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Course, academic year 2023/2024
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International Political Economy - JEM212
Title: International Political Economy
Guaranteed by: Institute of Economic Studies (23-IES)
Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences
Actual: from 2023
Semester: summer
E-Credits: 7
Examination process: summer s.:
Hours per week, examination: summer s.:2/1, Ex [HT]
Capacity: 59 / 59 (unknown)
Min. number of students: unlimited
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Teaching methods: full-time
Teaching methods: full-time
Note: course can be enrolled in outside the study plan
enabled for web enrollment
priority enrollment if the course is part of the study plan
Guarantor: doc. PhDr. Zuzana Havránková, Ph.D.
Ing. Vilém Semerák, M.A., Ph.D.
Teacher(s): doc. Ing. Vladimír Benáček, CSc.
Mgr. Tomáš Boukal
Ing. Vilém Semerák, M.A., Ph.D.
Class: Courses for incoming students
Incompatibility : JEM165, JPM325
Is incompatible with: JEM165, JPM325
Files Comments Added by
download JEM165_IPE_Guidelines and Short Syllabus_2024.pdf Syllabus. Further files and details are available at the Moodle system Ing. Vilém Semerák, M.A., Ph.D.
Annotation -
Last update: Ing. Vilém Semerák, M.A., Ph.D. (21.02.2024)
The class aims to provide students with a basic introduction into the “international political economy” (IPE) field. The course is based on the active participation of students who are required to read compulsory literature for each class and debate the papers. The course is using two streams of literature: academic literature (papers and textbooks) and topical articles/papers covering current policy issues (e.g. The Economist or Foreign Affairs). The goal of this approach to literature is to use IPE research as guidance in real-world policy debates that help us understand actual (and often opposing) positions of policymakers.

The main “applied” or policy focus of the course is on the debates associated with recent changes in the global economy, attitudes of main actors (USA, China, BREXIT-influenced EU) and possible causes of the changes. We will try to understand the economic dimensions of current global trends and their possible implications for the future of global economic governance.

Within the broad scope of traditional IPE topics we are going to focus more on issues closer to traditional economics, and rational choices approaches, i.e. the course is focused more on concepts and models, rather than on memorising institutional details of current or previous global economic affairs. In line with the focus of current global affairs and with the specialisation of the lecturers, we will primarily focus on issues linked with international trade and globalization.

Note: The course will only be taught in the traditional (on-site) form during the Spring 2023/2024, it will not be streamed or recorded.
Aim of the course -
Last update: Mgr. Michal Paulus (25.01.2021)

After passing this course, the students should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. How does the IPE differ from international trade/finance, from traditional economics or from geopolitics?

  2. How has the global trade framework based on GATT/WTO come into existence? Is it the only possible configuration of global trade relations?

  3. How has the relationship between states, influential companies (multinationals, national champions) developed during the last decades? Who has the actual power?

  4. Why do (at least some) countries care about which currency plays the role of the main global currency?

  5. What were the causes of the 2008/09 financial crisis and how has it transformed the global economic environment?

  6. How can the Chinese “One Belt, One Road” initiative transform the global economic landscape?

Course completion requirements -
Last update: Ing. Vilém Semerák, M.A., Ph.D. (21.02.2024)

Each student is expected to write the final exam and to actively participate in two group assignments. The final grade thus consists of four components with the following maximum numbers of points:


Maximum amount of points

Final Exam




Group Assignment I


Group Assignment II


Group Assignment III


Bonus Points


The final grade will be determined by the sum of all points which the student has gained throughout the semester according to the usual scale:    A = 100- 91, B = 90-81, C = 80-71, D = 70-61, E = 60-51, F = 50-0

Literature -
Last update: Mgr. Michal Paulus (25.01.2021)

Each lecture will be linked with several two types of literature: compulsory and supplementary sources. There are two main textbooks which provide wider and traditional coverage of topics typical for the IPE.

  • Broome A. (2014) Issues and Actors in the Global Political Economy. Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Ravenhill J. (2014 or 2017) Global Political Economy. Oxford University Press

Alternatively, you can also try:  Oatley A. (2016) International Political Economy

Reading the whole textbooks is not mandatory (if not otherwise explicitly stated), in fact, given relatively limited space and the plethora of IPE perspectives we will not be covering all the included topics/approaches in detail. However, the lectures are always reflecting specific textbook chapters and having access to the textbooks will be useful. Therefore, they are the main source for a better understanding of the lectures and debated topics.

Another good source of interesting papers (introductory but also advanced) is:

  • Weingast, B. R. and Wittman, D. (2008). The Oxford handbook of political economy. Oxford University Press.

