The Political Economy of International Trade and Finance

IPE 205: The Political Economy of International Trade and Finance

Spring 2017

Instructor: Pierre Ly

Office:  McIntyre 304                                                                       

Phone: (253) 879 3584                                                                                 


Office hours: Announced each week, scheduled at different times to reach more students

Course Description

This course trains students in the modern International Political Economy analysis of the battle between the winners and losers of economic globalization. The first part of the course focuses on political economy approaches to international trade issues, including discussions of trade policy in rich and poor countries, the role of government in assisting displaced workers, the regulation of labor standards and the politics of multinational corporations. The second part of the course provides students with a well-rounded understanding of the political, economic and social aspects of the international financial system and financial crises. This includes political economy analyses of important recent events such as the European debt crisis.

Prerequisites: Introduction to International Political Economy (IPE201) OR Contemporary Economics (ECON170).


Free Trade Under Fire, by Doug Irwin (4th edition)

The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008, by Paul Krugman

The Euro Crisis and Its Aftermath, by Jean Pisani-Ferry

Click here for the course schedule online, including readings and questions

Guidelines and expectations for research papers

Submit all assignments on Moodle

Daily reading assignment: reading notes must be submitted on Moodle before class to count as a pass.

Why reading notes?

Most importantly, it ensures that on any given day, the vast majority of students will have good preparation for class discussion. Informal notes/short answers are OK.

Similar (though not necessary exactly the same) questions will appear on quizzes as multiple choice questions.

Reading notes are graded on a pass/fail basis. It is OK if your answers are not completely correct, we will go over them in class. Just submit something to show you have done the reading and you pass. If you fail to submit at all, you know that you have failed for that day. If you have submitted something and don’t hear from me, it means you pass, which should be the case most of the time. If you submit something insufficient, you fail and I will tell you by email. You can miss two at no penalty over the semester.

Study questions are provided as a guide, but you do not have to follow them strictly. You can answer half the questions and add your own thoughts; or even ignore the questions and structure your thoughts on the reading completely independently. Just do something to prepare for the day.


There is no final exam. There will be four in class exams, and two major research papers (one on international trade, and one on international finance).

Your final grade is determined as follows:

Reading notes/participation       10%

Trade Quiz 1                                   5%

Trade Quiz 2                                   10%

Trade paper                                    30%

Finance Quiz 1                                5%

Finance Quiz 2                                10%

Finance paper                                30%

Length for research-based papers: 2000 words max, excluding bibliography.

Each research paper makes you think about the course material for the purpose of constructing a well-informed argument. Paper guidelines and expectations are posted on Moodle. You should meet with me individually as many times as you need to discuss your progress.

Policies regarding paper deadlines

Late submissions will be penalized at the rate of .5 gpa point for every 12 hours passed the official deadline. Example: for the first late 12 hour period, an A minus quality work, 3.67/4, becomes 3.67 -.5=3.17. Another 12 hours and the grade becomes a 2.67, etc.

You will be given ample time to work on each assignment, so extensions will generally not be granted.

Important dates

Tue Feb 7: Trade quiz 1

Thu Mar 2: Trade quiz 2

Thu Mar 9: Trade research paper due on Moodle by 23:59pm

Tue Apr 11: Finance quiz 1

Tue May 2: Finance quiz 2

Tue May 9: Finance research paper due by 10am (official end of the scheduled final exam)

Academic honesty

University academic policy makes plagiarism a serious offense.  Plagiarism of any kind, including resubmission of old papers, papers used in other current courses, or papers written by somebody else will result in the student failing the assignment, and possibly the entire course.  If you are unsure about proper referencing, or what may or may not constitute plagiarism, please ask me before you hand in any assignments.  You may discuss your homework assignments with classmates, however, the work you turn in should be written up independently. You may also collaborate in studying or preparing for the exams, but the written exam should be your work alone. Any cheating on examinations or plagiarism in assignments will be reported to the Dean of Students.  For further information, please consult the “Academic Honesty” section of the University of Puget Sound Academic Handbook.

Classroom Emergency Response Guidance

Please review university emergency preparedness and response procedures posted at  There is a link on the university home page. Familiarize yourself with hall exit doors and the designated gathering area for your class and laboratory buildings.

If building evacuation becomes necessary (e.g. earthquake), meet your instructor at the designated gathering area so she/he can account for your presence.  Then wait for further instructions.  Do not return to the building or classroom until advised by a university emergency response representative.

If confronted by an act of violence, be prepared to make quick decisions to protect your safety.  Flee the area by running away from the source of danger if you can safely do so.  If this is not possible, shelter in place by securing classroom or lab doors and windows, closing blinds, and turning off room lights.  Stay low, away from doors and windows, and as close to the interior hallway walls as possible.  Wait for further instructions.

Disability services at Puget Sound

If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Peggy Perno, Director of Disability Services, 105 Howarth Hall, 253-879-3395. She will determine with you what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential.

Student Bereavement Policy

“Upon approval from the Dean of Students’ Office, students who experience a death in the family, including parent, grandparent, sibling, or persons living in the same household, are allowed three consecutive weekdays of excused absences, as negotiated with the Dean of Students’. For more information, please see the Academic Handbook.”