Political Economy of International Development

Module code: PL7597

Module co-ordinator: Dr Mark Langan

In this module you will study competing theoretical perspectives in International Political Economy and explore how they relate to the question of global inequalities and the North-South divide. We will then apply theoretical insights to thematic issues in the political economy of development, particularly the political economy of trade including the multilateral WTO Doha Round negotiations, as well as bilateral agreements such as those pursued by the EU in Africa.

We will examine the political economy of aid, particularly in terms of Aid for Trade and Government-to-Government budget support. We will also investigate the political economy of the environment in developing states, focusing on eco-tourism and raw material extraction, and examine the position of women workers within North-South global value chains. In considering the political economy of corruption and fragility in developing states, we will discuss key concepts such as the resource curse and the rentier state. You will gain an insight into major paradigms within International Political Economy, as well as the analytical ability to apply these insights to empirical realities surrounding international development.

Topics covered

  • Liberalism and modernisation theory
  • Marxism and dependency theory
  • Social constructivist perspectives
  • Neo-liberalism and the Washington Consensus
  • The human capabilities approach of Amartya Sen


This module is studied by distance learning. 

Teaching will be delivered through Blackboard, the University’s virtual learning environment, including online presentations, podcasts, interactive message boards and Wikis, as well as one-to-one contact through conventional channels.


  • Journal article analysis (20%)
  • Essay (80%)