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The University of Southampton

PAIR3058 Political Economy

Module Overview

This module introduces topics at the intersection between politics and economics. It exposes students to substantive issues in political economy, such as the comparative analysis of different electoral systems, distributive justice, the moral limits of markets, democracy and corruption. It equips them with various tools to analyse a given economic/political/social problem, from political competition models to applied ethics. The module also emphasises policy applications to real-world problems, with in-depth analysis of several case studies afflicting modern societies.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Political institutions, and the organisation and exercise of power and governance.
  • The application of political concepts, theories and methods.
  • Different interpretations of political issues and events.
  • Central concepts and arguments in both microeconomics and macroeconomics
  • Applications of economics in a variety of settings, including the analysis of economic policy.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify, investigate, analyse and advocate solutions to problems
  • Develop reasoned argument, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Communicate ideas and arguments in a variety of written formats
  • Communicate ideas and arguments orally and in the context of formal presentations
  • Work independently demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management
  • Identify, select and draw upon a range of sources of printed, electronic and other material as a means to the development and presentation of arguments and evidence.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify issues for political and economic inquiry.
  • Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of sources.


This module will use tools from economics, political science, and moral philosophy to analyse a set of substantive issues in political economy. Students will first study theoretical foundations to perform both positive and normative analysis. The remaining lectures will cover a set of topics on political economy. For some of these topics, a policy issue will be discussed on “deliberation seminars”, in which students will analyse and deliberate about a real-world problem and experience in first-hand different types of democratic processes and voting systems.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and seminars. The incorporation of “deliberation seminars” is innovative and provides "hands-on" training to the students in a way that complements the instruction of theoretical notions.

Independent Study120
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Robinson, J. A., and Acemoglu, D (2012). Why nations fail: the origins of power, prosperity and poverty. 

Rose-ackerman, S., and Palifka, B. J (2016). Corruption and government: Causes, consequences, and reform. 

Roemer, J. E (2001). Political Competition. 

Grossman, G. M., and Helpman, E (2002). Special Interest Politics. 

Persson, T., and Tabellini, G (2016). Political Economics. 

Hausman, D., McPherson, M and Satz, D (2016). Economic Analysis, Moral Philosophy, and Public Policy. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 45%
Exam  (1 hours) 45%
Seminar Participation 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (1 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (1 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-Requisites: ECON1001 or ECON1003


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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