If you are interested in the history of global economic relations (and if you want to get some insight into these topics) in a rather readable form, we can recommend the following texts:

  • Bernstein, W.J. (2008). A Splendid Exchange – How Trade Shaped the World. Atlantic Monthly Press, New York

  • Frankopan P. (2015) The Silk Roads – A New History of the World. Bloomsbury

If you want to get an interesting insight into the geopolitical level of related arguments, we recommend:

  • Marshall, T. (2016): Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World

These three texts are not compulsory, but individual chapters may be assigned as reading for assignments/debates. 

We would also like to encourage you to read sources such as Foreign Affairs journal for an up-to-date introduction to current debates in international relations and IPE.

Syllabus -
Last update: Ing. Vilém Semerák, M.A., Ph.D. (16.02.2023)

Topics of the Lectures/Discussions:

1)   Introduction to IPE: Theoretical Perspectives, Main Actors and Short History of Global Economy

The first lecture represents a brief introduction into the IPE discipline. We cover the main theoretical approaches to IPE, the position of IPE within social sciences and main actors that are discussed within the discipline. The lecture will also cover a brief summary of the historical development of the global economy.

2)  Actors and Their Interaction: Game Theory and Other Approaches to IPE

This lecture continues the introduction to the IPE, it provides the students also with an overview of the use of game theory and selected other methods in the IPE.

3) Cooperation and Conflicts, New x Old Superpowers

We focus on the literature investigating the reasons behind cooperation and conflicts between actors. Establishment of international institutions (and organizations) as a potential solution of conflicting interests will be investigated. The lecture will also debate the economic effects of sanctions and investigate the hypothesis that mutual trade is a “peace promoter” between conflicting states. In the area of current policy issues, we will focus on the attempts of China to revise international institutional order based on Bretton Wood. We will be also discussing historical examples of similar conflicts (ranging from the popular concept of Thucydides Trap-like interpretation of Peloponnesian Wars to e.g. Europe and the Middle East in the second half of 19th century) and compare them with the current situation in global economy.

Current policy debates: China and international institutional order. Thucydide's trap.

4)   World Trade System, International Trade Cooperation

The lecture will primarily investigate the rationale behind the contemporary trend of trade protectionism (probably most visible proponent is the current US President Donald Trump). We will cover the main arguments in favour of trade liberalization and also protectionism. Special attention will be devoted to the arguments of D. Rodrick. In the policy area, we will discuss the recent increase in the role of economic nationalism and protectionism.

5)   Trade Regimes and Regional Cooperation, PTAs and RTAs

The lecture is devoted to the political economy of the trade regime. We will investigate the economic reasons behind the free trade and track the historical development of the international trade regime (from GATT to WTO). The class will compare the international regime (WTO) to the approach based on conclusions of bilateral or regional trade agreements (RTA). We will discuss economic effects of both positions. In policy debates, we will discuss also the TTIP and domestic limits of the RTAs.

 6)   International Monetary Relations

Guest lecture.

 7)   The Political Economy of Financial Crises and Global Imbalances

The class will focus on the IPE research about financial crises. The policy part of the lecture will mainly focus on the debates about the financial crisis in US in 2008 and introduce explanations stemming from “economics” and “IPE” literature. The particular focus will be on the impact of so called “ideational change”.

Current policy debates: Financial crisis in the US (2008), global imbalances

 8)   Political Economy of Development

The lecture will focus on the economic theory of development elaborated by D. Acemoglu. We will debate the role of institutions and also the effectiveness of foreign aid. We will also touch the differences in approaches to foreign aid of China and EU while the foreign aid policies will be related to the work of D. Acemoglu.

 9)   Corruption in International Economy: Its Regulation and Natural Resource Curse

The lecture debates two main topics: a) corruption in international transactions and its regulation and b) natural resource curse and its relation to corruption and governance quality. We focus on efficiency of anti-corruption laws against bribery abroad and debate actual intentions of contemporary US government to partially repeal one of the “anti-corruption” acts. We cover the impacts of natural resource abundance on governance indicators while also debating the position of oil countries in Middle East.

 10)   Globalization – Power of States and Multinationals

The lecture covers debates about the impact of globalization on national states. We will analyze the main critical thesis of “hyperglobalization” and relate the debate to the recent elections in US and Brexit referendum.

Current debates: Brexit referendum and US elections.

 11)   The Political Economy of International Migration

The lecture debates the economic impacts of immigration with a focus on the US situation. We summarize the main academic findings related to the economic impacts of immigration. Scholars also relate the migration to trade policies and offer international coordination as a possible solution of future migration policies. As the policy topic, we will discuss the anti-immigration policy of D. Trump.


A more detailed breakdown of the syllabus (with details concerning the reading and assignments) is provided on the moodle site and in the downloadable text document.

Entry requirements -
Last update: Ing. Vilém Semerák, M.A., Ph.D. (24.10.2019)

There are no specific pre-requisites for this course.

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