Political Economy

The details
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
29 January 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module is designed as an introduction to Political Economy. Modern Political Economy should not be confused with the classical sense of Political Economy: a broad and overreaching approach to study society.

Although Modern Political Economy has focused on how the political processes affects the selection of economic policies, lately it has been more concerned with understanding how institutions affect economic performance. Because of the recent interest in economic performance the boundaries of Political Economy are more blurry and it can be seen as part of a course in Development.

Module aims

The aim of the module is to introduce the student with the application of economic methods to understand political phenomena that impacts the choice of different economic policies.

The student will use this approach to explore meaningful questions such as: What is the driving force behind societies choosing different taxation schemes and level of redistribution? What are the sources for the different retirement benefits that we see in different societies? What drives the selection of politician in societies? Does this selection impact the choice of policies?

Module learning outcomes

As outcomes of the module, the student will reinforce the skills of mathematical problem solving and information gathering as background reading. These skills will result from exploring not only abstract topics like social choice but also applied topics such as the influence of lobbies in policymaking.

Module information

Feedback for this module will occur through class meetings where we will go over the answers to problem sets and where you will be able to ask questions about your own method of solution; answers that will be posted on the website for the module that will give you written guidance on the appropriate method to approach the problems, assignments, and tests: and office hours where any additional questions can be addressed. You should be sure that you use these methods to understand how to improve your own performance.

Learning and teaching methods

One 2 hour lecture per week and one 2 hour class every other week


  • Torsten Persson; Guido Enrico Tabellini. (2000) Political economics: explaining economic policy, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. vol. Zeuthen lecture book series

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Assignment     
Exam  120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Elke Weidenholzer, email:
Elke Weidenholzer
For further information, send a message to



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 29 hours, 29 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.