International Economics

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level

Module overview

The main objective of this module is to provide students of differing academic backgrounds with a basic understanding of the theory of international economics.

This course takes account of the division within the economics discipline. It presents students with both, the ‘mainstream’ and the ‘political economy’ or ‘heterodox’ view of international economic relations, explaining their roots in the history of thought and their relevance to current thinking on international economic relations.

The course sets out with a few basic lectures on the thinking of prominent economists on two fundamental aspects of economic interaction: Economic exchanges at one point in time (markets), and production relations over time (economic growth). The remainder of the course will be dedicated to a discussion on how economists construe international economic relations, in terms of trade in goods and services, and in terms of international financial transactions.

Students will be introduced to the main tenets of standard international trade and monetary theory, as well as to critical perspectives on these approaches.

Objectives and learning outcomes

  • An in-depth knowledge and understanding of the economic forces and interests that interact in shaping the world economy.
  • A detailed knowledge and understanding of the current international institutional setting governing the world economy, its history, shortcomings and potential.
  • A solid understanding of how macroeconomists analyse growth performance, trade relations and financial relations.


The module will be taught over 10 weeks:

  • 1 hour lecture per week.
  • 1 hour tutorial per week.

Method of assessment

  • Assignment 1: 50%
  • Written examination: 50%

Suggested reading

  • Stiglitz, J. E. (1991), The Invisible Hand and Modern Welfare Economics, Working Paper number 3641, NBER Working Paper series. Only pages 3 to 12 need to be read for the lecture
  • Heilbroner, R. and L. Thurow (1998), Economics Explained, revised and updated edition, Touchstone. New York, ch 13 File
  • Lindblom, C.E. (2002), The Market System, Yale University Press: New Haven and London, chs. 3 and 9-10. Available as an ebook via ebrary.
  • Hirschman (2013): The Essential Hirschman, Chapter 2 Political Economics and Possibilism. Link to eBook via SOAS Library.
  • Stiglitz, JE (1989), "Markets, Market Failures, and Development", The American Economic Review, Vol. 79, No. 2, Papers and Proceedings of the Hundred and First Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May, 1989), pp. 197-203


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.