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; students receive a departmental certificate in addition to their graduation diploma.
Before entering the program, participants must complete two politics courses at any level other than POL 345 and POL 346. We also consider students for admission who completed one Politics course. Such students must explain how they will meet the program’s course requirements on their application form. Program participants must meet all the general requirements of Economics concentrators.
Program in Political Economy course requirements
In addition to the two Politics prerequisites, 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. Courses taken on a PDF basis are acceptable for Spring 2020 only. POL 345 and POL 346 do not count as Politics courses in the program if they are used to meet the statistics prerequisite for Economics concentrators. Starting with the Class of 2023, if a student does not also use these courses to meet the statistics prerequisite, one of POL 345 or POL 346 (but not both courses) can be counted among the five required POL courses. 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.
Because of the additional course 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. POL 335 (Political Economy of the United States), POL 349 (Political Economy), POL 385 (International Political Economy), and SPI 329/POL 350 (Comparative Political Economy) have been pre-approved as Economics cognates. The complete list of pre-approved cognates is here. No cognate approval application is necessary for pre-approved courses. If a student would like the Economics department to consider another course for ECO cognate approval, a cognate approval form needs to be filed. Economics cognates are approved by the Executive Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Smita Brunnermeier, and under no circumstances is approval given retroactively.
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.