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The following are the “official” discussion questions for this course. Students should feel free to offer their own replies to these questions via the “Comments” function below.

Class 1: Introduction and Overview: What is IPE? Why should we care? (Tue 8 Sept)

  1. How would you define the term “international political economy”?
  2. Do G&I suggest that globalization is inevitable? Are you surprised by their suggestions?
  3. According to G&I, do states define markets or do markets define states?

Class 2: Classic Perspectives on States and Markets (Thur 10 Sept)

  1. John Locke and Adam Smith both offer accounts of the origin and purpose of political society. How do these views compare? What are the implications of these views for their theories of the role of the state in the market?
  2. What did Karl Marx suggest ought to be the relationship between states and markets? Is his perspective more in line with the theory offered by Locke or by Smith?
  3. What do you think was the origin of political society? What do you think ought to be the relationship between states and markets? To what extent does your view of the latter depend on your view of the former?

Class 3: Contemporary Perspectives on IPE (Tue 15 Sept)

  1. What is Summers’ perspective on the relationship between states and markets? How does it compare to the perspectives we engaged last week?
  2. One Cross-Sectional Comparison. Scholars in a variety of fields examine IPE, but they often employ different approaches to and develop different perspective on the same substantive issues. Compare and contrast these differences.
  3. Another Cross-Sectional Comparison. There may also be differences in the ways that the academies of different countries/regions approach and understand IPE. Compare and contrast these differences.
  4. A Cross-Temporal Comparison. Like all fields, the study of IPE has developed over time. In what ways has this field changed for the better? For the worse?

Class 4: International Structures: The Distribution of Power and International Institutions (Thur 17 Sept)

  1. According to Grieco & Ikenberry (G&I), what is the relationship between states’ political and economic motives? Is one subordinate to the other?
  2. Several of our authors today suggest that the world economy should be described as existing along a continuum of openness/closure at various points. Do you think this is the most useful dimension to evaluate changes in the global economy? Besides variation in the level of economic openness, what other variables might we want to observe over time?
  3. According to the theorists we’ve read, why doesn’t an open global economy result regardless of the distribution of power? Why is it more likely to result under certain distributions of power than others?
  4. How do international institutions serve to influence the level of global economic openness?
  5. What does it mean to say that a theory of political economy is a “structural” theory? What is the structure of interest? What are the alternative perspectives?

Class 5: The Three I’s: Domestic Interests, Institutions, and Ideas (Tue 22 Sept)

  1. According to Irwin, what explains the Repeal of the Corn Laws? What is the relative weight of Peel’s experience versus his engagement with classical liberal economic theory? Do you find this story to be compelling?
  2. How does Rogowski explain trade policy? What is the role of ideas and domestic institutions in his account?
  3. What assumptions does Rogowski make about factor mobility across industries, meaning the ability of owners of one or the other factor to change from one industry to another?
  4. According to North, why do institutions matter?
  5. How does Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey understand the relationship between “the 3 I’s”? How does this compare to the alternative frameworks?
  6. In developing her framework for understanding the relationship between “the 3 I’s,” Schonhardt-Bailey employs particular understandings of ideas, interests, and institutions. How do these understandings compare to those held by Irwin, Rogowski, and North?

Class 6: Economic Constraints: The Balance of Payments (Thur 24 Sept)

  1. What is the “balance of payments” constraint? What is the trilemma, and why does it matter? In what ways are policy makers punished by market factors?
  2. What is the “balance of payments rationale for protectionism?” How does this explanation for protectionism compare to the explanation given by Adam Smith and Ronald Rogowski?
  3. According to Friedman, do fixed or flexible ERs better foster open trade? On what grounds does he base this judgment?

Class 7: Models of Trade policy (Tue 29 Sept)

  1. What is the Heckscher-Ohlin Theorem? What are its implications for the international division of labor?
  2. Our authors list several explanations for protectionism. What are these explanations? Is this list exhaustive? Have we discussed any other logics? Can you think of any additional logics?
  3. Similarly, our authors list several forms of protectionism. What are these forms? Is this list exhaustive? Can you think of any additional ways in which states manage their trade and commerce?

