A course calendar is available below.

Course Description

Do multinational corporations consider political factors when deciding whether or not to set up a factory in another country? Does the bond market have an influence on welfare state spending? Why does China intervene in the foreign exchange market to "manage" its exchange rate, and why does it matter? What is the role of the International Monetary Fund in the global economy, and why is it so controversial? And finally, how do governments respond to criminals who use the financial system to support terrorism or hide the revenues from drug dealing? These questions (and many others!) will arise during this undergraduate seminar on the politics of global financial relations.

The class is divided into several broad issue-areas:

  • the effects of the international integration of capital markets on national policymaking
  • the spread of multinational corporations and foreign direct investment
  • international institutions and global governance
  • global finance and the developing world
  • financial crises
  • money laundering and other forms of financial crime

Along the way, we will discuss a number of important theoretical issues in the study of international relations, including the role of international institutions, the interplay between politics and economics, and the future of the nation-state.

Course Requirements

There are no prerequisites. Formal requirements, in addition to full participation in class discussion on the basis of the assigned readings, are:


Two essays (approx. ten pages each) on assigned topics related to the readings. The first essay topic will be handed out in class in Ses #8, with essays due on Ses #9. The second essay topic will be handed out in class in Ses #20, with essays due in Ses #22. Collaboration with other students is not permitted.

Reaction Papers

Three "reaction papers" (2 pages each) in which you synthesize, criticize, and react to the readings assigned for a class meeting. Please see assignments for more details.

Class Participation

Each student will be assigned to introduce the readings and pose questions for class discussion at least once during the semester. Please see study materials for more details.


Essays (30% each) 60%
Reaction papers 10%
Class participation 30%


Required Text

Required readings are listed in the readings section. There is one required book:

Buy at Amazon Frieden, Jeffry A. Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, 2007. ISBN: 9780393329810.


1 Course overview  
2-4 Foundations  
5-9 Globalization and domestic politics

First essay topic handed out in Ses #8

First essay due in Ses #9

10-13 The politics of foreign direct investment  
14-16 Exchange rates and currency crises  
17-19 International governance  
20-23 Finance and the developing world

Second essay topic handed out in Ses #20

Second essay due in Ses #22

24 International financial crime  
25 Conclusion