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Politics and Globalisation

Please note, this course is no longer available for 2021.

You can find an alternative option on our Courses page.

This course will introduce politics 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 today

In addition to lectures and seminars covering key aspects of politics 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. For example, guest speakers on last year’s course included 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. 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. It is suitable for anyone who is studying or has studied Politics, Economics, Political Economy, PPE, International Relations, Public Policy, Sociology, Law or related subjects 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.

The course allowed me to broaden my academic perspective and had a range of amazing guest speakers. I recommend the program to anyone who wants to stimulate their academic curiosity while becoming immersed in London culture.

Mike Seitz (USA)

Key Facts

Level: Intermediate

Fees: Please see fees page

Teaching: 62 hours

Expected independent study: 68 hours

Optional assessment: Dependant on course

Typical credit: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)*
* Please check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, please see our Teaching and assessment page


Course Aims

The course aims to apply a range of interdisciplinary approaches with an emphasis on the application of economic principles to politics and 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 the economics, politics and public policy implications of 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 Andre Alves, Syed Kamall and Philip Booth. 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. Syed Kamall is Professor of Politics and International Relations at St Mary's University - from May 2005 to June 2019, he was a Member of the European Parliament for London and as the most senior elected British MEP, acted as an interlocutor between UK and EU negotiators. 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 course will apply a range of interdisciplinary approaches with an emphasis on the application of economic principles to the analysis of politics 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 politics and globalisation, including current public policy issues such as global governance, challenges to the world trading system, the likely effects of Brexit, humanitarian questions and international regulation of areas such as finance. As well as providing the necessary multidisciplinary theoretical background and its application to political and public policy problems in the context of globalisation, a range of specific policy issues will be discussed, many of them by practitioners including leading politicians, policymakers, advisors, central bankers and civil servants

The topics to be covered include:

  • Global governance
  • The history of globalisation
  • 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
  • Institutions, foreign aid and development
  • Behavioural economics and public policy
  • Overview of public finance, levels of public spending and functions on which governments spend money at different stages of development
  • Globalisation, trade and inequality
  • The financial crisis
  • Global finance and financial regulation
  • Debates about fiscal policy, monetary policy and central banking (visit to the Bank of England).
  • Minimum wages and international labour market regulation
  • The growth of Asian countries and the role of government intervention
  • Modern slavery and migration
  • Institutions and the preservation of the environment
  • Healthcare and education – public policy and 'market failure'

Learning outcomes

  • A knowledge of key aspects in the history of globalization and of the contemporary reality of global governance
  • 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 the application of neo-classical market failure models to public policy problems and the difficulties with such models
  • A knowledge of the importance of institutions for economic growth and development
  • A knowledge of the importance of entrepreneurship and its relationship with politics and public policy
  • An understanding of the application of theory to the analysis of specific public policy problems
  • An understanding of how the political system can work in practice to subvert the implementation of good economic policy

Course structure

For this course, there will be an average of about 4 hours of teaching on most weekdays, 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). The examination is not compulsory, but anyone wishing to obtain a transcript of results for the Warwick Summer School must sit this examination. We encourage everybody to prepare the video or presentation, even if they do not wish to be assessed, but those who do not wish to be assessed are free to opt out.

Course Reading list

These are some illustrative readings for this course:

    • Acemoglu, Daron and Robinson, James, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty. Profile Books, 2013.
    • Alves, André Azevedo and Meadowcroft, John, Hayek's slippery slope, the stability of the mixed economy and the dynamics of rent seeking, Political Studies 62 (4), 843-861, 2014.
    • Booth, Philip (ed.), Taxation, Government Spending and Economic Growth, especially chapters 2, 3, 9 and 10. Institute of Economic Affairs, 2016.
    • Buchanan, James R., The Constitution of Economic Policy, Nobel Prize Lecture, December 1986.
    • Irwin, Douglas A., Free Trade under Fire. Princeton University Press, 2015.
    • Ostrom, Elinor, Beyond Markets and States, Nobel Prize Lecture, December 2009.
    • Rodrik, Dani, The Trouble with Globalization, The Milken Institute Review, 2017.

    Additional reading recommendations will be provided during the course.

    Entry Requirements

    There are no prerequisites for this course. This course is open to students studying any discipline at University level. We welcome individuals from all backgrounds, including students who are currently studying another subject but who want to broaden their knowledge in another discipline. 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 changes to the syllabus and teaching team may be made over the coming months before exact set of topics are finalised.

    Take a look at our other related courses:

    International Development

    Go to all courses