SOAS University of London

Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy

International Economics

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2022/2023
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Full Year

Covid-19 is not only having severe consequences on health systems worldwide. The pandemic and the lockdown measures implemented by governments to slow down the spread of the virus has also led to fundamental changes in global economic organisation. Ruptures to global supply chains, a drop in demand, and a fall in production has created challenges for businesses and governments across the globe, while the fall in employment has had detrimental impacts for many households. While the rise of nationalist leaders employing protectionist economic policies already questioned some of the dynamics of globalisation, the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the fragilities and highlighted the limitations of our globalised system of economic organisation.
Looking through the prism of political economy approaches, the core theme of this module is the understanding of globalisation, its advantages and limitations. Theories of political economy seek to define and study systematic relationships between economic and political processes. "Globalisation" is a much disputed catch-word to describe a gradual internationalisation or universalisation of social relations in general, including economic, political, cultural, ethical, geographical and organisational phenomena.
This module seeks to examine and discuss the main economic features of this process as they can, at present, be discerned, and to place these within a broader historical as well as theoretical context.

Central issues include:

• What are the advantages and disadvantages of free trade? Who gains and who loses?
• Is financial liberalisation working? How can recent financial crises be explained?
• Does globalisation make it more or less difficult for developing nations to catch up?
• What are the implications of globalisation for international labour mobility and wage structures?
• Does the world economy require a new international regulatory framework? If so, what should this look like?
• What are the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on global value chains, production and consumption?

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

  • An understanding of how macroeconomists analyse growth performance, trade relations and financial relations.
  • A basic knowledge and understanding of the economic forces and interests that interact in shaping the world economy.
  • A basic knowledge and understanding of the current international institutional setting governing the world economy, its history, shortcomings and potential.
  • An understanding of the policy issues arising from recent developments in the world economy.
  • The tools necessary to develop a critical perspective on the impact of globalisation in different parts of the world.
  • An informed view of what institutional changes and policy tools may be required to govern the world economy in the future.


The module will be taught over 20 weeks with one 1 hour lecture and one 1 hour tutorial per week.

Method of assessment

  • Assignment 1: Essay 20%
  • Assignment 2: Essay 30%
  • Unseen written examination: 50%

Suggested reading


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