This course is discontinued

STV4346B – Comparative Political Economy

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Politics and economics are empirically interrelated fields, and should therefore in many instances also be analyzed as such. This course provides the student with analyses on how national political institutions and processes influence the economy as well as on how the economy affects national politics. The course gives an overview of the different theoretical and methodological approaches in the field, drawing mainly on literature from political science, but also from economics and economic history. The course also presents the students to both “quantitative” and “qualitative” empirical research on the different topics.

The course is divided into three main parts. The first part gives a general overview of the field, and the different research traditions. It also presents a short overview over different methodologies utilized in the study of interactions between political institutions and processes and the economy. The second part presents the three main general topics of the course: 1) States, markets and resource allocation. 2) How economic structures and processes affect political processes and organization (with democratization as the core dependent variable). 3) How political institutions affect economic outcomes like economic growth and inequality. The third part introduces the students to some more specific political-economic topics in the context of particular regions of the world. It focuses on topics that are especially relevant for the workings of the national political economies of Western Europe (and North America), Asia, Latin America and Africa. This part is mainly empirical, but will also present some relevant theory. Examples of topics that will be treated are corruption, land reform and fiscal policy.

Learning outcome

The students shall by the end of the course have knowledge of:

•The different methodological and theoretical approaches in the field.
•Some of the “tools” needed for reading (and producing) political-economic research, both theoretical and empirical.
•Some of the most important theoretical and empirical analyses in the field.
•The main topics in Comparative Political Economy: How do states and markets allocate resources? How does the nature of the economy influence political organization? How do national political institutions affect economic factors?
•Some more specific topics in Comparative Political Economy, and how these have relevance for selected countries and regions in the world.

The students shall during the course develop skills that make them able to:

•Understand and use different relevant methodologies when analyzing political-economic research questions.
•Read, understand and independently evaluate cutting-edge research on political-economic topics.
•Discuss how political processes and institutions affect economic outcomes, through theoretical and empirical argumentation.
•Discuss how economic factors affect political processes and organization through theoretical and empirical argumentation.
•Independently formulate and analyze political-economic research questions, for example in a master-thesis.


Students admitted to other Master programs may also be qualified to apply for the course. Please contact the Department of Political Science.

Only students admitted to the course may take part in instruction and tuition and sit for the examination.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Political Science or equivalent.

Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Political Science or equivalent.


There will be a total of 10 class sessions (each of 2 hours duration), spread over a 5 week period.

This course will be taught at the University of Oslo, Blindern campus. Other locations in Oslo may be used. Fronter will normally be used.

The course is part of the regular course offerings at the Faculty of Social Science. Teaching is mainly held during the daytime. Detailed course-information is found on the Webpage for the current semester.


Participants will be evaluated on the basis of a 6-hour written exam. The participants must hand in a short term paper before the written exam in order to qualify and sit for the exam.

In order to pass the course your written exam must be passed in the same semester as your cours is taught. You will receive one overall grade for the course.

The Faculty of Social Science is responsible for the exam(s), and exam(s) are/is normally held at the University of Oslo, Blindern campus. Other locations in Oslo may be used.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Dictionary, which must be hand in to the Department of Political Science office at least one day before the written exam.

Language of examination

You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English. If you would prefer to have the exam text in English, you may apply to the course administrators.

Grading scale

Course grades are awarded on a descending scale using alphabetic grades from A to E for passes and F for fail.

Examination results are available in StudentWeb within three weeks after the examination-date, if no other information is given on the Webpage for the current semester.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Students may apply for access to alternative exam resources or exam forms on the basis of chronic illness and/or special needs that create a marked disadvantage to other students in the exam situation. Mothers who are breastfeeding may apply for extra time to complete the exam.

Application-forms for special examination arrangements on school-exams may be sent to The Faculty of Social Science. Application-forms for special examination arrangements on other exams may be sent to the institute who organise the course.


This course is evaluated half way through every semester and every four year the course undergoes a thorough evaluation.

An external auditor regularly evaluates the academic quality of the course and he/she makes a written report every year.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2008


Autumn 2008

Teaching language