Class 8: Trade During the Depression (Thur 1 Oct)

  1. How does Eichengreen explain the Smoot-Hawley tariff? How does his explanation differ from the other explanations that he describes?
  2. What was the RTAA? How did it work? What influence do you think it might have had on subsequent developments in intenrational trade?
  3. How do Bailey, Goldstein, & Weingast explain the RTAA? What is the role of ideas, interests, and (domestic) institutions in their account?
  4. How does Hiscox explain the RTAA? What is the role of ideas, interests, and (domestic) institutions in his account? How does his account differ from that offered by Bailey, Goldstein, & Weingast?

Class 9: The Postwar Trade Regime (Tue 6 Oct)

  1. Why did the trade regime that followed WWII look so different from the trade regime that followed WWI? What were the roles played by ideas, interests, and institutions in facilitating this change?
  2. What do Barton, et al, mean when they suggest that “The irony of the trading system is that many of the features that explain the early success of the [GATT] regime later turned out to be its Achilles heel,
    creating demand for institutional change.” (2)?
  3. What do Barton, et al, suggest have been the most significant changes in the movement from the GATT to the WTO?

Class 10: The Global Trade Regime Today (Thur 8 Oct)

  1. Would the British imperial preference system of the 1930s be permissible today as an Article XXIV exception? If not, why not? If so, what would be the implications of that for the durability of the multilateral order?
  2. Do preferential/regional trade agreements pose a threat to the multilateral order? If not, why not? If so, should one type of order be encouraged at the expense of the other? If so, how?
  3. What is driving this increase in preferential/regional trade agreements?
  4. Given the current state of the Doha Round, how durable do you think the global trade regime is today? (Be sure to explain the reasons for your conclusions.)

Class 11: The International Monetary System (Thur 15 Oct)

  1. What is an exchange rate? What is an exchange rate regime? What is a fixed versus a flexible exchange rate?
  2. What is the difference between the de jure and the de facto exchange rate regimes? Why is this difference significant? Why does it exist? Which regime do you think matters more?
  3. What is the role of domestic politics in shaping exchange rate regime preferences? To what extent does the maintenance of a system of fixed exchange rate regimes depend on international cooperation and coordination?

Class 12: The Gold Standard (Tue 20 Oct)

  1. What is the price-specie-flow mechanism developed by Hume? How does it relate to the gold standard? What is the role of transportation and conversion costs in Hume’s model?
  2. Is the price-specie-flow model still useful for understanding fiat currencies with fixed exchange rates? If so, how must it be adapted to apply? If not what is different?
  3. What are gold points, gold devices, and gold bands? What role do they play in shaping the relationship between market exchange rates and official exchange rates?
  4. According to Eichengreen & Flandreau, what are the advantages and disadvantages of the gold standard? What are the reasons a state might choose to adopt it?
  5. Was there one “gold standard” system? What were the major differences? What allowed these differences to persist?

Class 13: The Decline and Fall of the Gold Standard (Thur 22 Oct)

  1. What were the paths Britain, France, and Germany took back to the gold standard in the 1920s? What variables influenced the paths they took? What was the significance of their choices?
  2. According to Kindleberger, what is the role of the distribution of power in the maintenance of the international monetary system? How does Kindleberger’s view of the gold standard compare to the views of Lawrence Broz and Jeff Frieden?
  3. Many scholars have argued that abandoning gold in the 1930s was a good thing. On what grounds do they make this argument?
  4. Why was it so much harder to maintain an international gold standard in the 1920s and 193os than it had been previously?

Class 14: The Postwar Bretton Woods System (Tue 27 Oct)

  1. According to Kindleberger, what is the role of the distribution of power in the maintenance of the international monetary system? How does Kindleberger’s view of the gold standard compare to the views of Lawrence Broz and Jeff Frieden?
  2. What were the major features of the postwar monetary system? How were imbalances of payments to be alleviated in the Bretton Woods System? How did this system compare to the gold standard ideal?
  3. According to Ikenberry, how do we explain the creation of the Bretton Woods System? How does this explanation of foreign economic policy compare to the type of explanation given by Charles Kindleberger?
  4. Why do you think Nixon “closed the gold window”? What was the significance of this decision?

