Domestic Foundations of International Political Economy



Credits / Language / Semester

2Credits / English / Summer


Nowadays it is impossible to intelligently discuss the politics of international economic relations and foreign economic policies (hence, international political economy) without reference to political regimes and institutions. Since the 1990s, the world has witnessed the spread of democracy and market-oriented economic reforms. Such developments appeared in tandem with an explosion in the numbers of free trade, investment, and financial agreements as well as the increased presence of international economic organizations (such as the WTO, the IMF, the BIS, and the OECD). The trends are closely interrelated: the developments in international economic relations are related to the policies of developing countries that have opted to democratize and adopt economic reforms; they do so to adjust to a volatile global economy, assisted and controlled by international economic organizations. Herein lies the need to understand domestic politics in order to understand current developments in international political economy.

The course is designed to introduce the basic analytical frameworks and arguments necessary to understand (a) how domestic politics make democracies compatible with an open international economy, (b) why dictatorships contemplate democratization and/or economic reforms, and (c) how democratization and/or economic reforms have facilitated the institutionalization/legalization of international economic relations under the auspices of international economic organizations. The course concludes with a general discussion on the basic puzzle: “if democracies are good for open economic development, why doesn’t every country democratize?”



Institutional Analysis, Leadership Survival and Selectorate theory, Patters of Democracy, Types of Authoritarianism, Determinants of democratization, Economic Globalization and Democratization, International Economic Organizations, Economic Liberalization and Structural Reforms, Trade and Investment Treaties, Financial Crisis, Economic Aid and Sanctions


I. Democracies and the Open International Economy: Why Compatible?
1. Democracies and the Open International Economy
2-3. The Democratic Advantage in Open Economic Adjustments

II. Dictatorship and Democratization in the Global Economy
4. Dictatorship and Democratization
5. Democratization and Economic Reform
6. Democratization and International Economic Cooperation

III.  Political Regimes, International Institutions, and Economic Globalization
7-8. Political Regimes and the Increase of Trade and Investment
9-10. Political Regimes and the Increase in Financial Volatility
11-12. Political Regimes and the Effectiveness of Economic Aid and Sanctions
13. Democratization and Globalization: Why the mixed results?

Teaching Methods

The format of the course will be a combination of TA session type lectures and a seminar corresponding to its structure. During the first part (Week 1~6), the emphasis will be on lecturing the basic ideas necessary to understand the workings of democratic institutions and various political regimes and how that affects the government's international economic strategy. The second part (Week 7~) will be seminars where the participants discuss how the basic ideas are applied in various topics of international political economy. Participants are expected to read the assigned materials throughout the semester in order to obtain a better understanding of the relevant literature and arguments, and are required to submit a discussion memo every week during the second part for credit.


Class participation and readings memos

Required Textbooks

None. The reading materials consist of recently published academic articles will be listed in the syllabus, which will be distributed in the first meeting.

Notes on Taking the Course

The class will be provided in English but tailored for non-native speakers including Japanese students.


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