Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session for 13 weeks


Our world is changing in fundamental ways. The institutions and regulations governing our global economy are clearly in flux. Recent events have shown that traditional national regulations (or lack thereof) are no longer adequate yet international accords over trade, intellectual property, labor standards and a host of other issues are fiercely and frequently contested by competing interests. The final results of these debates and the current global financial crisis will determine who wins and who loses in the new global economy. Understanding the interaction between this shifting political-economic-regulatory environment and individual firms, even entire industries, is key to determining both the possibilities for and constraints on global business in today's fast-changing economy.

This course provides students with the conceptual tools necessary to understand and work effectively in today's global world. We will do this in three closely related ways:

  • Analyzing how the environment for business varies around the world, including what this means for business people and policy makers.
  • Discussing efforts to construct "rules of the game" for the global economy. In particular we will examine contemporary debates and controversies surrounding financial markets, intellectual property rights, trade policies and labor and environmental standards.
  • Developing conceptual tools and frameworks that help make sense of our increasingly global, complex and crisis-prone world.

This course is part two of a two part course series, and should be preceded by 15.015 Macro and International Economics.


Readings include a combination of analytic articles and company case studies drawn from a variety of different industries (manufacturing and services) in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. You should also keep track of daily updates regarding the global economy on The Baseline Scenario; not all posts are equally relevant for this course, so use your judgment regarding how to spend your time.


Two case write-ups 20%
Group research paper 25%
Final exam 20%
Class participation 35%