Class 15: After Bretton Woods (Thur 29 Oct)

  1. According to Cohen, what are the variables that determine states’ decisions about their relationships to the international monetary system? Which do you think matter most?
  2. How does McNamara explain the European states’ movement towards monetary union?
  3. Why do you think the Euro states sacrificed the benefits of national currencies to adopt the Euro? Why didn’t they just all fix their currencies to a common peg and eliminate capital controls? Why did they go the extra step of adopting a single currency?
  4. Combining Cohen & McNamara, do you think we will see more currency unions in the future? Will we have more currencies or fewer?
  5. Compare and contrast the views of Williamson and Stiglitz. What does each think is the ideal template for international monetary systems?
  6. What role do you think China’s yuan play in the world economy of the future? What are the implications for the US’ position?

Class 16: Theorizing about and Measuring Migration (Tue 2 Nov)

  1. According to Scheve & Slaughter, which groups are most likely to resist immigration into the United States? Why do they resist immigration?
  2. Would Scheve & Slaughter expect their findings to differ cross-regionally, say if they surveyed residents of California and Vermont?
  3. What does it mean to say that “trade and immigration” are “substitutes”? If a state were to liberalize one dimension but not the other, would the economic effects (meaning, the return on each factor) be the same as if the state had done the opposite?
  4. How about the social and political implications: does the dimension of liberalization (trade or immigration) matter when we consider the effects of this liberalization on society and politics?

Class 17: Reactions to Migration (Thur 5 Nov)

  1. Why, according to O’Rourke & Williamson, did globalization “get restrictive”? What alternative explanations can you devise?
  2. How do O’Rourke and Williamson explain migration policy? What does their analysis reveal about the relationship between and relative strength of the 3 I’s?
  3. What do you expect will be the implications of the increase in remittances for development? For the operation of the global financial system?
  4. Do you think developed countries should consider remittances as a substitute for foreign aid? Why or why not?
  5. What do you see as the greatest strengths and weaknesses of Huntington’s analysis of “hispanic” immigration into the US? Even if you completely agree or disagree, be sure to enumerate both the strengths and weaknesses.

Class 18: “Be Fruitful and Multiply”: Economic Development and Population Growth (Tue 10 Nov)

  1. According to Malthus, what are the two checks to population growth? Which check did he favor?
  2. How did Malthus view charity? On what grounds did he want to reform the Poor Laws?
  3. Extrapolating from these views, how might Malthus have viewed foreign aid? What would Malthus think was the relationship between population growth and development?
  4. Do you think the contemporary commentators have correctly applied Malthus’ insights to current challenges & issues?

Class 19: “Dominion over…the Earth”: International Environmental Politics (Thur 12 Nov)

  1. According to Schelling, what are the problems with the Kyoto Protocol? What is the likelihood that we’ll be able to overcome these challenges?
  2. According to McKibben, how close to catastrophe are we? What does he envision as the best way to avert this potential catastrophe?
  3. What is the relationship between free trade and environmental degradation? Does economic integration, broadly construed, increase or decrease the pace of global warming?
  4. Does Bjørn Lomborg care about the environment? What does he suggest ought to be our policy priorities? On what grounds is he so critical of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth?

Class 20: What Shall we Bequeath to our Progeny? Our Financial Legacy (Tues 17 Nov)

  1. Compare & contrast the views of Ron Paul and Paul Krugman on the US national debt. With whom do you agree and why?
  2. What, according to Schultz & Weingast, influences states’ capacity to borrow? What is the significance of increase borrowing capacity over the long term?
  3. How does Mike Tomz understand the role of reputation in shaping international relations? What connections does he see between reputation and sovereign debt?
  4. What are the arguments issued in favor of debt forgiveness? What are the arguments against it? Which position do find to be more reasonable?

Class 21: Globalization in Perspective (Thur 19 Nov)

  1. According to Grieco & Ikenberry, what are the sources and consequences of globalization?
  2. According to G&I, what has caused the backlash against globalization? What different variables explain this response? Which variables do you think matter the most?
  3. What is the relationship between globalization and income inequality? According to Rodrik, how can this result be ameliorated? What according to Williamson & Rodrik would be the implications of allowing this relationship to play out?

Class 22: Responses to Globalization (Tue 24 Nov)

  1. What are the criticisms Rodrik issues of unbridled globalization? In what circumstances does he think “protectionism” is justified?
  2. What is the basis of McKibben’s critique? Do you find these criticisms to be reasonable?
  3. Are the implications of “deepening the economy” a rolling back of globalization? Insofar as that is the case, what might be the implications of this course for our political ties with foreign countries?

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