The major in Political Economy exposes students to the rich intersection between economics and politics. Students study the social, political and economic factors that affect, and are affected by, systems of production, exchange, and distribution, as well as the mix of values reflected in them.
At the heart of the major is the methodological and substantive overlap between economics and political science. Methodologically, political economy emphasizes rigorous and quantitative methods, including formal modeling, econometrics and comparative case study methods. Substantively, political economy analyzes how international and domestic political factors interact with macro and micro economic factors to determine outcomes in a wide variety of areas including globalization, international trade and finance, regulation, development, taxes, institutional design, the environment and income distribution. The scope of inquiry ranges from developed countries, to developing economies to nations making transitions to market oriented systems.
Reality does not divide neatly along the classic disciplinary lines of economics and political science. Hence, the strength of the major is its ability to use insights from both disciplines to analyze important issues. The intellectual enterprise typically goes beyond the constituent disciplines by combining traditional economic concerns about efficiency with traditional political concerns regarding distributional issues and legitimacy in market and non-market environments.