09:00
      4 hours
      Examination system
      Digital exam
    • Exam part: Take home examination (essay)

      Assignment handed out
      08.05.2023, 09:00
      Submission deadline
      08.05.2023, 17:00
      Examination system
      Digital exam