Program in Political Economy
The Department of Economics offers enrollment in the Program in Political Economy, which is open to Economics concentrators only and is jointly offered with the Department of Politics.
There is strong interaction between the fields of economics and politics, both in content and in methods. Political forces shape markets and other economic institutions. These forces attempt to modify the distribution of income, and both introduce distortions in markets and correct for market failures.
Economic motivations permeate the political environment and both fields model the motivations of individual actors and use statistical methods. The Program in Political Economy is for students who are interested in studying issues at the intersection of these two fields.
Applications for the Program in Political Economy can be submitted online.
Joining the Program in Political Economy
Admission to the program takes place in the beginning of the fall semester of junior year. A student who participates in this program is an Economics concentrator and is subject to all the requirements of the Economics Department. The program functions like a certificate in that its requirements are additions to those already required of all Economics concentrators. However, participation in the program does not appear on the student’s university transcript.
Before entering the program, participants must complete two Politics courses at any level other than POL 345 and POL 346. Program participants must meet all the general requirements of Economics concentrators.
Program in Political Economy course requirements
In addition to the two Politics pre-requisites, a student in the program must complete three Politics departmental electives, i.e. Politics courses in the 300-level or higher, on a graded basis. Starting with the class of 2022, POL 345 and POL 346 will no longer count as POL courses in the program, as they now can be used to cover the statistics prerequisite for the Economics major. Unless a course has been approved as an Economics cognate, Politics courses are not included in the student’s departmental average. One of the five POL courses, upon approval of the Political Economy Advisor, can be a politics-related course from a department other than Politics or Economics.
Because of these additional requirements, a student may want to count one or two of the Politics departmental electives as Economics cognates. Approval of cognates is subject to the same rules as for other Economics concentrators. Economics cognates are approved by the Executive Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Smita Brunnermeier, and under no circumstances is approval given retroactively. You can view the cognate approval form here and see a list of pre-approved cognates here. POL 349, 352, and 385 are automatically approved as Economics cognates and do not need a separate application/approval.
Infrequently, and only with advance approval, an Economics course can be counted toward the Politics course requirement of the PPE; contact the Political Economy Advisor Professor Silvia Weyerbrock for more information.
Independent work for Program in Political Economy students
A student enrolled in the program has the same Junior and Senior Independent Work requirements as other Economics concentrators, with one exception: Political Economy concentrators are required to write a Junior Paper with sufficient political economy content, as judged by the advisor. Students are also encouraged, but are not required, to write a senior thesis that is related to political economy.