International Political Economy

Period of duration of course
Course info
Number of course hours
Number of hours of lecturers of reference
Number of hours of supplementary teaching

Modalità esame

Written and oral exam


Optional for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of the PhD Programme in "Political Science and Sociology"

Optional for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of the PhD Programme in "Transnational Governance"

Optional for the 4th and 5th year students of the MA Programme in "Political and Social Sciences"


The course provides the conceptual and analytical tools of International Political Economy, addressing the nature of capitalism and the relationships with the State system and international institutions.

Views of the international political economy and the world system will be assessed. Key economic processes, institutional settings and policies that will be addressed include production, technology, trade, labour. The international order of finance, money and exchange rates will be examined. The relationships with growth models, inequality and democratic politics will be explored.

The trajectory of Neoliberal capitalism is addressed, exploring its relationships with markets, the State and political power.

The war in Ukraine has brought new attention to the role of military power in international relations, with a need to investigate the relationships between States, war, capitalism, the international order and the prospects for peace.

Finally, the emergence of conflicts over globalisation, labour, inequality, the environment and democracy highlights the contested nature of the international order.

Obiettivi formativi

Teaching goals

Provide students with the conceptual, analytical, empirical and policy tools needed to understand International Political Economy.


Course format

Lectures will provide the basic concepts and analytical tools.

Students are asked to read the course material and participate in the discussion.



PhD and Master students taking the exam are asked to write a paper – of about 3,000 words - on a course topic. Topics may bridge the background and interests of students with the themes of the course. Exam papers should be highly focused, with a strong logical structure, and may address or combine theory, ideas, empirical evidence and policy issues. Master students can be allowed to write their paper in Italian.




Session N. 1 Capitalism, international political economy and the world system

11th January 2024, 10am-1pm 

Required readings

A. Smith, The wealth of nations, Penguins books, 1974, book I, ch.1-2.

R. Gilpin, Global political economy. Understanding the international economic order, Princeton University Press, 2001, ch.1,2,4

G. Arrighi, The long XX century. Money, power and the origins of our time, Verso, 2nd edn 2010, Introduction, ch.1, Epilogue


Session N. 2. Production, technology, trade, labour

12th January 2024, 10am-1pm

Required readings

J. Stiglitz, Making globalization work, Norton, 2006, Ch.1,3,10

W. Milberg, D. Winkler, Outsourcing Economics: Global Value Chains in Capitalist Development, Cambridge University Press, 2013, ch.1,8.

R. Freeman, Are your wages set in Beijing? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 9, 3, 1995, pp. 15-31.

B. Selwyn, The grapes of wrath: social upgrading and class struggles in global value chains, in K. van der Pijl, Handbook of the International Political Economy of Production, Elgar, 2016, pp.98-114.


Session N. 3. Finance, money, exchange rates

16th January 2024, 10am-1pm

Required readings

R. Gilpin, Global political economy. Understanding the international economic order, Princeton University Press, 2001, ch.9,10

B. Eichengreen, Hegemonic stability theories of the international monetary system, in Elusive Stability Essays in the History of International Finance, 1919–1939, Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 271-311

J. Frieden, The Governance of International Finance, Annual Review of Political Science, 2016. 19:33–48


Session N. 4. Growth models, inequality, democratic politics

17th  January 2024, 10am-1pm

Required readings

L. Baccaro, M. Blyth, J. Pontusson (eds) Diminishing returns. The new politics of growth and stagnation. Oxford University Press, 2022, Introduction.

T. Iversen, D. Soskice, Democracy and prosperity. Reinventing capitalism through a turbulent century, Princeton University Press, 2019, Introduction, ch.5,6

T. Piketty, Capital and Ideology, Harvard University Press, 2020, ch. 15. Brahmin Left: New Euro-American Cleavages

F. Bloise, D. Chironi, D. della Porta, M. Pianta, Inequality and Elections in Italy, 1994–2018. Italian Economic Journal, 2023,


Session N. 5. The age of Neoliberalism

24th January 2024, 10am-1pm

Required readings

D. Harvey, A brief history of neoliberalism, Oxford University Press, 2005, Introduction, Ch.1,3,6.

J. Levy, Ages of American Capitalism. A history of the United States, Random House, 2021, Book Four: Preface, ch. 22, Afterword


Session N. 6. The political economy of war and peace

25th January 2024, 10am-1pm

Required readings

J.M. Keynes, The economic consequences of the peace, Macmillan, 1919

M. Kaldor, The baroque arsenal, Abacus, 1982, Introdution, ch.1, 6, Conclusions

E.P. Thompson, Notes on exterminism, the last stage of civilisation, in Exterminism and cold war, Verso, 1982


Session N. 7. Policies and conflicts over labour, welfare, inequalities

7th February 2024, 3-5pm with the participation of Yuri Kazepov, Ciampi Visiting Scholar and University of Vienna

Required readings

B. Silver, Forces of Labor. Workers' Movements and Globalization Since 1870, Cambridge University Press, 2003, Introduction and Chapter 5.

R. Cucca, Y. Kazepov, M. Villa, Towards a Sustainable Welfare System? The Challenges and Scenarios of Eco-social Transitions, Social Policies, 1, 2023


Background texts on economics include

The Core team, The economy. Economics for a changing world, Oxford University Press, 2017

free download at

Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: the user’s guide, Pelican, 2014