SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Global Economic Policy

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Final Year
Taught in:
Term 1

This module is a Year 3 optional module for Economics Undergraduates. It aims at providing students with a thorough understanding of core economic policy challenges in the contemporary global economy, and to equip them with the theoretical and applied skills necessary to evaluate policy debates and challenges and contemplate policy solutions to such challenges. The course offers an overview over core economic policy issues in the global economy and ongoing theoretical as well as empirical debates about these. It places these debates into the wider historical context of the evolution of international economic policy and global economic governance. Emphasis will be on the following themes: the global financial crisis; global inequality, labour standards and welfare policies; global production and trade.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • Understand different economic policy tools and mechanisms and their impact on policy outcomes
  • Understand and differentiate between competing theoretical approaches to economic policy-making
  • Analyse and critically discuss core economic policy issues in the contemporary global economy, their history and current challenges
  • Understand core issues in the design, implementation and evaluation of economic policies, especially at the international level
  • Demonstrate and apply basic skills in problematising about economic policy problems, while designing potential solutions 


Two  hours of lectures and one hour of seminars each week.

Scope and syllabus

1. Global Financial Crisis: Monetary and Financial policy debates and current challenges at both the national and the global sphere. Fiscal policy after the GFC and austerity debates (3 lectures)

2. Global Inequality, labour and social provisioning in the global economy (3 lectures)

3. Global production and trade: production structures, capabilities, learning and technological change; global production networks, industrial policy (3 lectures) 

Method of assessment

Written Exam - 60% of total mark

Policy Report Outline - 10% of total mark

Policy Analysis Report - 30% of total  mark

Suggested reading

Core Reading:

1. Cohn, T.H. (2016) Global Political Economy, theory and practice, 7th ed., Routledge, London and New York

2. Crotty,  J. (2009).  Structural causes of the global financial crisis: A critical assessment of the ‘new financial architecture’. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 33(4):563–580

3. Blyth, M. (2013). Austerity: The history of a dangerous idea. Oxford University Press,New York

4.Best, M. 1990. The New Competition. Institutions of Industrial Restructuring. Polity Press.

5. Chang, H.J. 1996. The Political Economy of Industrial Policy. Macmillan.

6. Palma, G. (2014). Why is inequality so unequal across the world? Could it be that every nation gets the inequality it deserves? (mimeo, University of Cambridge, UK

7. Van Waeyenberge, E.and Bayliss, K. (2017) 'Unpacking the Public Private Partnership Revival'. Journal of Development Studies

8.  Ortiz, I. and Cummins, M.  (Eds), 2012. A Recovery for All: Rethinking Socio-Economic Policies for Children and Poor Households. UNICEF, New York. 2012

9.  Lavinas, L., 2017. The Takeover of Social Policy by Financialisation. Palgrave Macmillan.

10. Mkandawire, T., 2012. Transformative Social Policy and the Developmental State

Additional Reading:

Barrientos, A., Hulme, D., 2009. Social Protection for the Poor and Poorest in Developing Countries: Reflections on a Quiet Revolution. Oxf. Dev. Stud. 37, 439–456.

Chang, H., 2004. The Role of Social Policy in Economic Development: Some Theoretical Reflections and Lessons from East Asia, in: Social Policy in a Development Context, Social Policy in a Development Context. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 246–261.

Devereux, S., Solórzano, A., 2016. Broadening Social Protection Thinking. IDS Bull. 47.

Hickey, S., Seekings, J., 2017. The global politics of social protection. World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules