This course is discontinued

STV2320 – Comparative Political Economy

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

Teaching and examination in STV2320 was given for the last time autumn 2014.


Does democracy produce higher economic growth than dictatorship? Does income inequality destabilize autocratic regimes? Do American-style labor markets reduce unemployment relative to European-style? Which strategies do dictators use to stay in power? These are among the questions considered in STV2320.
The course provides overviews of key institutional features in democracies and dictatorships, and of the theory and history of economic development. Thereafter the course introduces you to some of the core topics in comparative political economy, a field that includes contributions not only from political scientists, but also from economists and historians. The main focus is placed on how political institutions are affected by and affect economic policies and performance. Students following the course will gain insight into some of the most important, and probably among the currently most dynamic, research questions in comparative politics and political economy.

Learning outcome


You will:

• know different definitions and measures of democracy and types of dictatorships;

• know important differences in constitutional rules, related to electoral system, form of government and federalism, between democracies;

• be acquainted with economic growth theory and the broad historical contours of economic development;

• be well acquainted with different theories and empirical studies on how economic factors such as income level and inequality affect democratization and democratic stability;

• be well acquainted with different theories and empirical studies on how democracy affects economic factors such as human capital accumulation and growth;

• be well acquainted with different theories and empirical studies on how constitutional rules impact on economic policies and outcomes;

• know different survival strategies used by dictators in various contexts;

• know how different capitalist systems are institutionalized and function.


You will:

• be able to understand, discuss, and analyze the complex interlinkages between political and economic factors

• be able to critically read and evaluate studies in comparative politics and comparative political economy;

• be provided ideas and tools that allow them to independently discuss and analyze complex topics in the field, and ultimately conduct their own studies.


You will:

• enhance your capabilities in carrying out thorough, independent and critical analysis of complex questions;

• enhance your capabilities in critically evaluating theoretical and empirical research;

• enhance your understanding of relations between theory and empirical evidence, and of how comparative data material from different historical periods and countries may be used to (properly) evaluate hypotheses.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

No obligatory prerequisites beyond the minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway.

Recommended previous knowledge

Basic knowledge in political analysis (for instance equivalent to STV1000) and basic knowledge in research methods (for instance equivalent to STV1020).


Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


4 hours written exam.

Examination support material

Students may use dictionaries at this exam. Dictionaries must be handed in before the examination. Please read regulations for dictionaries permitted at the examination.

Language of examination

The 4-hour written exam will be given in English only. The students can choose whether they will answer the exam questions in English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


Feedback from our students is essential to us in our efforts to ensure and further improve the high quality of our programmes and courses. All courses are subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students on a particular course to participate in a more comprehensive, periodic evaluation of this course. The course was thoroughly evaluated in 2013 and 2014. The report is only available in Norwegian.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2014


Autumn 2014

Teaching language