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Public Policy and Globalisation

This course will introduce public policy and globalisation in such a way that it will enable participants to understand how to approach a wide range of important global political and economic policy problems and participate in public policy debates on the crucial issues facing the world

In addition to lectures and seminars covering key aspects of public policy and globalisation, the course will feature a series of talks from former leading politicians, policymakers, advisors, central bankers and civil servants on applied topics raised in the course. Guest speakers will include the Chief Economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane; former Cabinet Minister Rt. Hon Ruth Kelly; and the former Chief Economist at Lloyds Bank Trevor Williams amongst others.

The course also includes field trips to the Bank of England and the Houses of Parliament.

This course will be taught at an intermediate level. Prior study of economics is not a pre-requisite for this course. The course is suitable for anyone who is studying or has studied Politics, Political Economy, International Relations, Public Policy, Sociology, Law or Mathematics/Statistics at undergraduate level. The course is also relevant to public policy practitioners from government or industry and the course team is happy to discuss any inquiries as to whether your specific background is suitable.

This course will apply economic principles to public policy and globalisation. Underlying the course will be the presentation of a set of approaches to economics that will enable participants to take part in debates about public policy and globalisation, including current issues such as Brexit, challenges to the world trading system, humanitarian questions and international regulation of areas such as finance. During the course, a series of current public policy and public finance issues will also be examined by practitioners.

As well as providing the necessary multidisciplinary theoretical background and its application to public policy problems in the context of globalisation, a range of specific policy issues will be discussed, many of them by public policy practitioners including leading politicians, policymakers, advisors, central bankers and civil servants.

Course Aims

The course aims to apply economic principles to public policy making in the context of globalisation. The course will use a framework based on wider assumptions than those that underpin the traditional way of thinking about such matters in undergraduate economics and other social sciences courses and will focus on applications and current policy issues. After taking the course, students will understand public policy and the phenomenon of globalisation from a wide range of perspectives. The approaches used will include public choice economics, Austrian economics, behavioural economics and institutional economics, disciplines for which a number of Nobel Prizes have been won over the last 30 years, especially for practical applications, but which are not always widely covered in traditional courses.


This course is designed and taught by Philip Booth and Andre Alves. Philip Booth is Professor of Finance, Public Policy and Ethics at St Mary's University and former Academic and Research Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs. Andre Alves is Research Director at the Institute for Political Studies of the Catholic University of Portugal and Reader in Economics, Political Economy, and Public Policy at St Mary’s University.

The topics to be covered include:

  • Brexit, trade and globalisation
  • Theory and general principles: market failure and government failure
  • Interest groups and public policy - the economics of rent seeking
  • Theories of institutional change and economic development
  • Foreign aid and economic development
  • Behavioural economics and public policy
  • Application of institutional and public choice economics to international institutions such as the EU and the UN
  • Overview of public finance, levels of public spending and functions on which governments spend money at different stages of development
  • Globalisation, trade and inequality
  • Global finance and financial regulation
  • Debates about fiscal policy, monetary policy and central banking (visit to the Bank of England).

The course will include various case studies taken from the list of topics below:

  • Minimum wages and international labour market regulation
  • The growth of Asian countries and the role of government intervention
  • Externalities and ‘sin’ taxes
  • The economics of prisons
  • The financial crisis
  • Institutions, foreign aid and development
  • Modern slavery and migration
  • The history of globalisation
  • Institutions and the preservation of the environment
  • Healthcare and education – public policy and 'market failure'
  • Investment, research and development

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the application of neo-classical market failure models to public policy problems and the difficulties with such models
  • Understand how economics problems are resolved in theory through political systems
  • A knowledge of the importance of institutions for economic growth
  • A knowledge of the importance of entrepreneurship and its relationship with public policy
  • An understanding of the application of theory to the analysis of specific public policy problems
  • An understanding of the phenomenon of globalisation and the challenges to which it leads in both developed and less developed countries
  • An understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of global institutions
  • A knowledge of the development of trade, prosperity and inequality over the last 30 years
  • An understanding of how the political system can work in practice to subvert the implementation of good economic policy
  • An understanding of the functions of government, government spending and revenue raising.

Course structure

For this course, there will be an average of about 4 hours of teaching per day, comprised mainly of lectures and presentations based on case studies and applications to contemporary public policy problems. The structure will be:

  • 20-25 hours of lectures
  • 10-15 hours of presentations on case studies by current and former leading public policy practitioners
  • 5-8 hours of seminars in small groups
  • Two off-site visits relevant to the course (expected to be Houses of Parliament and Bank of England).

Students will also be given time each day for independent study. Towards the end of the third week, students will be provided with specific sessions and time for revision.

Course Assessment

Students will be allocated to small groups. Each group will prepare a 10 minute video or give a 10 minute presentation on a particular public policy topic towards the end of the course. The module will be assessed via the 10 minute video or presentation (worth 30% of the total mark) and a 2-hour examination (worth 70% of the total mark). It is not compulsory, but anyone wishing to obtain a transcript of results for the Warwick Summer School must sit this examination.

Course Reading list

Entry Requirements

This course is open to students who are studying or have previously studied any of the following disciplines: Economics, Politics, Political Economy, International Relations, Public Policy, Sociology, Law or Mathematics/Statistics at University level. This course is also relevant to public policy practitioners from government or industry and the course team is happy to discuss any inquiries as to whether your specific background is suitable. Students should also meet our standard entry requirements and must be aged 18 or over by the time the Summer School commences and have a good understanding of the English language.

Please note the details of the course content may be subject to change