Emily Skarbek

This undergraduate module studies the development of key ideas in political economy from our geographic perspective --- the heart of London. It contextualizes some of the most prominent historical thinkers, traces important debates (such as on slavery and women's rights), and engages with local archives, key physical locations, and other public resources. No other city in the world is better suited to contextualize the history of political economy. The module is both lecture-based and also walking tours, visits to historical sites, access to archives not available to the public, and select museum visits. 

The History of Political Economy

Understanding Institutions & Economic Development

We begin this graduate module by returning to the roots of constitutional political economy. The module then surveys the field's development by leading economists and political scientists through the late 20th century. It engages briefly with the philosophical basis for a constitutional approach to understanding social rules, but the majority of the class considers conceptual and analytical contributions to the field. Much of the discussion focuses on the work of James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, F.A. Hayek, and Elinor and Vincent Ostrom. 

How do institutions affect economic development? This graduate module brings students into the contemporary debate about the function and importance of institutions. It begins by contextualizing institutions in the setting of economic calculation under communism. From there, we consider problems of political transition, the role of policy, outside aid and assistance, questions of measurement, long-term institutional evolution, and weak and failed states. Readings include seminal articles in the field as well as important, recent contributions. 

Constitutional Political Economy