Comparative Political Economy

This course aims at providing the tools for political understanding of social and economic policy and outcomes in advanced capitalist democracies. The issue of why different countries have in place different social and economic institutions and implement different social and economic policies is addressed looking at political variables. The relationship between states and markets is at the core of the course. In the first two modules the basic literature on comparative political economy will be reviewed, looking at topics such as the role of interests, of ideas and of different types of political institutions in explaining social and economic policies and economic perfomance, the relevance of collective actors, varieties of democratic capitalism and their different consequences on societal outcomes such as inequality and poverty. The last two modules will deal with the political economy of the Great Recession and of the Eurozone crisis, looking at their political and institutional roots, comparing them with the experience of previous crises in Latin America and East Asia. They address key concepts such as neoliberalism and austerity, and look at the consequences of structural reforms in social protection and labour markets.

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