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MSc Economics

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Political Economics

Unit code ECON60492
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Economics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The purpose of this course is to study some key concepts and models in the literature on political economics, with a focus on redistribution and the electoral process of democratic countries


Learning outcomes

At the end of this course, students should be able to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge and understanding of the main tools used to formally represent political economics problems; and how and when to apply the various existing models, as well as the main limitations of them.
  • Intellectual skills to critically assess theoretical arguments, and to interpret, organize and understand real world problems involving economics and politics.
  • Practical skills to derive theoretical results and to present them to small audiences.
  • Transferable skills and personal qualities to express political¿economic concepts, reasoning, and intuitions to non-specialized audiences.



1. Electoral Competition: candidate location; policy commitment; electoral uncertainty; political motivations; power; ideology; policy differentiation (convergence); median voter result; political instability.

Recommended Reading

¿ Drouvelis, M., Saporiti, A., Vriend, N., Political Motivations and Electoral Competition:

Equilibrium Analysis and Experimental Evidence, Games and Economic Behavior, Vol. 83

(2014), pp. 86–115.

¿ Gehlbach, S., Formal Models of Domestic Politics, Cambridge University Press (2013).

Chapters 1-2.

2. Programmatic Redistribution: income taxation; indirect preferences over policies; political equilibrium; redistribution; inequality gap (median vs mean); median voter; social preferences; inequality aversion.

Recommended Reading

¿ Meltzer, A., Richards, S., A rational theory of the size of government, Journal of Political Economy 89 (5), (1981), pp. 914-927.

Teaching and learning methods

Lecture and Tutorial

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Recommended reading

Acemoglu, D. Egorov, G., Sonin, K., A Political Theory of Populism, Quarterly Journal of

Economics, (2013), pp. 771–805.



Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 125

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Alejamdro Saporiti Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Lecture: Monday 3pm-5pm,

Tutorial: Monday 5pm-6pm,


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