17.148 | Spring 2006 | Graduate

Political Economy of Globalization


In terms of assignments, students have two choices: either write two short essays (12-15 pages) based on course readings; or else, write a research paper. Below is an example of the first essay assignment.

Essay 1

The seminar has compared the role of state policies in promoting growth and development in West Europe after World War Two and in a number of late-developing countries during the “East Asian miracle.” Could similar policies work today-now that the organization of production has changed from one in which most production took place within vertically-integrated companies within national borders to a global economy in which modular production, outsourcing, and offshoring have fragmented production and redistributed activities across national borders? Please return to and review the arguments about the role of the state in the European and East Asian cases and assess whether the success of such policies depended on a particular production system. Does there need to be a particular “fit” between the technological and organizational basis of the economy and state policies? If so, what do you see as the implications for the role of the state today in promoting growth and development?

You may choose to focus the essay on either more advanced industrial countries or on developing country economies. If you choose the former, focus on the lessons from West European cases; if the latter, focus on the lessons from the East Asian countries. In either case, the point is to look at the fit between the production system and state policies in the earlier period and to consider how changes in production over the past fifteen years might affect the impact of state policies. Obviously much else has changed at the same time [trade, capital flows, new competitors, etc] but to the extent possible concentrate the argument of your essay on the organization of production in the two periods you compare and on how changes in production affect the sphere for state action.

The paper should be 12-15 pages long. No research or reading beyond that assigned in the syllabus up through Lecture 7 is required. The paper is due at the start of class on Lecture 7.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2006