Introduction to political economics


The objective of the course is to analyse the political implications of issues commonly considered as "purely economic". The course builds on the premise that — unlike what many business men, journalists and researchers posit — there is much more to  the activities of economic operators than merely responding to technical necessities or making spontaneous adjustments,  and that they also involve political power relationships; in addition to competition between companies, those activities cannot be dissociated from  conflicts and struggles that take place in different fields - particularly in trade union organisations, in academic arenas and within administrations. It is important to grasp these structuring factors in order to fully understand the evolutions and variants of capitalism. The course has a dual theoretical and empirical objective. It provides broad benchmarks guidelines as well as the means to understand the controversies between several "schools of thought", by focusing on a few specific topics related to current affairs.

Recommended Prerequisite(s)

The course is intended for students who wish to (re)politicize economic issues. It mainly uses tools of political sociology (See the course on political sociology). It does not require prior technical knowledge nor any special interest in the formalization of representations in the form of models.


  • Boyer (Robert), Économie politique des capitalismes, Paris, La découverte, 2015.
  • Clift (Ben), Comparative political economy: states, markets and global capitalism, Londres, Macmillan, 2014.
  • Hay (Colin), Smith (Andy), dir., Dictionnaire d’économie politique. Capitalisme, institutions, pouvoirs, Paris, Presses de Sciences Po, 2018.
  • Lebaron (Frédéric), « La construction politique de l’ordre économique », in Laugier (Sandra), Gautier (Claude), dir., L’ordinaire et le politique, Paris, PUF, 2006.
  • Smith (Andy), The politics of economic activity, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016.

In brief

Year Third year

Teaching languageFrench

Teaching term Six-monthly

ECTS credits 2.0

Number of hours 18.0

Teaching activitySeminar

ValidationContinuous assessment

Optional teaching